Tuesday, November 09, 2010

My Novel Is Changing

I'm back to reading the Twilight books again.

And concurrently, I've also been doing a fair bit of work on my novel. It's taking on a life of its own. Just when I thought it was going to be one way, it's veering off in an unexpected direction. As far as romances go, it's going to be a little unusual. Perhaps that's why I'm so drawn to Twilight and why I return to the saga again and again for inspiration.

When I first imagined John Emerson as a character, he was the roughest of rough outlines. All I knew was that he was from Boston (for no particular reason), went to Harvard, was rich, and had a detached-type of personality. Ivy was much clearer to me. I had a clearer picture of her background, her motivations, her deepest emotions. But now that I've done many, many hours of research I realize that I (subconsciously?) knew more about John than I initially thought. And that I (again, subconsciously?) gravitated to Boston for a reason. Over and over in my research, things have come up that make John's background and eperiences there key to the story I'm trying to tell. And after spending time recently in Boston and Salem (where, incidentally, I had never been before), I completely "get" him as a character now.

When I started writing this book, it was 100% Ivy's story, but as time has progressed, John's point of view has slowly taken over. I'm not used to (or inclined toward) writing from the male point of view, but it's working for me so far. My dirty little secret? I care about John more than Ivy now.  

This is a wierd realization for a writer to make mid-novel. I am 63 pages and 18,471 words into things when I come to the conclusion that the story I set out to tell is not the story I'm telling. Not that this is a bad thing, because momentum in any direction is still momentum. That's what you need when you're writing a(n approximately) 90,000 word book. It's just taken me by surprise.

When I was writing Home Improvement, my writing group told me over and over and over again that Will (my male protagonist) was not a particularily likeable character and that he lacked depth and backstory. Try as I might, I just couldn't work up the enthusiasm for him, and as a result, never corrected the issues my readers had with the novel. His story never came together with Alex's (my female protagonist) and the disconnect showed throughout the book.

This new book is really coming together cleanly. And since I care about both my characters, and have a good appreciation about where they are in their own heads, I'm writing a much more interesting novel (interesting to myself, of course). It remains to be seen whether you all will agree with me...

1 comment:

  1. sounds like great progress!

    of course, it makes me happy that you recently visited boston! my heart, my home. nostalgia and longing setting in....lol


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