Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Characters

Beginning a new novel is daunting, especially after living with the characters from my last one for so long.  They became real to me - which is a good thing, I believe.  It's important to have "real" people one is writing about; else how can you expect the reader to accept them?

My new writing adventure is a total departure from my last, and, though I have an idea of plot and a couple of the major characters, I'm still forming others.  Also, because this new novel jumps from one time period to another, I've struggled with my first chapter; trying to get all the exposition in that I felt the reader would need to understand what is coming.  BUT - I overdid it.

Sharing those first pages with my writing group a few days ago, they pointed out that I was giving too much away.  After all, as one remarked, "This isn't a short story; you have an entire novel to get this information out."  All of them gave pointed ways to hone what I'd written, and I'm working on that today.  Even as I was reading the chapter to them, I knew it sounded too formal and full of discourse, and the men of my group have put me on the right path to continue.

So, back to work on that - and thinking about those other characters I need to bring alive on the page.  Always challenging, but fun as well.

Friday, June 24, 2011

An Inspiring Friend

Last week I was lucky to have my best friend, Holly, visit me for four days.  We hadn't had time together - except by phone and e-mail in about a year - so we made the most of this vacation from responsibilities.  My favorite hours were those spent talking, uninterrupted, about all manner of things.  And during one of these conversations, she mentioned that she missed my blog posts.  "You haven't done one since March," she chided.

I did have excuses for the lapse.  We have moved to a new home in the last month, and that significant change with its multitude of exhausting chores attached, was enough of a distraction.  It meant I had neglected refining my query letter, writing my synopsis, and doing research for my new book.  And blog entries weren't even on my radar.

It's easy as a writer to get off-track.   I was eager to get going on the new novel, to find that perfect agent to sell my first novel, and yet I do allow household tasks, family matters, correspondence, phone calls, the internet, a good book, a long walk, the library - well, you get the idea; there are many things that divert my focus.

But when Holly left, I sat down in my new study - an improvement over my old one - and made a concerted effort to refocus my priorities.  She had given me, without realizing it I'm sure, the "kick" I needed.  I have this wonderful, inspiring new space to work in, lots of projects to intrigue my brain, and I said out loud, "It's time to get to work."

So, in the last week, I've organized notes, sat at the computer and got Chapter One of the new novel on the screen, made some important entries in my personal journal about my time with Holly (and we did have a fun four days!), and now it's time to get the blog on the go again.  So, thanks, my friend, for being an inspiration when I needed one.  Funny how you do that for me often.  And I'll try not to stray too far from center again.