Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Novel Progress - Update

In typical fashion (for me) I couldn't help but look at my opening again last night and ending up chopping 200 words off the beginning of my opening! (Didn't email Vanda again though - that would be pushing her patience too far). As Sally said in my comments sometimes the very beginning of your opening is a bit of a warm up and I realised that any info I had in the first 200 words was repeated later on through dialogue so no point keeping it. Show don't tell and all that. The opening works much better for it. One of these days I might actually stop tweaking! (or not)

In other news I've written another 1,000'ish words.

I realised the other night that I'm in slightly unchartered territory at the moment because my novel outline is pretty sparse. As a result I can feel myself becoming a little less enthusiastic about sitting down and writing and that's not good. I quickly got round that by sketching out the next eight scenes in some more detail and started writing again. It feels better. I know there's another scene after the one I'm writing now and another one after that and so on. When I've written all eight I'll sketch out the next eight and continue onwards. Of course there's a chance my characters may want to go off in a slightly different directions to the ones I have planned but, if that's in character and still carries the plot forward in the right direction, that's fine.

Am I only the writer not to bother writing down character details/history etc before I started? The more I write the more I get to know them and I like that. Of course it means I'll probably have to proof my novel quite carefully when I've finished to check for inconsistencies but I don't mind that. None of them have done anything wildly out of character in the last 25,000 words anyway.


Quillers said...

I only have a very bare idea of what I want my characters to be when I start a novel such as age, gender, race and a tiny bit of background. That way they can surprise me as much as they surprise the reader. Like my MC suddenly revealed during a meeting with her ex-husband that she was the one who cheated on him (and I'd thought she was a fairly decent sort apart from the drink problem ;-)) You're right in that they do reveal themselves to you more as you get into the novel.

The plotting 8 scenes at a time thing is a good idea. I've also heard (and tried it out to a certain extent) that writing your major scenes, then joining them up, sometimes works. As I think I've said before, I wrote my final chapter after I'd only written about three or four of the early chapters, then I wrote another major scene (where my characters arrive at The Important Place). It seemed easier then to guide them towards those goals.

A. Writer said...

I don't write Character details unless I get completely stuck.

If I feel I'm not connected enough with them then I do it but I know them in my head.

I don't write everything down about my friends, family and work colleagues so why do it with my characters?

You're doing really well with the word count! Well done!

Quillers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cally said...

Thanks both. You receive so much conflicting advice about novel writing so it's nice to know I'm not alone in not writing a huge character biography (I read somewhere that some authors fill PAGES with character bio before they even start writing) or even filling out one of those character questionnaires you can get hold of (age, sex, race, place of birth, parents' names, hobbies, eye colour, favourite things etc etc).

Sally - I like the idea of writing major scenes first but they're the ones I'm most looking forward to writing. If I wrote them all first I'd be left with the less exciting stuff to write and I know I'd find it hard to motivate myself to write them. With the way I'm working (ploughing through from beginning to end) I find that the major scenes act as a 'reward' (carrot!) for getting writing the less important scenes before them.

It's all done to what works for each author I guess.

Glad you think the plotting 8 scenes thing is a good idea. I read somewhere that writers' block is often the result of an author not knowing where to go next and, for me, that's definitely the case.

Quillers said...

I've tried one of those character bio things, and found that I didn't know nearly enough about my character(s) at that point.

Yes, it is really about what works for the individual. It's interesting to see how others do it and to see there's no right way or wrong way, but I think it really comes down to the author and their pen/computer and what's right for them.