Dramaquill's All Things Writing

June 14, 2013

Characters should learn and grow – just like people

While working out the last few chapters of my sequel, “Amorous Obsession”, I felt a sense of completion, not only in knowing that I’m almost finished my second book but also in the growth of my heroine.

What once would have caused her to turn inward and hide, now makes her determined.  No longer is she the woman whose emotions usually dictated her actions.  She strong, active and doesn’t let her emotions dictate her situation.

Eleanor Bennet, my heroine, is older now.  And like me (at least I think this has happened to me over the years), she’s much wiser and much stronger than she was in the first book, “When Love Won’t Die”.  

I hadn’t planned on writing this growth into her character consciously.  Instead, I tried to write her as if she were a real person – maybe even a friend.  I watched her react to what I threw at her in the first book, often feeling sorry for her but also being angry with her for being so weak at times.  

Eleanor Bennett and I have been through a lot in these last couple of years.  I have felt her struggles.  Sometimes, I’ve wanted to intervene.  Other times, I’ve just wanted to be her friend.  

But as I near the end of Eleanor’s story (no, there won’t be a third book about her or the other characters in this story), I feel privileged to have been able to have written such a character and thankful that she didn’t always do what I thought she should.

I didn’t have this same feeling after writing “When Love Won’t Die”, but I think that was because I still felt that there was unfinished business for Eleanor.  I hope my readers feel some of the same satisfaction after reading “Amorous Obsession” that I’m feeling now. 

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March 1, 2012

Writing a Novel: Outline or Not?

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Yesterday I finally had the pleasure of getting back to work on my second suspense novel, a sequel to my first book, “When Love Won’t Die”. It’s been quite a while since I looked at the project as a whole, rather than tweaking a couple of chapters to submit to my critique group.

I learned a lot from writing the first novel. This time, I had a general set of plot points and a series of events already in mind before I began Chapter One. I already knew my characters quite well as most of them made an appearance in the first book.

But this time, I decided to outline each prospective chapter before actually writing the entire story. This has certainly come in handy since I had to take a considerable hiatus from my indepth work on this project and the chapter by chapter outlines I have recorded in a notebook now remind me not only of the story’s direction but also how I want to interweave certain characters’ circumstances together and also the layers of sub-plots I intend to use in the sequel.

I’ve never really had a big problem just starting a story and letting it unfold as I write it but I believe that by doing the task of outlining first, every aspect of this second book will become stronger because I have taken the time to really think things through first. That doesn’t mean I’ll be rigid and unwilling to change things from my outline. It just means that I have a clearer direction this time.

Suspense novels need to have a build-up of tension to keep the reader interested, but more than that, each incidence must evolve out of something else and by doing an outline, I believe that the evolution in this sequel will be more believable and more exciting because of it.

Do you outline your novels? What are the Pros and Cons? Try answering this before you start work on your new book and see which side you end up on?

May 29, 2010

The Creative Process…unpredictable

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Just recently I received the artwork for the cover of my upcoming suspense novel and I must say, I was thrilled with the entire look of it.  It completely captures the essence of my book and I think it will entice many to read the synopsis at the back and hopefully want to buy the book.

So, I had been working on a sequel to this novel, but due to some major revisions to the first book, a sequel may or may not be my next step.  Slightly derailed in my creativity for a few days, I sat down, literally with pen and paper, and began to write out some other plot ideas that had been festering inside my head.

It seems I have a completely new book, with a new cast of characters, ready and willing to pour out onto the page.  The character sketches and major plot points came together incredibly quickly and after two or three hours of writing, I now have a prologue and two full chapters and I’m quite intrigued on where this is all going.

The creative process is indeed unpredictable.  I was completely sure, and completely excited to finish the last third of my sequel.  My characters were still fresh from the rewrite of book one and the intricacies that had developed in the sub-plots and amongst the major players had me convinced that I’d complete the manuscript within a few days.

But my creative persona had other plans.

You’re a writer.  Don’t let yourself get tied into one idea or one project.  If the creative muse comes a calling with something new, open yourself to the possibilities of the creative process.  You never know what might happen.  Savour the unpredictable.

April 6, 2009

What I learned from writing my first Suspense Novel

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It’s taken a while to get what I believe is a solid, polished suspense novel.  I’ve revised, rewritten and reviewed.  I’ve read and re-read.  I’ve had a professional critique done by a published author in my genre.  And I’ve sent my final revision through my long time, online critique group. 

I’ve even decided to try publishers first, instead of agents.  Why?  Well, that’s another post.

So what did I learn?

As I continue writing my second suspense novel, I cannot believe how much more critically I’m analyzing my writing.  My characters are stronger and I’m really enjoying finding new ways to make my readers want to turn the pages.  I’m seeing the big picture from the book and not just one chapter at a time. 

I don’t believe that my revision process on this second book will need to be as extensive as it was on my first book.  I’ve learned so much.  In fact, although I enjoyed writing the first book, I have to admit, it was a lot of work.  Now, I’m not saying the second book won’t be work, but my first draft of this book is already far ahead of my first book.  I’ve already eliminated much of the revising I had to do on the first book just by knowing more as I write this second manuscript.

What is the most important thing I’ve learned from this experience so far?

Never give up!

I’ve found my niche.  I love suspense.  I want to make my readers jump.  I want to hit my characters with obstacles and situations that cause them to really have to think.  And I have to admit, I love writing the villains. 

No writing you ever do, whether it’s published or not, is ever a waste.  Just keep writing and honing your craft and enjoying the journey along the way.

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