Blogs by S G Cardin
My recent experiences in novel writing
7/30/2007 11:15:20 AM
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Having just finished my latest novel, “The Wolf’s Torment,” and gearing up to write “Twilight Over Moldavia,” I thought I’d touch a little on the novel writing process.
First off, novel writing is time consuming. From start to finish, “Torment” took 18 months.
“Torment” was the prequel to “Twilight.” I wrote “Twilight” first, then went back and wrote the back story.
One thing that was important – research. I did a lot of research on Romania, the world in the 1860’s, witches, werewolves, myths, and herbs. I found out a lot of interesting stuff along the way too – including the fact that condoms have been around since the 1300’s!
I discovered in the writing process, I’d write something and then I’d have to research for accuracy. While I didn’t do character bios (I pretty much kept the characters in my head) my first draft was over 700 pages, double spaced. It was my way of getting to know the characters and how they would react to certain situations. I also brainstormed certain situations with others. The Alex/Mihai relationship was dissected to death, but by the end of my discussion, I knew how to handle the relationship properly within the rules of the romance genre.
Trust me, there are a lot of rules and tips to follow.
Plot and characters are so important at this stage. First, you’ve got to define the plot. For “Torment” I wanted to show how Viktor’s transformation changes Mihai. This allowed me to blend in a “coming of age” for Mihai into the story and helped me to keep the focus of the plot.
I personally try to structure my plots like a Shakespearean play with an introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and the end. Some find the narrative arc of complication, crisis, and solution a good formula to follow as well.
In “Torment”, the opening chapters really do involve meeting the characters. It’s so important to see Viktor as he is in these chapters to understand he’s got a good heart. The rising action begins with Bane making Viktor into a werewolf and it reaches it’s climax when Viktor switches the babies. The end, of course, comes with Viktor and Mihai facing off, and for Mihai he must win to save his family.
Of course, the plot wouldn’t be as exciting if the story didn’t have dynamic characters. Mihai is the protagonist. He’s the character who has to change. He’s got to grow up and learn how to be a man and a king. Mihai’s relationship with Alex has also hindered him when it comes to expressing love for those he cares for. He’s got to overcome a lot of challenges to gain the strength he needs to confront the werewolf Viktor has become.
Mind you, the supporting cast has to be interesting and compelling. Theresa is a witch, but doesn’t know it. Viktor is a werewolf, and Sonia struggles with everyday life, overwhelmed by those things over which she has no control of.
While I didn’t sketch them out, what helped was casting the characters. In hindsight, I do see the benefits of doing a bio. A bio helps you to be consistent with character details. I know a friend who has bio sheets and research notes, and I wholeheartedly encourage them.
Once you’ve outlined your plot, researched, and got a handle on your characters, write. And have fun. Get to know them. Remember, expect to do revisions. Your first draft is not your final draft. That was one thing I learned the hard way.
Another tip (which works great for me) is scene blocking. I go from chapter to chapter blocking scenes which allow my plot to play out. This allows me to put down the basics which will bring the plot together.
To write a novel you need patience – a lot of it. It’s going to be time consuming.
Thoughts, comments, feedback welcomed.
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