I’m a very process-oriented gal. It’s a big part of my day job and I’m good at designing them. There are very good reasons why processes are developed, implemented and executed. They guide an initiative to completion. They lay out a set of logical steps that individuals can follow in order to achieve a specific end. They account for deviations and exceptions along the way and they include alternate steps to avoid pitfalls and challenges that may crop up.
As a newbie author, I didn’t realize that I could apply a process to the development of a novel. I thought that creativity trumped organization. I was SOOOOO wrong.
My wonderful editor Cindy showed me the error of my ways and because of her, I used PROCESS to learn about my subjects. One of the key steps in the process of developing a compelling novel? Develop your characters! Learn everything about them! Create a robust backstory for each character in your story, so that you know where they came from, what past experiences shape their views, and how they interact with others. After I followed the process and learned about my characters, I was able to rewrite my story with depth and purpose. I didn’t realize how shallow my first versions were until I spun out the third.
But yet again, I find myself resisting the process. What the hell is wrong with me?
I got halfway there. I know Chris like the back of my hand, but I’m still not sure about Mia.
Cindy gave me a few different scenarios to build out as I developed my character sketches.
1. Most Embarrassing Moment
2. Angriest Moment
3. The Character’s Reaction to a Dog’s Incessant Barking
You’d be surprised how well you get to know someone as you create the events leading up to these scenarios. My immediate problem is that I’m only halfway through Mia’s character sketch. I haven’t fully developed her backstory. Sixty pages into Nothing Ventured, and I’m still at a loss. I don’t know where I’m going because I don’t know HER.
This madness has to STOP! I need to embrace the process or the whole story will unravel like a cheap rug.