Friday, 24 September 2010

Looking at the novel (again)

This is brilliant, I'm sat down with sixty thousand words of previous writing without panicking / crying / or tearing of pages. I have written out a synopsis and chapter headings, and now I'm working through each chapter. What do we learn about the characters? What plot needs to be carried through each chapter? What conflicts and tension are present, and does that tension increase? What do we learn about the story world? Well, I'm trying to answer those questions, anyway.

I anticipate dividing the chapters up into scenes in the same way, then work on those scenes before writing the actual rewrite, using the ideas (but not necessarily the words) that I had before. My main characters have come into focus. The main scary moment has to be moved from the middle of the book towards the end, where it can be part of the main conflict. I need to find minor spookies to build up the threat to my main characters.

I've been looking at story structure in my books (Joseph Campbell's monomyth and Vladimir Propp's formalist analysis of folk tales). Me, looking at structure! My principal character is now the one point of view narrator, rather than the narration being all over the show. My teenage second character is less whiny, more consistent as a bit of a heroine. There are less incidental characters, and I've brought in a character from another book, who is fun to write. I'm trying to map my prospective structure into some sort of suggested structure from these two theories, because it does make me think in terms of what works. In many ways, the story is that of a fairy tale, with baddies and goodies and a couple of more ambivalent characters along the way. I'm also looking at Bell's book Plot and Structure. When I get stuck I'm going to have a look at the bigger project, the more serious novel. I'm enjoying writing again.

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