Posts Tagged ‘character’

The story so far:
I have written the first draft of a crime novel, provisionally titled Dolly Maltravers Investigates: the Nigerian Web. As I came to the end, I felt increasingly bothered by three linked issues (which I will keep vague so as not to spoil the story for later readers):

  1. I think the villain is too obvious. Cui bono? It’s not much of a mystery for the experienced reader;
  2. their alibi is rather thin: why should the police buy it?
  3. their character is too antipathetic. They are rather dull, conventional, lacking passion – the classic shadowy perpetrator. It’s clear the author doesn’t like them very much.

Although this is only a first draft and it can be solved in the rewrite, these issues sap my morale and motivation to get through the grunt work. I write long-hand and have to transcribe from my notebooks, so there’s typing up, formatting, and maintaining consistency in both voice and plot). Basically, I’m a bit out of love with the whole thing because I see these gaping flaws.
Coupled with this we’re in the midst of the bleakest bleak midwinter. I suffer from SAD and find it increasingly difficult to motivate myself to do anything at all,
So I have set myself some very limited targets:

  • type up 1.6k words per day (4 pages of long-hand;
  • write 1.6k words a day of new material, which can be exercises from writing books or my own exercises;
  • blog the process here.

I have been working my way through Writing and Selling your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron (Writers Digest Books). I came to the chapter on the Villain, and I really didn’t feel like doing it. I had brainstormed what I could do to tackle the issues listed above, but I really didn’t know how I was going to get the energy to do it…
I remembered an exercise I’d been given in a writing class: Dear Author