Monday, January 23, 2012

On Starting a New Novel

A week ago today I woke up with a story idea. Finally! I’ve written 6 fun kids’ stories this fall while waiting for that special young adult plot to reveal itself to my conscious thought. Before I could even start an outline life interrupted with a family emergency and now, seven days later, I can begin to flesh out my characters.

Here’s what I’m reminding myself to think of as I begin:
1. I need a complete physical description of each character (I’m starting with 5 teens)
2. Jot down how each character will react to conflict
3. List their personal quirks, speech, attitude, habits, mannerisms, what they wear, etc.
4. Think up a dominant impression – how the reader will perceive each one
5. What's each character’s point of view? That is, I need to make sure his background evokes the correct response to others and to himself or his plight
6. I need to plan for how I can keep each character interesting, how he will attempt the impossible or unattainable or forbidden or disastrous
7. The hardest part: How will I first introduce each character? The situation must show him in an act that will characterize him – first impressions are just as important in books as in life

In the past I’ve created my characters gradually through the course of writing the action. I’ve gotten to know them and let them grow on their own. This time I thought it would be more fun to create them first and then throw them into a situation.

Do you have any other tips for me?