Writing a novel is hard. Trust me on that. All those weeks and months of writing and re-writing is enough to turn anyone ga-ga. And not necessarily in a good way - because I'm assuming there is such a thing as "good" ga-ga.
So anyway, I'm well on my way with writing projects under my pseudonym but I haven't yet made plans to write my next novel as me quite yet. That might be because the ink hasn't quite dried on When Skies Are Grey and I have yet to start the daunting task of finding an agent or publisher or deciding about self publishing for this one.
But it got me thinking about what goes in to writing a novel and how I need to get my mind going when an idea finally comes.
A Sense of Purpose
I had very definite ideas about what I wanted to say in both Holding Paradise and When Skies Are Grey. They were both set in more or less the same era and I wanted to go down a path in recent history that, although taken many times, gave meaning to the things I learned about those days and stayed with me from childhood.
So in the same way, I need to think about what my goals are for my next book, what I want to achieve, what message I want to put across and how I want my reader to feel after reading my novel.
My Leading Player
For both of my last novels my main protagonist was female. I have to decide if I want to do that again this time. As a woman I assume I will give a female character depth and greater appeal. But having said that I have written in the voice of men too and it is something I could explore to a greater extent. (I'm reading a book in which a white man narrates as a if he were black and I'm totally convinced).
Most importantly my protagonist must have purpose, they must have desires or goals and something about their character must drive them to do the things they do. What will my protagonist learn by the end of the book, if anything, and how will they change? So much to consider.
Plotting a Path
Whatever my story is and whoever my characters, I have to make sure everything hangs together with a good plot. I know I'll need to think up some top notch conflicts for my protagonist and the odd obstacle to prevent them from reaching their goals easily. All of this should bring life to my character and move the story along.
Most of all I want to make my reader happy. After although we write the books we want to read, we love for others to read and enjoy our book, so I'm going to think hard about my cast of characters; make them jump off the page if I can.
If I can do all that I might just have a good novel up my sleeve and have a fantastic time writing it ... until the re-writes of course!
What's your writing process when writing a novel?