The Process of Creating a Novel: Part 1
So, I have the outline of the story mostly in my head. With the stuff that's going on in RL, I really haven't had the time to do anything much with it. In particular, I'm really struggling to get to grips with my characters.
Characters are people. They may live in our heads - and when we've written about them in the heads of our readers - but they are still people. And people deserve attention, love, commitment, especially from their creator. I must make a confession; I have woefully neglected my people.
Who are they? What are their motivations? What makes a princess dress as a man and go running off to war? Why does a queen put all her trust in the most untrustworthy person she knows? All very good questions - all still without answers. And that doesn't get me anywhere on the path of understanding their world, the places they live or the history that has brought them to this point, the moment when my story begins.
I think I have two options. Option one: over the next couple of weeks, make a concerted effort to get under their skins, to get to know them - starting with their names! - and the world they inhabit. Option two: make that part of my Nano; write character sheets (including ones for the countries involved) before I get going on the story. The whole thing is a precis, anyway, an experiment. Can I tell a whole story in 50k words that can then be turned into 4 or 5 full length books? Why not use some of the 50k to explore my characters?
Option two is very appealing. It means that I don't have to beat myself up for not making any progress over the next few days, and increases the experimental nature of the whole piece. What I can do in the meantime is get together a list of the characters I want to explore and at least find out their names. I can also get together a list of the countries we will be visiting and work out what their 'character sheet' looks like.
I do like having a plan!
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