Taken Over – The Book of Sharon

As I might have mentioned before, now I am writing Book 2 of The Dinorah Chronicles – The Book of Sharon.  I have to say that the approach to this book has taken me on a different journey, one that I did not plan but simply followed.  Most of the time I don’t follow an outline, if an outline happens, it does while I am writing and for “memory” reasons, so I don’t forget and keep things in perspective, and don’t forget important issues that should be resolved throughout the novel.  Must likely, I don’t necessarily know how the story is going to end, although I may have a faint idea.  Sometimes, I think of something but it happens that a character has a better idea, and I follow – I let go.  Must of the time, I find that this approach lets everything fall into place and all ties come together in the end.  This is what happened with Ramblings of the Spirit (Book 1) – it set the path for The Book of Sharon.

This presents a challenge for me, as I am writing the story that I want to write, however this time, the story contains the book of the main character, which is also the contents of an ancient book.  It is a book inside a book inside a book – I hope you understood that.  It is a more complicated way of writing but I am up to the challenge thanks to Dinorah Sandbeck, the main character.  Of course, I am excited about writing it, but also on beating the deadline of publishing before the end of the year, and ideally, by the end of summer/beginning of fall.  It is a tight deadline, thanks to Dinorah Sandbeck.  This of course, presents another challenge, not only will I have to write in my voice, but in Dinorah’s writing voice, and in the ancient tome’s style as well.  No wonder why I have gone through so many cups of coffee during the day.  I am honestly feeling the pressure from these two characters – yes, the ancient tome became a character in Ramblings of the Spirit, although it was introduced in Moonlit Valley – my first novel and the story who gave birth to The Dinorah Chronicles.

So this is what is going on with the second book in The Dinorah Chronicles trilogy, and this is why you see the counter at the upper right corner of this blog, as a constant reminder of the contract that I have with my characters, with the readers, and with myself.  I have worked on the design of the cover as well, although it is not ready yet.

If you are unfamiliar with Moonlit Valley and Ramblings of the Spirit, these are available through Amazon, and you can even preview a bit.  I am also doing a promotion this month for a free kindle download of Ramblings of the Spirit.  And if you want the chance of winning a free paperback of Ramblings of the Spirit, you can like my Facebook page by clicking the button at the right on this page.  You will be entered for a chance to win one of three copies.  The winners will be announced on May 20th.

Since time is ticking and I am not even halfway my story, or Dinorah’s, or the Tome’s, I will try to limit blog posts to two or three a week, most likely two, at least until I have a handle on the first and second drafts.  For the next few months I will be immersed in this novel, much so as a monk writing a doomsday book.  It will be an interesting journey.

Writing the Domesday Book

Writing the Domesday Book (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

Wrestling with Your Characters 2

Ernest Hemingway-studio in Key West

Image via Wikipedia

On September 30, I wrote Part 1 of this post.  I had to take a break from my novel because I was having an issue with one of the characters – somehow, I was avoiding her.  It was my issue – of that I was certain; however, I had to discover why.  I stopped writing and I got back to the beginning of the story and read every sentence, trying to find the answer to my avoidance.  A month has passed and today I was able to write two chapters.  I have made peace with my main character.

This may sound as unusual but I think it is very common for new writers to confront some personal issues when they are writing the story.  After all, when you write, you are putting part of you into those pages.  Even when you don’t realize it and your story might be fictional – there is always a part of the writer that will leak into the page.  So there is a deep connection between writer and story, writer and characters, because after all, the characters make the story – you cannot have a story without characters.  That connection will deepen as you get further into the story.

In my case, I was being confronted by the issue that I feel that I am nothing like my character – or am I?  In my eyes, I am not; however subconsciously, maybe I was secretly wishing to be a bit more like her.  That caused a road block and made me avoid an encounter with myself.  Sounds complicated?  It probably is.  It wasn’t until I understood this issue that I was able to keep writing the story.

My point to all this is that when you start writing, you never know where the story might take you – on paper, and in your mind, as well as in your emotions.  It is hard sometimes to separate the writer from the story, but at one point, they are separate worlds.  Well seasoned writers know that and many are very prolific in their craft.  I am just a beginner with a long road ahead of me.

Wrestling with Your Characters

Tapping a Pencil

Image by Rennett Stowe via Flickr

I’ve had a hard time writing my novel for the past couple of days – not because I was not in the mood to write, or because I was procrastinating, but because every time I sat down to write the next chapter, I got off the chair and did something else.  Now, that may have sound as procrastination, but I knew that was not the case.  I decided to think about it some more.  Why did I turned back once I decided to write that next chapter?  It puzzled me and annoyed me as well.

Pondering about the issue, I discovered that I was having an issue with one of my characters.  Yes, as weird as it sounds, this character had grown strong and had taken over, behaving and reacting differently from what I had planned.  Opening that computer file to write meant having a writer’s confrontation with my character.  This presented an issue that I disliked to ponder – had I lost control of my novel?  Was I being intimidated by one of my characters?  I had to ponder about this even when I did not like the idea.  I did.

My findings were very interesting.  I had to admit that I was wrestling with this character from the beginning of the story, like it or not.  The problem is that it is my main character.  This issue presented another bigger issue – should I stop writing the novel, should I continue wrestling, or should I listen to this character and give in to it?  In this case, is her.  Well, I needed to decide, otherwise my story would be frozen indefinitely.  I did.

I realized that I had to go back to the beginning of the story and try to understand this character’s reasons.  I decided to look for the moment when the writer-character conflict started and understand the why.  This is my compromise with her.  To some of you, this may seem bizarre and a bit “cuckoo” but it is the compromise I had to do to continue writing the story.  I agreed to put my writing aside until I go back to those chapters and realize my issue with it – after all, it is my issue, and not the character’s issue.  I created it, and I am having the problem; or is it a challenge?  Does that mean that after all, I am in control of the story?  Well, I cannot answer that until I find out, and that is another post.

The Rebellion of Characters

A public domain image of Frank Thomas' Golden ...

Image via Wikipedia

When I set out to write my first novel,one of my main characters rebelled.  I had planned for this character to be and behave a certain way – geeky, fun, and second to the female of the story.  I began to write the story, and immediately I felt resistance from this character.  Since it was my first novel, I found this amusing, interesting, and thought to myself, “what the heck, it is just one of the characters.”  Little did I know, you should never treat a character as “just one of the characters,” and he showed me that.

My character took the lead, presented himself strong, and the total opposite to what I had planned – a hottie, smart, with a soft side and a dangerous side as well.  I let him be, and I am glad that I did that.  The result was amazing to me, he shaped the story, but did not in any way opaque the main female character.

I could have gone with my original intention and fight this character all the way to the end of the story; however, I was at the perfect stage of experimentation.  I learned a lot, and I have to thank in part this character.  My point to this post is to let yourself experiment, and don’t be afraid of letting go of a preset order of chapters, characters, and outline.  Write with love, enjoy it, have fun.