Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Character Profiles: Les Gillespie's Gold

Over the past few days I have been working on character profiles for Les Gillespie's Gold. This is a departure from the way I wrote KUNDELA. There the people seemed to come from nowhere and their character was developed on the run. This caused me to double up on names and traits and descriptions.

With Toby Farrier I wrote a short story I called The Character Bus and used it as a plan to work out who the people were and how they interacted. It was a great tool but I still had to do charts for each one of the characters to create an easy reference to follow.

Les Gillespie's Gold follows on from Kundela, so some of the characters are known. Now others need introducing to keep the tension in the story and for over a week that is all I have done. Names may change to more suit the story later but by doing it this way a decision is made when the character is created. this has a two fold benefit to prevent duplication of Christian names and it also addresses the problem of ensuring the name is correct for their generation and position in time.

Thanks go to Merlene Fawdrey for providing the draft character charts through her Novel Writing Workshop sessions.

Here is one of my favourite characters who appeared in KUNDELA but takes a bigger role in Les Gillespie.

NAME:                    : Fiona O'Rourke
Position in story       Secondary -  Tilly’s Friend
Socioeconomic level as a child:
Socioeconomic level as an adult:
Sellicks Beach
Current residence:
Orroroo Police House
Home Duties
Family Benefits + husbands wage
Was a school teacher before marriage
Gets some part time teaching work at Orroroo & Jamestown will go back to work
Birth order:
Second of two children
Siblings (describe relationship):
Spouse/partner (describe relationship):
John  Police Constable in Orroroo for over 3 years)
Children (describe relationship):
Four: Ashleigh, Zac, Harry, Maxine, (Max)
Parents (describe relationship):
Sam and Joan Styles
Grandparents (describe relationship):
Grandchildren (describe relationship):
Significant others (describe relationship):
John (Husband)
Relationship skills:
Physical Characteristics
62 kg
Eye Colour:
Hair Colour:
Changes, most of the time she is blonde
Glasses or contact lenses?
Skin colour:
Shape of face:
Distinguishing features:
Broad nose
How does he/she dress?
Simple smart
Habits: (smoking, drinking/drugs/addictions etc.)
Non smoker social drinker (has an image to protect)
Any physical illnesses?
Netball and gym
Favourite sayings:
I was like that once
Speech patterns:
Style (Elegant, shabby etc.):
Yummy Mummy
Greatest flaw:
Says yes to everyone
Best quality:
Personality Attributes and Attitudes
Educational Background:
Teachers College in Adelaide
Intelligence Level:
Any Mental Illnesses?
Learning Experiences:
Life in country towns has rounded her life skills
Character's short-term goals in life:
Get back to work to contribute to the family’s security
Character's long-term goals in life:
Be happy with lots of grandchildren
How does Character see himself/herself?
Confident strong supportive
How does Character believe he/she is perceived by others?
As above
How self-confident is the character?
She is happy with who she is
Does the character seem ruled by emotion or logic or some combination thereof?
Emotion features heavily in her judgement but measures it with logic
What would most embarrass this character
Family scandal
Spiritual Characteristics
Does the character believe in God?
What are the character's spiritual beliefs?
She takes her children to Sunday School
Is religion or spirituality a part of this character's life?
Not really but she likes rules and the Christian religion provides that
If so, what role does it play?

As you can see Merlene's chart has helped reference this person's features characteristics and beliefs. giving me a ready reference to what I might need to know as the book develops.

Thanks Merlene.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

More on publishing and distribution

I thought today that I would research the world of book distribution and came across a very topical article by Simon Haynes. Now an author with a lot of notable publishing credits he offers some advice to those who are taking the self publish route.

You can find his article by clicking on the link:



Sunday, 3 February 2013


In my quest to find out as much as I can about the pointing bone in my story Kundela I decided to try and replicate something that may have been made. Research shows that after the bone has been charged with mystic power and the target pointed at, for the kundela to work it had to be destroyed. These weapons were the burnt in a ritual fire and that is possibly why few exist today.

To discover what kind of materials were used I spent days checking and reading everything I could about the different ways a kadaicha man may have made and used the bone. As most kundelas are made from emu or kangaroo bones I figured if I kept a lookout on an interstate trip I might find one or the other that had been killed in a road accident and I would have the main element of my replica.

Fortunately while resting the dog on the side of the Adelaide road, he started sniffing around under a wattle tree and found the skeleton of a dead kangaroo . Now all I needed were a few feathers, something to replicate human hair and spinifex gum. I couldn't find spinifex but a gum tree provided a rich red resin that could be heated and moulded to make a pad on the handle end of the bone. Some twine was found and plaited to make the strap.

Using a fine cutoff wheel in an angle grinder I began shaping the bones. I took two tibia bones from the skeleton, these showed greenstick fractures, the animal had been hit by a vehicle of some sort and crawled into the scrub to die. Using the cutoff disc I tapered both bones and cleaned them with a burnishing pad.

The photo below shows my finished replica.

Research in to the construction of a Kundela

Today I thought I should spend a bit of time finding out how a Kundela is made and came across this wonderful diagram of the skeleton of a kangaroo. Just check out the size of the bones in their feet. No wonder they can hop.

Link: <a href=""><img src="" alt="skeleton of a kangaroo - Visual Dictionary Online" title="skeleton of a kangaroo - Visual Dictionary Online" /></a>