Writing a novel my way

I’m excited about starting a new novel. I have my “world” set and I’m looking forward to living it in for a while. I’m not a major plotter. I have a vague outline. I’ve envisioned the beginning and ending scenes. I’ve written the opening paragraph and the last two lines of the book. Now I just need to fill in the middle. 🙂

I’ve written some notes, some questions, some character bits. I still need four secondary character names. Sometimes names come easy, obviously not this time, so for now they appear as DAUGHTER, SON, BROTHER, and TEMPTRESS.

At this stage, I spend a lot of my writing time not writing. With my eyes closed, I sit and daydream. Scenes materialize and I watch and listen. Questions arise and I devise the answers. Sometimes the answers change the scene, so I have to shake it like an Etch-A-Sketch and begin again.

The dialogue for a couple of the key scenes is rattling around in my head, so today I’ll write out as much of that as I can.  Writing the dialogue first enables me to visualize the scene, so when I go back to flesh it out, it’s easy to fill in the action and setting details.

When I get stuck, I go clean something until a new scene or more dialogue filters through to me. This is good because when it all comes together and I’m deep into writing, I can ignore dust and grime like you can’t imagine!

How’s life with you? Are you in a productive stage or down time?

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How comfortable are you in your fictional world?

When we write fiction, creating the world in which our story takes place is in our hands. I enjoyed writing The Brevity of Roses because I loved all three main characters—and had a good time with a couple of secondary ones too. I also loved “living” in the primary settings—a beautiful Tudor-style mansion with gorgeous gardens and a cottage by the sea. Those things made up for the painful scenes I had to write.

Now, I have to decide which of three books I’m going to work on next. I’ve changed my mind several times while I’ve been busy getting my last novel ready for publication. Soon, it will be time to start serious work and I still don’t know which story to go with.

One would be rather pleasant to write … well, no suicidal characters, or tragic deaths, and just one abuse-scarred psyche to deal with. The other two are much darker—but for different reasons. Neither would be particularly pleasant to write, but I’m wondering if they might be more satisfying to have written.

For any of the three stories I have to choose from, the book world will be more meat and potatoes and less dessert than Brevity’s world. But maybe that will help me develop more writing muscle. So which to choose? Eeeny, meeny, miney, mo …

Your turn: How often does your writing create a comfortable story world? Do you ever deliberately create a world that forces you to explore people, places, and ideas outside your comfort zone? Do you like to combine the two and set a challenging story in a pleasant or familiar world?

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