The Foundations of the Book

As I recover from my illness, I’m gradually getting back into all the things I had put on hold: reading, blogging, spending time with friends…and working on my novel.

A few days ago I sat down and looked over my draft of The Crane Girl for the first time in over a month. It’s clear that revising this first draft won’t just be a gradual refinement of what I have. I need to rebuild it from the ground up. I need to re-work the foundations.

My problem, as always, is the characters.

I like plot. I can do plot. I always end up with a solid, satisfying plot and weak characters. I think it’s because I’m a passive person myself, so my characters become passive too. There’s not enough energy, not enough sparks flying, to make the novel come alive.

So I’ve decided to take each of my main characters and model them loosely on an existing character from a show or a movie. That way, when I want to know what a character will do in a certain situation, I can just think back to the model. Of course, my characters will be different in a lot of ways too, but having a model as a baseline should help mix things up.

I’ll keep the identities of my character models a secret till the book comes out. More fun that way.

Have you done any writing lately? How is it going?

5 responses to “The Foundations of the Book

  1. I’ve done this. Two of my favorite comic books got canceled, so I appropriated (or, you know, created new characters inspired by) some of the characters. I can never reveal the details, though, since it would be big spoiler for my story.

    In answer to your question, I’m just finishing a story now, and I’m pretty pleased with it. I’m reintroducing a character I haven’t written about for a couple of decades, and it’s interesting to see how he’s been getting on.

  2. Nearly everything I have taken seriously has involved redoing it from the ground up at least once: to accentuate the positive, I can go into the second version without the delay of agonising over what might happen overall, so I can focus on tighter writing.

    I have averaged over 2000 words/day this year.

    I have also finished the first draft of a novella, got a good run into redrafting the novel I parked last year, and am expecting to have a short story collection ready for release in the next couple of weeks.

    So I have been writing and it has been going well.

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