The Three Rondavels in Mpumalanga, South Africa [a rondavel is an African-style hut which is conical or cylinder shaped]
The esteemed Professor Charles F. French has written a fantastic post about how to world and character build in a horror novel series. I thought his points were great and certainly are not restrictive to horror novels only so I decided to apply his ideas and suggestions to my WIP, A ghost and his gold, and see how that panned out for me.
I had my general themes for A ghost and his gold in place prior to starting to write and these have expanded over the course of the book:
- The impact of greed and corruption on countries and people;
- Bad decision making and their effect on soldiers and civilians;
- Evil perpetuating the development of hatred and evil;
- The effect of war on the political and social development of a country;
- The individual mindset versus the group mentality including pro-war propaganda;
- Death; and
- The reality of war.
My main intention with this book is to describe the events and circumstances of the Second Anglo Boer War which resulted in the emotions and feelings that remained among the different cultures and populations after the war and set the stage for the future of South Africa.
Gold is a repeated theme of this book and is included in the title, together with ghost as this book is historical but has a strong supernatural thread.
Conflicts faced by my characters
The story line runs on two timelines, the present and the period 1899 to 1902.
The modern timeline characters are Michelle and her older husband, Tom, an upper middle class couple living in Irene, near Pretoria in South Africa.
Michelle’s major conflicts are dealing with Tom’s deception and lies and Tom’s are dealing with his guilt and the fact that he did not take responsibility for his actions at a point in his life and this has come back to haunt him [literally].
On the historical timeline, there are three main characters, Pieter, an Afrikaans farmer who fights for his independence and country, Robert, a British soldier who is in Mafeking during the siege and Estelle, Pieter’s oldest daughter, who is interned in a concentration camp and witnesses the deaths of her mother, aunt, sisters and cousins.
Pieter’s major conflicts are justice, guilt, fear and anger which develops into hatred; Robert’s are disillusionment and an gradual loss of patriotism and idealism, internal conflict and anger and Estelle’s are anger which turns to hatred as a result of the lack of accountability by others for their actions and their effects.
The conflicts which face each main character all revolve around the war and its aftermath and illustrate how the past impacts the present and the future.
The lives of the characters are at stake due to the war and the circumstances that Michelle and Tom find themselves in at the current date.
The characters must fact their pasts and resolve their anger and hatred issues in order to find redemption in the present.
Thank you to Charles French for this useful post which has resulted in the above which I have found a useful way of pulling my thoughts together and ensuring my story is on track to achieve and deliver on my themes. Fortunately, it is.
You can read Charles’ original post here: https://charlesfrenchonwordsreadingandwriting.wordpress.com/2020/03/08/how-to-world-and-character-build-in-a-horror-novel-series-by-charles-f-french-part-three/