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Post Info TOPIC: Winston Graham & his Poldark characters


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Date: Mar 30 8:59 PM, 2017
RE: Winston Graham & his Poldark characters
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The flip side of this is the great Will Ferrell-Emma Thompson movie "Stranger Than Fiction." The protagonist of a novel, who doesn't know he is the protagonist of a novel, starts hearing a voice in his head that is telling him he is going to die soon. The voice is the author writing the novel. It is played for laughs -- obviously, given that the star is Will Ferrell -- but I suspect it could have been a pretty disturbing thriller in the hands of, say, WG.



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Date: Mar 29 11:53 PM, 2017
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I first came across this idea in the "Anne" books. Her characters stubbornly refused to behave. At one point, Diana tells Anne to just make them do what she wants and Anne reacts as if a non-writer could never understand.



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Date: Mar 25 8:14 PM, 2017
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Stella Poldark wrote:

 How fascinating! Perhaps I should try writing a story and see if it happens to me? Or is this something that occurs only after some considerable experience of writing novels? smile


I think it probably happens to most writers, except maybe those who plan very rigidly before they begin. It's probably easier to control if you're writing a short story - and easier to threaten them that you'll throw the whole thing away if they won't do as they're told. If you've spent six months writing 60,000 words they'll likely call your bluff. 

There was a play on TV - I think back in the 80s starring Pauline Collins as a writer of romantic fiction. She was sitting at her computer trying to write, but the characters kept coming to life in the screen (like in a movie) and arguing with her. I was just getting my first books published then, and it came as a relief to find out I wasn't the only one who had that problem!



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Date: Mar 25 5:29 PM, 2017
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SusanneMcCarthy wrote:

Stella Poldark wrote:

March 24 2017-03-24

1.39 pm

This suggests that at the beginning of each book he did not know what was going to happen to these people.

 Yes, as a writer I'm very familiar with this. Writers are usually either "plotters" or "pantsters" (as in writing by the seat of your pants.) Even pantsters usually have a general outline of their plot - but as you get into it, the logic of your characters can take you somewhere you weren't expecting, or they tell you something about themselves that you hadn't known when you invented them. Then you yell at them for a while, try to make them behave, but they generally argue back and you end up having to make changes to suit them. 


 How fascinating! Perhaps I should try writing a story and see if it happens to me? Or is this something that occurs only after some considerable experience of writing novels? smile



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Date: Mar 25 12:25 PM, 2017
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Stella Poldark wrote:

March 24 2017-03-24

1.39 pm

This suggests that at the beginning of each book he did not know what was going to happen to these people.

 Yes, as a writer I'm very familiar with this. Writers are usually either "plotters" or "pantsters" (as in writing by the seat of your pants.) Even pantsters usually have a general outline of their plot - but as you get into it, the logic of your characters can take you somewhere you weren't expecting, or they tell you something about themselves that you hadn't known when you invented them. Then you yell at them for a while, try to make them behave, but they generally argue back and you end up having to make changes to suit them. 



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Date: Mar 24 7:51 PM, 2017
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Stella Poldark

March 24th

3.31 pm

I am fascinated by the idea that the characters take on a life of their own and the author puts something outside of himself onto paper. The short story 'Demelza' definitely has that feel about it.

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Stella Poldark

March 24 2017-03-24

1.39 pm

I can't remember where I read this - probably in his memoirs - that when WG decided to begin to write The Black Moon after a 20 year gap he said he thought he would return to the Poldarks to see what had happened to them since the end of Warleggan. From this I have a picture of his characters having minds of their own almost as though Winston was in some strange way following them. This suggests that at the beginning of each book he did not know what was going to happen to these people.

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SusanneMcCarthy

March 24 2017

11.32 am

I find it interesting to consider the "what if"s - I think it helps give some insight into the characters and development of the story. Points you could skim over and take for granted assume a different significance, and you can see how WG constructed his plot so that things would move in the direction they did.

Now I'm wondering how far he had an overall picture before he began, as JK Rowling did with the Harry Potter series, and how far he just knitted it as he went along. Given the gaps between the books, I suspect he worked in clusters - possibly the first book conceived as a stand-alone which he then realised he could take further, and so the next three were more-or-less conceived together, then the next three. Then he stopped for a long while, and came back with book 8 - I think 8,9 and 10 may have been conceived together and 11 grew out of them. 12 came along much later, a revisiting of old friends with some fresh ideas of where he wanted to take them.

Would he have planned a Book 13 ?



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