It was February. I did some things.

March 3rd, 2023Posted by Nancy

While the Witch Novel is marinating (i.e. I printed off all 299 pages but have not looked at them AT ALL), I’ve turned my attention to my other project, The Glass World Thing. This is the project that started as a fluffy modern romance, switched gears to become a historical fiction supernatural thing (possibly not exactly set in this world), meandered along for 35,000 words or so of vamping, and then stalled when I really had to figure out the plot.

So this month’s assignment was to figure out a much stronger skeleton for the plot, which I mostly did. I’ve also been doing some character work based on advice I read in MASTERING THE PROCESS by mystery writer Elizabeth George. I’ve followed George every since her first novel A GREAT DELIVERANCE came out. I haven’t loved every book, but she’s consistently interesting and takes risks, so I was curious about what she had to say.

In the book, she takes one of her novels (CARELESS IN RED) and walks through all the steps of her process, which she has refined over the years. Not all of it is applicable to the kind of things I write, but I found her character analysis examples very interesting. She writes stream-of-consciousness, free form character profiles covering their history, appearance, likes and dislikes, with a special focus on their core need (the thing they need the most from the world and other people) and the pathological tactics they fall back on when they’re threatened or angry.

Somewhat to my own surprise, when I applied this technique to my two leads in the Glass World, I wrote pages of ideas before I even realized it. I’m feeling much more grounded in who these people are now. The challenge will be integrating this new knowledge into the process of actually rewriting parts of the novel over top of the work I’ve already done.

If you’re looking for a new book of writing advice (and let’s face it, what else do we do when we can’t actually write? Besides whine about it, of course), check out Elizabeth George’s book.

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