Sunday, 22 September 2013

My Thoughts On Outlining A Novel

          I’ve been working on my novel for a long time, and I finally decided to write a complete outline (I know). I find that over time I’ve remembered the atmosphere of the world and the soul of the characters, but as the plot has twisted and changed, I’ve slowly lost the ordering of the details. I thought I would write a blog on my outlining strategies, but I’ve discovered it won’t be so easy, because apparently I can’t outline.

          First I need to get it straight in my head. I listen to a track that fits and just let the thoughts unravel. I slowly iron out all the little kinks I’ve been coming up against - an epiphany here, a rearrange there - until I’ve managed to lay my ideas out like one smooth, dark tapestry. If you don’t have time to lounge on your couch letting your muse run free (It’s rare that I do) do it when you’re in the shower, washing the pots, working out, commuting. You may not realise it, but this time of pondering is really important.

           The act of trying to outline has helped me get things in order, but I have failed thus far in every attempt to write it all down. The second I start putting it into bullet points it seems to lose its soul and I then lose interest entirely. Perhaps this is something I need to work on, or maybe I’m destined to hold the entirety of the plot in my head; maybe I’ve found my technique. Forever ironing out the kinks, forever thinking and rearranging.

I keep a little moleskin notebook and a pen stuck down the side of my boot for those little details that are new, or exceptionally pertinent which I’m worried about forgetting, and every now and then I’ll leaf through it to refresh my memory.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Who Are Your Characters?

          Your main characters need to be strong enough that they can carry a story. Your character’s past moulded them into who they are, and this should affect their thoughts and behaviour in every scene of your novel, even if you don’t plan on sharing this past with your readers. Think of them as actors who stop every scene to discuss their “motivation” with the director.

          Where did your character grow up? Did they ever fall in love? Do they have goals which are driven by past experiences? What have they gone through that would make them interesting to your readers? If you have a plot in mind, think about what challenges lie ahead for your character, and what faults or talents they may have developed that would allow them to interact with your plot in a thrilling way.

          Equally, I write in first person, and when writing in first person it’s easy to forget who your other characters are. I am always in Kain’s head, I know who he is and what he wants and generally I’m able to hang on to that. Sometimes I will catch myself allowing a villain to behave in a villainous way for the sake of being a villain, but those supporting characters can’t just become an extension of Kain’s story; appearing, acting and then disappearing as it suits his journey. We must remember who they are too. They are the stars of their own story, and they should behave in a way that is true to them.

 Create characters who can interact with each other in a way which drives the plot. Give them histories. Let them stop a scene and ask you, “What is my motivation?”

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Welcome to my Mind

          So, I know that writers are supposed to have blogs, but I didn’t ever think I had anything important to say to anyone, and anything I did want to say, I poured into my novels. My opinions are so malleable that I refrained from sharing them for fear of becoming a liar when I changed my mind. I rarely spoke passionately to people I didn’t know closely, because I was afraid of saying the wrong thing, of giving the wrong impression. Now I’m more passionate than ever and more open hearted. I’m only just beginning to let myself be who I want to be without worrying what people think of me, despite what I may have said in the past.

          The only thoughts I’ve ever shared with the world were buried in the minds of my fictional characters. So here I am. Here I will tell the truth, moment to moment, with my own voice. I’ll talk about the journey of writing a novel, and what I have learnt so far. I’ll show you the things I create alongside my novel; artwork, music, videos.  I hope I’ll make a connection with you, and I’m glad to have you with me.