Friday, October 16, 2009

Novel Novel

Or newly novel now that I've finished LEGACY, anyway... I've come back to what my memory told me was a chapter and realized what I wrote last spring was closer to four pages and some character sketches. It's like a childhood sweetheart you have been fantasizing about for years, only to realize he is a foot shorter than you, which is not to say he isn't a great person with gorgeous eyes... he just isn't quite what you expected...

For starters, what was I thinking with PoV? Why is the Realtor telling me her version? [I presume because I needed to get the house story across] (and why does Office Open insist realtor be capitalized? Can't we speak of a non-specific realtor?) Andrea is the Main character's name (the mom of the family buying the house, not the realtor—the realtor is Bitty). One thing Bitty DID do for me though, is confirm that the story of the kids in the wall has been solid since then... no wonder LEGACY went so fast...

So I expanded four pages to eight, but am still feeling more like it is back-story, than part of the real deal... that's okay. CONFLUENCE had a lot of scenes that never made the book. Funny though... LEGACY didn't have a single one... Hopefully this doesn't mean I am back to two chapters a month. I am okay with a compromise... say two chapters a WEEK, but I can't go back to the three years to write a novel thing.

Besides, this morning I began Kade's first chapter and THAT flows fine. No problems whatsoever working with the teen (I'm sure you are all falling off your chairs in shock about that), but the mom's story is interesting... I think I just need to find her voice. She is a little bitter for understandable reasons, but I want to make sure she is still sympathetic... how do you draw that line? I don't want her to be a shrew or a cold fish, but I need those resentful moments to come out from time to time... Hmmmmm.

Oh well, there are worse problems to have. I love character development.

So I’m curious if other writers have had similar disillusionment moments when they come back to something that was intended to be the ‘next WiP’? And I’d love to hear stories about characters who took a while to find their voice and then turned out FABULOUS!

I wish you all a great weekend!


M.J. Nicholls said...

The bitter/sympathetic line: I would get that across in asides, weaving subtlety into the dialogue. The odd self-pitying phrase there, the odd cold gesture there.

Next WiP: God yes. I slaved over a redraft for three months until I realised I didn't like ANY aspect of the story at all. What the bloody hell was I playing at?

Character: Yes too. I discovered I was using the same character "template" in many stories for years, so I finally brought this person to their fruition in my last work. It paid off, too.

Creative Chronicler said...

I'm working on my first novel, and thought the disillusionment was just me being a newbie. I mainly write stage plays so the transition to a novel has me second guessing myself. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.

Watery Tart said...

Mark- great suggestion on the bitter/sympathetic thing! I think I may also delay the reveal on WHY she's bitter, so it is just a niggling periodic churlishness at first, so when the reveal happens you get a 'no wonder! I'd be snarky too!' out of it. And fortunately I still love this IDEA... I think you may have something though, on a need to break more cleanly from the LAST mother I wrote...

CC: Oh, I'm not THAT far in this process! I've completed two novels, but only edited 1 to the ready point. The WiP I am blogging about is a 2nd in a Trilogy that goes with the UNedited work (figure I'll edit the three together because it will need to happen then ANYWAY, so why do it twice)

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I have a few books in my manuscript graveyard in various stages of decay. They just didn't work out. I've also got a lot of favorite scenes that I loved but didn't work in the story. I'll probably cannibalize some of the material later and put it in other books.

Sometimes I'll come back to something and realize it had good ideas, but just didn't work...and I'll redo the story from another POV, etc. Bleh. Lots of work.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Mike said...

I've found with most of my stillborn novels, the problems come from having written myself into a dead end. Frighteningly, this can sometimes even be just the last sentence.

Thelatter turned out easy to fix, the former can take a lot of reversig out.
Then you find out your commitment to what the book was trying to achieve - so some remain dead, just an interesting but going nowhere experiment.

Bitter/sympathetic is a hard act to emulate, though perhaps negative cynicism is the way to go.
Being the author can be a trap here- we have to understand the character, yet so often the character has to fail to understand themselves.

We have to fall in with being a dishonst narrator - an honest one will weaken the story.

I don't have that "character's voice" problem - it is usually the voice of my characters that drive me to write about them - it is my starting point.