writing

Writing Wednesday: Character Interviews Help Fill Gaps

Goals from last week: Still on schedule with three blog posts, and back-to-market rotations on returned stories.

Only 518 words of fiction – the usual productivity shutdown that occurs with the holidays (coupled with the tedious nature of revising Swordsmaster) resulted in a very disappointing week of writing, despite putting time in on five separate days. This week is the last chance I will have to finish the year on an upswing – it will take me almost 5,000 words to have the best yearly average ever, which doesn’t seem likely, but we shall see…

I will post the results of 2017 and my new 2018 goals next Writing Wednesday. And, as always, I encourage all you writers out there to post yours, as well – it really does help.

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When I’m first writing a story, the main characters are already in my mind, and maybe some minor characters as well, but many of the persons who people my fiction arrive only to serve some portion of the plot, and are never heard from again. This isn’t really a problem for short fiction (which is all I’ve been writing until Swordsmaster) – generally, there isn’t time for those incidental characters to reappear – the story is too short for that.

The novel is different.

As I’ve been making this exceedingly slow pass through Swordsmaster, I’ve been interspersing actual revision and rewriting with character interviews (I’ve never done character interviews before, so I didn’t when I wrote the rough draft for Swordsmaster.) As I begin reworking a section or a scene where one or more characters make their first appearance, I stop to do interviews with all the “new” characters. The interview is informed by what I already know the character will do in the story, but also by additional pieces of information that surface as I increase the level of detail (more towns or villages surface to fill empty space on the map, another character’s interview reveals “new” history that this next character may have been involved in or affected by.)

So, with more words and a longer story, there is every reason and opportunity for an incidental character such as Daryn Redfern to resurface throughout the story as a “regular.” He currently only appears in one scene when Saandrik first arrives in Tarlenon, but they will live in the same city for a couple of years before Saandrik resumes his travels away from and back to Tarlenon, and there’s no reason that Daryn can’t also become a member of the Guard when they’re both older – he would be more interesting and familiar to the reader than a cardboard cutout character with no past. And that would make Daryn someone else to actually care about.

Swordsmaster is just over 64,000 words now, and I’m only 15,000 words into this revision. There’s going to be a lot of stopping and starting as more characters enter the story, and more words and intertwining as I have to forward-and-back-fill their lives where they’ll fit in the plot.

And this is just the latest revision, NOT the final draft. There seems to be no end to my ability to underestimate the amount of work – the number of revisions and rewrites it will take – to finally finish Swordsmaster. I had it in my head that I would be making a pass to add details, and that as I left each page, it would be close to its finished state. Well, that would mean engaging my internal editor, but the revisions that I need still require that I set that editor aside. I am learning through personal experience that it is still not yet time to find the perfect words – I am still building the bones of the story on which I will later layer on the flesh. I thought this might be a fifty-fifty proposition (storyteller-vs-editor), but I’m thinking now that it’s more like ninety-ten. I have a lot further to go with Swordsmaster than I had been thinking – I’ll need to keep this front of mind when I set my 2018 goals.

Just saying…

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At the last minute (or at least one of the middle ones), I’ve enrolled some of my books in the Smashwords EOY Sale (basically, anything that was more than 99-cents is now 50% – 75% off. You can find my books on Smashwords with this link:   https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink

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Well, Christmas is over, and I’m done pushing “Sleep with the Snowmen” (as further evidence that 1) Free doesn’t work, and 2) My marketing skills are lacking, I was only able to give away SIX copies, and nary a review among them, to boot. I will have to find a way to remedy this.

Meantime, I have a couple of weeks before I should release my next ePub if I’m going to maintain my schedule from 2017 – need to pick the next story and get it formatted.

 

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SleepWithTheSnowmenCoverWilliam Mangieri’s writing – including his latest ePublication “Sleep with the Snowmen” – can be found in many places, including:
• Smashwords:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page:  http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
• Createspace (if you prefer physical books):  https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=william+mangieri&sitesearch_type=STORE
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress:  https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at:  http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri

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