Posted by solitaireparke
What process do you use on a day to day basis to determine what happens next in a novel? What is your decision-making process for introducing new characters and how do you determine their importance?
Early on I researched how other authors went about prepping for writing a novel. Some created elaborate outlines and spent inordinate amounts of time agonizing over every detail. The system works, just not for me. In the attempt to recreate the entire book in outline form, I lost contact with what I was trying to say. Consequently, it would take me months to find I wasn’t getting any closer to the actual writing process.
I finally hit on how it functioned for my level of impatience and trust me, once you find it, stop butting heads with the inevitable . . . just write. I started over a lot until I realized one key thing; by trying to adhere to an existing outline, letter by letter, number by number, the story got lost in the translation from my attempt to force the outline to become the book. The story has to come from the gut, not from a preconceived notion that was designed before the writing began. The story needs to have a mind of its own, and at times, should not be controlled. Sometimes, you should just let the monster out of the box.
I usually dig back into my past and find that moment, everybody has them, where everything that could go wrong . . . does, and then allow the characters to go through, at least in spirit, the same level of agony, just to see where they will take it instead of me. I discovered that if I put on my writing shoes, and then just followed my feet, the characters managed to get themselves into enough trouble to satisfy my wanderlust. Sometimes, I don’t even know what they’re about to do, but isn’t that how life works?
The importance of characters in a story should be dealt with in primarily the same way that God deals with us down here on earth. No one person is of greater importance than anyone else. If we treat any single character with less importance than their counterparts, we have done them a grave injustice. We as writers never know which character will surface again in a subsequent story. Today’s sidekick might be tomorrow’s hero.
Do you have a certain process that inspires you to create new characters or prep for a new piece or novel you are writing? I’d love to hear your comments.
You can purchase or preview my books at www.solitaireparke.com.