Might be Time to Re-Evaluate

I’ve said once before, I start a novel with a simple idea and then the idea grows into a trilogy or a series. Consequently, I never finish a book. It becomes so large and complicated, I get lost.

Recently, a friend said my stories grow because I don’t contain them within an outline. Only problem is, I can’t write an outline if I don’t first know the story.

Example: I started Jewel of Desire with four characters. If I’d written an outline with just those four, I not sure if I could have written an interesting enough plot. But as I wrote the story, more characters popped up, some from out of nowhere and some who played a bigger role than I originally thought.

With my friend’s help, I see the problem. Once I start writing, I keep going with no clear direction, in which case, I become frustrated with this massif amount of story. I bail and move on to next story or try to go back to a story sitting on the shelf.

What I need to do is write that first draft, learn who my characters are and what the story is about, then write my outline. That’s what I’m doing with a science fiction novel I’ve worked for some time. All the information is there. I just didn’t have it organized so I knew what to do with it.

So I started over with my character’s motivation. I learned only one character, Cameron, has the same motivation throughout the novel. The other characters motivations change at different stages of personal growth. One character, Adumie, changes close to the end of the plot.

I worked on each obstacle to a character’s motivation, their resolutions, and their emotional reactions.

Next, I’ll work on each individual chapter, what I want to accomplish in said chapter, and what’s the worse that could happen. I see that some of those chapters are not as necessary as I thought when I first wrote them. Either the information is irrelevant or redundant. I can combine chapters. This science fiction plot has enough story for a trilogy, I’m  hoping to contain all of the plot within one novel.

It’s been fun. I’ve learned things about the story and characters that make since, but didn’t realize.

Example: Carol is an over achiever. She’d like a friend of mine who once complained about a college science class. To hear her, I thought she had a D. I felt really bad for her. Then I learned she had a B+, which is not the same as an A+. I stopped feeling sorry for her.

Carol is a genealogist, was on the dean’s list in college, and has completed every goal she’s ever set for herself, until this book.

Her project has been rejected. There is no hope of her starting, let along finishing. For the first time in her life, Carol is goalless. She is at a loss as to what to to next. Until this point i the novel, she’d been of good cheer, now she is depressed. The only reason to get out of bed is to pee.

I didn’t know that about her until I did the character study. I thought that since she was in my head, that was enough. But no. Writing it down made it clearer and brought to light character traits I didn’t know she had. Now as I add that aspect of her personality into the story, hopefully, it will make her a rich character.

I wrote a blog on Rules of the Writing Habit And how there is no wrong or right way to write; it all depends on personality. I now see, if one is doing the same thing over and over and not accomplishing the goal, it might be time to re-evaluate the writing process and make changes so that gets that book written!!!!

What’s not working for you? How can you change so you will successfully finish your novel?