Sunday, January 22, 2006

Moving Right Along

The first chapter is roughed out and is 2000 words tops, which is too small, I think--roughly 8 pages. However, it is an introductory chapter, and I think most of the bulk of the story will require a lot more detail with longer chapters and more dialog. Plus, the bulk of the story is in a different setting that will need more description. The rest of the characters will need to be introduced, and the subplot developed. There is alot to be done. The main thing is that I'm moving right along with it. It's amazing to me how the storyline has already taken a shift, just in writing the first chapter. But I don't think that's all that unusual. Things pop up that you hadn't thought about that need logical explanation. You can't just have a character pop up in a place. You have to know how they got there. And it has to fit with the rest of the story. Sound complicated? It's blowing my mind, and I've just started.

But overall there is this strange thrill that yes, I am writing a novel. I am finally doing it. I had a delicate scene in the first chapter already, that I'm wondering if maybe I should have left out. However, it is not gratuitous. It is the whole origin of the story, and I feel therefore, must be addressed. In case you're wondering, the novel is about a runaway pregnant teen. And before you say anything about it being too common a plotline, let me suggest to you that perhaps the subplot and the parallels I intend to draw will not be typical.

I have to know this beforehand. For, in writing a book proposal, most editors want to know how your book stacks up to what is currently out there. They want to know what books it is most like, and if it is not like any out there, why it needs to be told. Who will buy your book? Why will it hold their interest? How are you qualified to write the book? Is there a market for it?

Now, having said that. I must tell you that I have absolutely no experience with teen pregnancy. I have never run away from home. Well, once in my twenties I loaded up the car and threatened to leave, but just drove around most of the night and ended up back at home. But that was because I was too afraid of venturing out on my own, not because I was pregnant.
Life experience with specific details of the story are not necessary to writing it, just good research and a good history of people-watching and interaction with them. You don't have to have been the character, just have to have inside knowledge of her environment and draw logical conclusions about her reactions to it from what you have drawn from the people around you. Don't be surprised if people ask you when it's over if it was based on a true story. Fiction mirrors true life--if it is good. Still, fiction is fiction. Keep that in mind. And I have a lifetime of people-watching skills. Folks always said I was the quiet one. I was soaking it all up like a sponge.

Now if I can just wring it back out onto paper and make it something worthwhile. Keep checking in. I'll keep you posted

1 comment:

porchwise said...

See? Wasn't that bad, was it? Welcome aboard. BTW, 'No Place Like Home' was a good read.