I began writing a few years ago when hearing loss forced me to retire from teaching drama. It also meant I had to give up acting at the Little Theatre company I’d belonged to for many years. Being unable to hear cues doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in your fellow actors! I decided, having used the words of others in both of these capacities, to fill this enormous gap by trying to pen some words of my own. I was lucky enough to find a brilliant creative writing group with a wonderful teacher and I now write each day. My newfound hobby has become something of an addiction – I was even lucky enough to get my first novel published in 2018! As my work grows it seems sensible to put it all in one place. I began with this blog but have now changed to a website, where I’d love you to join me. Details of my novel ‘CRASH’, along with other short stories and poems can now be found at JMHulme.com.
How do you develop characters for your stories?
When I was writing CRASH by J.M.Hulme I needed a baddie. I knew in my head exactly the type of person I wanted, as he was already in my imagination – but I hadn’t seen him in real life.
Then one day a speed walker passed by my house. He was very small, middle aged, had brown hair (possibly dyed), wore rimless glasses and was extremely focused. Now I’m sure he was a perfectly nice man, who would be horrified to know he’d been cast as a manipulative monster in my novel – but he was exactly the person I had in my mind. Being able to view him in the flesh meant I could add to my mental image.
As a drama teacher I always enjoyed taking a character from the page and turning them into believable people. I guess with writing you have to do much the same – but the other way round – first find the flesh and bones and then paint a picture of them by using words, allowing your reader to visualise them.
I’d love to hear the devices you use when developing your characters!
When did I turn from being a creative writer to becoming a writing junkie, compelled each day to write a new poem, begin a new story or create a new character?
Am I like the jogger who takes up running to keep fit, only to find s/he can’t complete a day without an adrenaline rush – or the smoker needing a nicotine fix.
Images stay muddled in my head until I pick up my pen – then my head explodes and words come tumbling out like magic as my pen takes over. Characters are born, stories told and I end up exhausted – yet refreshed.
Does anyone else feel that way? If so I’d love to hear. Meanwhile, having had my fix I’ll end my rant.
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On a miserable, wet, Monday morning a thoughtless driver unwittingly causes an accident involving several vehicles. He drives away oblivious to the carnage he has caused behind him. However, his actions have been recorded on camera.
After the accident people are forced to take stock, resulting in radical changes to their lives. For some the changes are positive, for others tragic.
Tensions build as one person takes their own life and another stands trial for murder.
Becoming a published author has been a dream come true – but it is also a little frightening. In my poem below I try to put into words my feelings.
Today I glow
My seeds unleashed take on new form in others eyes
Pages now exposed burst into life
The embryo fashioned in my mind becomes real
Figments of my imagination live afresh, are reshaped.
Loved, loathed, laughed at, they rise,
Explain their problems, tell their stories.
Today I glow, as from the page my child is born.
For more poems and stories please visit me on my website
I’d love to hear from you!
There’s something wrong with Danny, he’s become withdrawn,
He used to be so happy, now he seems forlorn.
Is it the age he’s going through? We used to be so close,
Now he’s shut away in his bedroom, so sad and so morose.
I only want to help him. I’m not trying to intrude
But if I begin to question he becomes quite rude.
I can’t tell anyone and I don’t want to worry Mum
If I did it would only make it worse.
I don’t want to go to school. Why are they all so cruel?
What have I done to deserve this curse?
Today they tied me to a tree – used me as a target – threw mud at me.
I hear their laughter in my head each night as I lie in bed.
I see someone watching from afar, knowing it’s not right,
Yet they don’t want to get involved, to help me in my plight.
Why won’t they stop them – be my friend?
Why won’t they help make my agony end?
I just want to lie down and die – not pathetically cry.
People say, ‘Stand your ground, when you see the advancing crowd.’
But when its only you, you can’t!
They advise, ‘Tell the teacher of your class’, yet if you do they call you a grass.
I really don’t know what to do –
No one knows what I’m going through,
No one cares how I feel inside.
Why did I let it happen? Perhaps I should have seen.
Maybe I could have done more for the lad,
But I didn’t realise it had got that bad!
I must share the blame. Its my job to protect –
Yet I’ve so much to do – I can’t be perfect!
It was only a bit of fun – a laugh to put on Twitter,
It wasn’t our fault he was so soft, or that he was a quitter.
He just let it happen; we didn’t inflict any pain,
We didn’t know he’d take his own life, that he wouldn’t play our game.
Today we are assembled to mourn the loss of Dan,
A lovely young boy – who will now never grow to become a lovely young man.
Many of you sitting here saw what he went through
And you’ll be asking of yourself, ‘Was there anything I could do?’
To stand aside – to see it happen – means we are all held to account.
Let’s hope we’ve learnt our lesson –
And let’s kick bullying out!
Today I am saddened as I read there are 1,700 fewer drama teachers in the UK than there were eight years ago. As a retired drama teacher I worry our children are getting a raw deal. I am not knocking our government, because this problem has been going on for years.
As soon as it is realised that drama benefits are for all – not just would-be actors – so much the better!
Although some children I taught went on to drama schools, most pursued other careers.
We live in an age when computers have become our chosen form of communication. Verbal communication seems to have been down graded, dismissed as if of no importance.
On the same day as reading about the drop in drama teacher numbers, I read how private Improvisation classes are helping those suffering with anxiety.
Perhaps if drama and improvisation were taught from an early age, anxiety would be lessoned and stressful life situations, found so difficult, could be explored and understood within a safe environment, before they become out of our control.
Such classes should not be available only to the chosen few! It is the responsibility of the government – of which ever political persuasion – to be aware of this subjects value!