Thursday, February 9, 2012

New directions

I got stuck in such a rut when I sat down to write today. Looking back, it seems like I hit a lot of those. I guess it is just part of the process. But I kept hearing the voice of my inner editor going off, telling me my novel doesn't make any sense and that I really need to find a way to explain a few things first. However, I have a deep aversion for explaining things. One of the things that has kept me from getting through many a novel is the author's need to sit down and explain a bunch of stuff, in big, chunky paragraphs, in a very abstract way. I don't want to be told these things. I want you, the author, to show them to me. If it's so important, then it shouldn't be dully recited across 5 pages of backstory. Novel-ize the backstory! Have one of your characters be a storyteller, and have them novelize the backstory! Something! Just don't backstory at me til it makes me want to put your book down and go read something else!

Harry Potter is a good example of how I like a backstory presented to me. J.K. Rowling does not go on for 8 pages explaining about how there are these wizards in the world, and then a bad wizard named Voldemort came along and started killing people, and then some people tried to stop him, and then Harry's parents got killed, and then Voldemort was vanquished while trying to kill Harry. No. We all know that's what happened, but why? Because it was revealed to us in bits and pieces - first with a little bit of prologue that gives us a tantalizing glimpse, then through Hagrid, and then through various other characters and events throughout the book. Even Snape's backstory is given to us in a "show-don't-tell" fashion.

So, needless to say, I started going around in circles about how to get this important information out there in a way that is not confusing but doesn't involve a bunch of backstory recitation. And I ended up with something of a prologue, that might grow into a prequel novella. I like the direction it's going so far, just need to see how long it ends up being before I decide how to incorporate it in my overarching story. It's also revealing some incredibly interesting things about the world I've started to develop, so I can't wait to keep going on it and see where it leads.

Today I managed to log over 1200 words by adding this prologue/prequel, so I'm considering it a success. Time for a celebratory glass of wine!

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