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Work In Progress: The Novel

I wrote a rough 20,000 word start for my first proper full length novel.

I agonised over it, got to know the characters further and then agonised some more.

Then I decided I didn’t know the male lead well enough so off I went, back to the drawing board whilst I tried to figure him out.

He was and still very much is, a tricky customer.

I have his family background sorted. I know he’s from Liverpool. I know he’s six foot and so handsome that he reduces the female lead into a gibbering puddle of woman-goo.

Sounds nasty doesn’t it? Tally ho. These clichés are sent to try us.

Yet they build a bond, not just a rapport that drags Nick (my enigmatic lead) out of his secretive world to be with her.

What about Kitty then, my Cinderella type heroine? Well, I think she’s got a lot of grit to bring to the story yet as I endeavour to go forth and conquer the re-write from the draft.

I think she has a lot to give yet as a character. She get’s shat on so much as a person and leads this piteous life, but crikey, she doesn’t let it defeat her. I’m not turning her into Alison from ‘Look Back In Anger’ by any means, but I think she’ll give as good as she gets.

Nick is so hard to fathom out. Why is he so secretive? Why does he play these ridiculous games with Kitty? Why can’t he just be with her in a more conventional sense? What is it, personally and professionally that means that a ‘normal’ life is beyond him?

It’s his motivations that I’m wrestling with.

Then there’s the other question – do I deal with sex or gloss over it? Do I add the details to highlight the tenderness between them, or just have them kissing and closing the bedroom door? These are thorny issues. Besides, I’m not sure if I have the writing skills to pull off a good sex scene. I read a quote from another writer somewhere, forget who, who said that if you don’t want to be doing whatever it is that they [characters] are doing, then it’s rubbish. I have to agree. Not so much really in the sex scene, but with all of it. I want to have the reader engrossed and really engaging with the material in their heads. I want them to walk away from the novel thinking about the characters.

That’s my personal gauge when working out what constitutes as a good read. Do I walk away yearning to hear more from the characters and cursing the author for not writing a sequel? If not, then it was a ‘meh’ sort of book. I want to take the characters away with me in my head, like the memories of good friends.

Then again, I am writing for my own pleasure aren’t I? I have no intention of publishing my work. Who the hell would want to read about my characters? Who wants to roll their eyes at my spelling and grammar mistakes? No-one at all. I just want to get to the end of it and tell Nick and Kitty’s story. I want to get it out of my head because it’s useless living there. I want to finish it and be proud of it. Like all my work. I do not write for praise or fortune. I write, despite my flaws, because I like to.

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