New Chapter, New Novel
It’s been nearly two years since I finished my first novel and I still hate it and the characters. I’ve spent those two years focusing on other mediums…. film, theatre, TV, web… basically anything but prose.
The concept and characters of this new book are familiar ones and they should be because it’s actually a book I abandoned in 2011 because I didn’t think it had legs. I’d written nearly 28K before I realised that something was wrong with it.
This year I figured it out. There were multiple “things” wrong with it.
I’d placed it in YA but the more I wrote the more my characters felt like they were pushing for more adult themes… for more NEW ADULT themes. I didn’t know that such a genre existed back then.
In fact, New Adult barely existed as a genre and it only started gaining any serious traction in the last couple of years via self-publishing means. On top of that, I didn’t think it fit very well in my two favourite genres – Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy.
All 28,000 words were originally told through a third person alternating narrative. The waters became very muddied and I was struggling to balance information from four or five characters. I got to the point where everything was predictable because my audience surely knew what was waiting for my protagonist around every bend.
3. Goal Priorities
It seems that at 19, I didn’t know how to divide up A and B stories. The book still has the same goals today as they did then; I’ve even added a third. The difference is that now I understand the effect those divisions have on a story and how they should complement the A story rather than the A story serving the B story, which in this case was romance.
Put simply, I don’t think my protagonist was up to much back then. She was so weak a strong wind could have knocked her over. She was being tugged along by the story and the supporting characters, going where she was told without much fight or reasoning.
With an understanding of New Adult themes behind me, she’s going to get to the end of this draft badass and in full control of her next move.
Putting experience to the test
I’ve done a lot of exercises, redeveloped all of my characters, including the secondary character that I’d always planned to start a paranormal romance spin-off with, and fleshed out the plot and world in the last few weeks.
I’m aiming to get 70,000 words of a first written by the 28th February. I’m not on track to make it just yet but this latest writing bout has reminded me why I was able to write 55,000 words of Caru in Wonderland during Nanowrimo in 2013: my protagonists always rule.
I’m preparing myself for late nights and maybe no sleep over the next 20 days. If I end up with a completed first draft by the end of it, I’ll forgive them for the constant images and conversation every time I shut my eyes.
They should consider themselves warned.
Here’s to a new chapter in my writing life. Hopefully one I’ll like in 20 days time.