The goal: to get my 97,000-word historical novel, SANCTUARY OF FOOLS, published during this lifetime. That's really not too much to ask, is it!?
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Jumping off the Diving Board
What's the meaning behind my title, you ask? Well, I've decided that today is the day to put pen to paper, or rather, to open up a new MS Word doc and launch into my opening scene. It's been exactly one month since I started blogging (and as a side note, this whole process, including reading all of YOUR blogs, has benefited me 100x more than I could have ever imagined.) So it seems fitting to bite the bullet, and start my rewrite today.
Do you sense a little trepidation in my "voice"? If so, you're right. It's all fine and good to muse and muddle over how you're going to rewrite your 400-page-not-quite-a-masterpiece; it's a whole other thing to actually do it. The ID ("inner demon") is whispering, "Look out world, here comes another 400 pages of endless exposition and unrealistic dialogue!" Thankfully, my GAs ("guardian angels") are murmuring, "Just think how much your writing has improved since After the Row Houses [1st unpublished novel] ... it can only continue to get better!" So I'm setting to work with the GAs on my shoulder, and the ID kicked out into the cold.
Let me conclude with an update on my recent preparatory accomplishments. I finished that fabulous Frederick Lewis Allen book (I was practically sweating as he recounted the final days before Black Tuesday), and am about 3/4ths of the way through my character attribute exercise. The latter is taking a heck of a lot longer than I'd like, but perhaps that's a good sign ... I've found myself staring at a few of the prompts (especially the ones dealing with character motivation and attitudes) for minutes thinking, "How would So-&-So behave?"
In addition to the suggested attribute prompts in Manuscript Makeover, I added a few of my own, which are as follows:
Most vivid childhood memory
Most guarded secret
Most shameful/embarrassing moment
Most prized possession
Political affiliation/leaning –
Says prayers (e.g., “when …”/”never”) –
It's amazing how much you can learn about your protagonists by fleshing out their family members. On that note, here's another edition of ...
FIGURING IT OUT AS I GO: I'm going to do something a little different. Instead of coming up with my own worldly wisdom on pre-(re)write character development, let me send you to an excellent post on the subject ... An Ulterior Motive: Characters Are People Too