Ten Key Steps In Writing Your Novel # 9
The # 9 Key Step:
The chapters of your book need to gain momentum and each chapter needs to be “larger” than the previous one.
Think of your chapters as rooms in a building in which each space that one enters is larger than the previous one, and you, as the author, are leading a tour. The readers must sense that as they read they are making progress: learning, and understanding more and more about the characters and the situation.
Remember also that characters do not operate in a vacuum. Their actions usually involve other people, and these interactions are what make up scenes. A single scene or a telling description can be a building block for constructing a unified story line.
That means that you plot and your characters have to grow and evolve. This happens in two ways: their actions and their outlook on life. Readers develop an understanding of the characters by what they do and think in the dramatic events of the story.
Develop your characters and your plot together. You can’t do one without the other. Your characters are not wooden people who just dropped out of the sky. They are critical elements of the drama you are creating. They must do something logical or illogical (which is what plot is all about) that adds to your story, and moves it to its climax. Never separate characters from plot.
As the plot progresses, so should your characters’ development. Pay attention to traits or ticks they display, the clothes they wear, and how they respond to situations. Remember to add these enhancements to your characters’ index cards to maintain consistency.
Finally, this one note about characters from Aldous Huxley, “I base my characters partly on the people I know — one can’t escape it — but fictional characters are over-simplified; they’re much less complex than the people one knows.”
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Sometimes I think what is in my face onto my page is what I don’t understand and then keep going on and usually wonk-out and sometimes get a magic message and that is why I think I like and follow the sound of it in my head finally and even voice it out to see it still makes ‘sound’ sense that ear-way. The meaning must take care of itself but the reason of it in meaning can’t be o b v i o u s l y be nonsense unless i like the nonsense. Then sometimes it all makes me think that’s ok. (But I could be wrong and I’ve misspelled my mind, miscalculating fishes and phillips-head screws.)
Where do I go wrong?!
Then most of it goes in the ‘privishing’ drawer and in the ‘publishing’ drawer goes the real failure that off and on might end up published. If I could write my nipples and navel that I can see and this validate, then I might be able to stop my journey of wonk.
And that is why (as well as being so short) what I adumbrate I see as poetry, not stories, not novels. I wish I had that real kind of carrot and stick instead of this imaginary road to some Ellis Island where I will be sent back where I came from even as I don’t know where that is. Novelists get crowned. Poets may get some old moldy laurel (everybody laugh!) and a stubby pencil with a dried-up eraser.