This is me and Cam last weekend on a research trip:
So glam. We left our kids and took off for twenty four hours of totally intense and scholarly research. I think I’ll set my next book in Hawaii and the one after that in Italy. It’s important to really know the setting. Get a feel for the locals. That sort of thing.
The good news is I am going to have a third book come out in the near future! Yay! The bad news it’s my plotty book that is giving me fits. But that’s what it’s all about right?
The problem, if you haven’t guessed from my past few posts, is that I have been struggling with the characters. Really really struggling and this has sort of shaken me as a writer because I feel like characters are my strength. Find the right character and everything slips into place. The problem is sometimes a plot appears before the character and blah blah blah I’ve said it all before. So there has been heartache with this novel. And lots and lots of scene cuts, start overs, backtracks, etc. Because of all this, I have realized a few things that have to be clear in my head before I feel like I’m in my groove*.
1. When I sit down to write can I see my character? And I don’t mean physically, I mean emotionally. Do I understand who she is? Why she does what she does? Why she doesn’t do what she doesn’t do?
2. Can I see where my MC lives? Can I actually visualize her house? Her neighborhood? Her room? Do I feel like I’m there with her?
3. Can I see all the other characters in the community of the novel (whether it be a family novel, a town novel, a civilization novel)? Do I see how they all fit in? If it was a regular podunk day, what would each of them be doing? Watering the grass? Eating cheesecake? Throwing knives? What is their relationship with the MC? How does the MC feel about them?
4. When I write, is it flowing or do I feel like I’m just writing to write. Sometimes it’s fine to write to write but sometimes it’s good to take a step back and look at why a scene feels so laborious. Maybe I need to try something else, go at it from a different angle, play with it a bit, or perhaps go eat cookies.
That’s all I have for now. I am tired. And happy.
*And it’s okay if this groove takes a long long time to get into (I keep telling myself this).