Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel #6

The # 6 Key Step:

Playing God. If you want to write a novel, you must act like God.

You begin to play God by creating a main character. You need a strong protagonist, someone who draws the reader into the story. This is the person with whom your reader will identify. You want your reader to care about your protagonists. You may have a main character who is a villain, but he or she is not the protagonist of your story. The protagonist is the hero or heroine carries the narrative to the climax of the novel.

You have to decide.

To help you decide, always ask yourself these critical questions: Which option would be most interesting to the reader? Will the reader care? These questions are the real litmus test of character development and plotting. To be successful, you need to make hard choices. You need to be ruthless with your characters and your story. Who’s in, who’s out? What’s in, what’s out?

This is where most novelists fail the first time. Having a strong protagonist solves that problem for you. Let your ‘character’ take over your story. Put yourself into this character. Become that character. That is what a novelist does. Eudora Welty makes the point that a writer  must “imagine yourself inside another person…it what a writer does in every piece of work; it his first step, and his last one.”eudora

Try different choices, but move the story forward, event by event, bringing each character along with you. As each event unfolds, each character must react to it just as he or she would in real life. (The only difference is: you are all the characters!)

If a child is hit by a car and killed, the driver’s life is changed forever, as are the lives of the child’s parents and his brothers and sisters, friends, even the crossing guard and bystanders.You have to decide what the changes are. This is your chance to play God–if you’re going to write a novel, you must play the part.

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