follow a rookie writing his first novel

Archive for the month “May, 2012”

Progress is slow

As predicted, writing articles slowed down work on the novel this week. In the end I compromised and did one of the two articles and a bit of work on the novel, which was an early scene in one of the main venues that the action takes place. Being a venue that I will be using many times throughout the book I decided to give only a brief description of the place, I will add bits to this as they become relevant. I think this is preferable to describing it in detail all in one go, as most people will both find this a bit boring (I know I do when I come across lengthy descriptions of either how people or places look) and wont remember it for the next time it appears anyway.

On a completely different topic, I came across this video of a bookshop I frequent quite a bit – it is simply the best bookshop I’ve ever been in anywhere in the world; and I live close enough to go there whenever I like – how cool is that!





Some weeks are better than others…

Isn’t it funny how sometimes you can just sit down and start to write and everything just seems to work – It’s almost as if you are just watching the words appear on  the screen, reading them as they happen, as if someone else is typing them. I’ve also noticed that when this happens, you get a severe time distortion; i.e. time speeds up and a couple of hours seems like a couple of minutes. I know from my work as a therapist that this is indicative of a trance state, and so I suspect that the writing is generated from the subconscious while in this state – hence the feeling of someone else typing it.

Then there is the opposite. Days when you just stare blankly at the screen, when no words will come, and the few that do have ‘pants’ stamped all over them.

Well this week I had a couple of both types! So progress hasn’t been too bad, I rewrote a new beginning to the story, which I think gives the main character a bit more oomph.

The next couple of weeks though might be lean pickings, as I have two articles I need to write (and have been putting off big time), but the time of reckoning is here, so they need to take priority. I’ll still keep the blog ticking over though, with whatever progress or ideas I have.

I’ve been trying to find other people blogging on their writing; anyone know of any good sites with plenty of discussion?

Where to Start a novel

This might seem like a silly question – after all don’t you start at the beginning? Well yes, but where exactly that is for a novel is up for discussion. I had intended to start this novel with the main character in his therapists room, trying to explain his problem while not sounding raving mad.

On second thoughts though, I might start it earlier – probably with him trying to remember what happened the night before at the party where Pan was summoned (and left in his back bedroom). What the hey; its only a first draft so why agonize over it, I’ll write it up and worry about where to start the finished version later.

I’ve also been thinking about more subplots and have come up with a few ideas (involving various death gods) which give my protagonist more to do. I’m estimating that these will also push the word count up toward 35,000 – at least I’ll have a novella!

Character concerns

Conventional wisdom asserts that for people to like your book, the main character (called a protagonist) has to be likeable. Well, not likeable necessarily, but someone they are intrigued by, or can empathize with – in short, someone interesting.

So what makes people interesting? Quirky is good (as long as they are on the same planet!), they need character flaws (we all hate perfect people), they should not be omnipotent or there is no tension in  the plot (even superman has his kryptonite) and they need to be believable.

It’s early days in my novel but I have a sneaking suspicion that my main character might just ever so slightly… suck. True he has flaws (he suffers from panic attacks), he is far from omnipotent (in point of fact you could probably shoot snipe off his back, he is so wet) but he isn’t quirky in the least. I want him to come across as quite average, leading an average life with an average job because it is the contrast of this, to having a god in  your house that is central to the plot. But, making him so average also runs the risk of making him boring – I need to work on  this.

To make matters worse, the protagonist (he who attempts to thwart the antagonist) is really quite colourful – I much prefer writing the villain, and all of the other minor characters so far are much more colourful than the main man. Perhaps I can get away with everyone in the book being more interesting than the protagonist but I doubt it.

I guess I’ll just have to try to spice him up a little bit…

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