Friday, 8 August 2008

Novel #3

Thanks for all the well wishes and congrats on my most recent sales. The news couldn't have come at a better time. Really, really cheered me up.

Novel #3 is progressing nicely. I haven't written a word apart from a few notes and ideas I've jotted down in a little notebook (that I bought from Paperchase specially for this novel) but that's a good thing. I MUST NOT rush into this novel. I need it to bubble around in my subconscious until it all falls into place.

For example - This novel needs 4 main characters but I only had 3. I already love those 3 and I just know I'm going to enjoy writing about their trials and tribulations but character 4 was elusive. Throughout the day various alternatives would pop up in my mind. Instead of grabbing them desperately I thought them through by asking various questions:

1) Would this character's crisis work with the timeline?
2) What would her 'stasis' be at the beginning of the novel?
3) What would the crisis be that interrupts her life?
4) How would she grow?
5) Who would be her antagonist?
6) How could I make the conflict become more and more intense throughout the novel?
7) What would her secret be?
8) Will I enjoy writing about this character? Will I be passionate about her?

Every single idea for character 4 I had fell down on at least 2 of the questions so I dismissed them (the most important, in my opinion, being number 8!). I started to feel a bit desperate. I NEED a good character 4 but pushing the issue wouldn't help. I needed to relax and let her come to me.

And this afternoon she did.

Not fully formed. She's still a bit vague and there's a lot of questions I need to ask her before she's definitely going into the novel but the more I think about her the more excited I get.

The book on plotting that I mentioned in my last post (Plot and Structure: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting and Plot That Grips Readers from Start to Finish (Write Great Fiction)) is coming in tremendously useful - asking me to work out the LOCK for each character before I get going.

I've also ordered two books on creating characters. A few weeks (months?) ago I wrote a blog post about how lots of writer's books are rejected by agents and publishers because they don't "warm to" the characters. So what's the secret of a character a reader warms to? I'm hoping I find out when:



I tell you what, I'm SO enjoying this bit of writing a novel - the thinking, the scribbling, the crossing out, the notes, the scraps of plot and the "Oooh yes" moments. In fact, I'm enjoying this so much more than I enjoy actually sitting down and WRITING a novel.

Is it just me or does anyone else feel the same?


L-Plate Author said...

Hi Calistro, good to hear a little from you!.

I absolutely love that part of writing a book. There's nothing like being a master of destiny and being in complete control...until you start to write the damn thing and those naughty characters sometimes go off and do what they want.

I've just finished rewriting book two and am going to think of a new plot for my next book. Like you, I've had it in my head for weeks, practically exploding, but I'm off to buy a notebook this weekend. It usually takes me about a month before I start to draft out.

Good luck with everything! xx

Paige said...

Good to see you back!

I've got Character, Emotion & Viewpoint by Nancy Kress. I've only read a few bits and pieces from it but it's a great read! I have four books from that series and they are all fab!

I love playing 'God', creating people and their lives and loves. Its like introducing yourself to new friends. Love it!

You sound so excited. So focused. I'm jealous! I'm lacking in focus right now... :(

Pat Posner said...

I love the 'bubbling' stage and all its various parts - that's why I'll often do a pictorial map or model village, furnish my MCs house, choose clothes for their wardrobes etc.

Long ago, things worked out so I could work from home (writing and editing children's licensed character magazines) which also gave me time to write 'on spec', too. Back then, I'd feel almost guilty if I wasn't actually writing words of the story.
I soon realised that taking time for the bubbling and working stuff out is - for me, anyway - a must, plus it ends up saving time. More importantly, because I know almost everything about all the characters, I have fun writing their stories. I think if writers are passionate about their characters and really, really know them so they enjoy writing about them, readers will warm to them.

So keep bubbling, Calistro, and take time to get to know your #4 character and to let your 3 other characters get to know her, too.

Debs said...

Good luck with book #3. I love getting to know my characters in my head and then deciding what to do with them, until of course they change my mind and do other things along the way.

Those books look very useful.

Calistro said...

LPlate: Thanks luv! Yeah, am really hoping I'll be in control of the book this time without the characters running off out of control!

Paige: I'm always excited and focussed when coming up with ideas for books. It's the writing them that's the problem ;o)

Pat: It's true - I do feel guilty about the fact that I'm thinking rather than actually writing but, as you say, it's such an important part of the process and if you don't let it bubble around for a while you'll get stuck or lost later!

Debs: I'm hoping that if I spend a lot of time getting to know my characters now they won't do anything unexpected. But you never know!!