A Change of Plan

Now that I’ve published my debut novel, ‘Slur’ and my short story book, ‘Crime, Conflict and Consequences’ I’m pressing ahead with my second novel. I originally intended the second novel to be a disturbing psychological thriller called ‘Bad Brother and I’. Having already written about 10,000 words of this book, mostly in outline form but with the opening and concluding chapters drafted, it seemed the logical next step. In fact, I had also published the blurb for ‘Bad Brother and I’ in the back of ‘Slur’.

Then something happened.

As I was writing ‘Slur’ I thought of a great idea for a sequel. I had grown attached to one of my main characters in ‘Slur’, called Rita, and through my debut novel I had alluded to the fact that she hadClipartsalbum_31410 Child a rather colourful home life with a father who was a petty criminal and a sister who hung about with some dubious characters. Rita is feisty, foul mouthed and brash but she’s also loyal and has a strong sense of right and wrong as a result of her grandparents’ influence when she was a child. Therefore I thought it would be interesting to explore her character further and place her in an extremely challenging situation.

I decided that I would push on with ‘Bad Brother and I’ once I had published my short story book, and then write the sequel to ‘Slur’. My reasoning behind this was that I was much further forward with ‘Bad Brother and I’ than with any of the other novels I had planned. However, whilst I was getting ‘Slur’ ready for publication, additional ideas for the sequel were forming in my mind. I already had the plot roughly sketched and I was adding notes to it daily.

I was so excited about the idea for the sequel that I also typed up the opening chapter in draft form. Then, one morning I woke up at 5 am after a dream and I had the whole of the ending in my head. I couldn’t wait to get it down on paper. Fortunately, I have a notepad at my bedside because of my overactive imagination (these ideas always seem to come to me in the middle of the night – sod’s law!)

Clipartsalbum_57330 Clock

The following day I typed up the ending in draft from my handwritten notes and I could see the novel starting to take shape. I knew then that I didn’t want to put it off until I had written ‘Bad Brother and I’. After all, I was still immersed in the world that I had created and the characters were fresh in my mind so I decided to go for it. I changed the blurb in the back of ‘Slur’ and started work on the sequel as soon as I had launched the short story book.

I am now four chapters and 10,000 words in and I’m so glad I made this decision. There is no way I could have focused on ‘Bad Brother and I’ when all my enthusiasm was for the sequel. I’m really enjoying working on this book although it may have to take a back seat for a couple of weeks as I’m currently organising a couple of client jobs.

Although I was further forward with ‘Bad Brother and I’ than with the sequel to ‘Slur’, I actually think that this book will flow more quickly because I’m full of enthusiasm for it. There’s another advantage in writing this book next, and that is the fact that it is similar in type to ‘Slur’. Therefore, I can target them to the same readership.

Clipartsalbum_16620 BooksMy husband actually came up with an idea for a third book in the series. At first I wasn’t sure if it could be developed into a full-length novel as it was just the bare bones of an idea. However, the more I thought about it, the more it appealed to me and I began fleshing out the plot and adding detail. It is now definitely workable as a novel and, as a result, ‘Slur’ has become the first part in a trilogy.

So I think my Bad Brother will have to wait a while longer before he gets his turn in the limelight. Sorry Bad Brother but my female characters are just too dominant. I will get back to it one day though and I think that once I’ve taken the characters from ‘Slur’ as far as I can, I’ll be ready to work with a new set of characters and give them my undivided attention.

Authors, have you ever had a writing dilemma that has caused you to make a complete change in your writing plans? Or, perhaps you’ve had a character who has taken on a life of his or her own. I’d love to hear your comments on this.

 

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My Return to Fiction Writing

Now that the main thrust of the promotion for my second book “Great Places for Kids’ Parties (UK)” is almost over, it’s time to turn my attention to my debut novel, which I hope to get back to soon. It needs a heavy edit, fact checking, a change to the ending and proofreading. The prospect is quite daunting as I haven’t touched the book for several years. In fact, I haven’t written any fiction for several years so I need to get myself into a totally different mind-set. In preparation I’ve been reading a useful textbook about novel writing in the hope of recapturing some of the skills and techniques that I learnt on my writing course.

The writing style for fiction is so different than for non-fiction but it’s also much more creative. With non-fiction I try to present the facts in an interesting, reader-friendly way, but with fiction I can do so much more. For example, I can:Meditation

 Develop the plot
 Build up suspense
 Create conflict
 Have fun with dialogue
 Become absorbed in my characters etc. etc.

With regard to the last point in particular, I’m looking forward to recapturing the buzz that I felt when I was writing my first novel. I can remember becoming so absorbed that my writing became like a form of meditation and I would escape to another domain. I almost became the main character as I entered her world and shared all the emotions that she was going through. I would also get a tremendous feeling of excitement as the plot developed.

I use the term ‘my first novel’ because I have already started my second novel with about 8000 words penned, although about 50% of it is in outline form. However, up to now I haven’t experienced the same buzz that I experienced with the first novel. I’m sure that this is partly because I have been so focused on the non-fiction work, which is why I’m anxious to return to the land of fiction.

 ReadingI am looking forward to using a lot of the techniques that I learnt on my writing course and will be re-reading my course notes as well as text books on fiction writing in order to refresh. I’m hoping that by brushing up my skills it will put me in the right frame of mind so that my creativity starts to flow again. At the same time, however, I won’t let adherence to the suggested methods stifle my creativity. I believe that the text has to flow naturally but it’s good to have the ideas in my subconscious as they will then come into play whilst I am writing (hopefully). If I come across any interesting techniques I will share them via the blog.

Of course there are the small matters of ongoing promotion for my two parenting books and client work to deal with but, apart from that, I intend to work flat out to get my novel ready for publication. I’ll be posting excerpts as I go along.