This is so typical of me.
I am at a brief pause in my writing because (as I talked about in my previous post) I am designing Morris’ home. It’s an important set in my novel and one I will be returning to for other scenes; so I want it to be right.
I don’t think I give an awful lot of thought to setting. And by setting I don’t mean generic cafes or pubs or schools; they don’t need a lot of thought. I’m not talking either of landmarks or beaches or anything that could be considered universally seen, as it were; places that don’t need invention.
I’m talking about homes; where our characters lay their heads at night. This book is very much about home and family and so home needs a certain amount of thought. In my previous novel the sets were just there; they served their purpose; I say that as if I gave them no thought at all… I must have seen the sets in my head, or else they wouldn’t be described as they have been; but I don’t remember really thinking in depth about any particular space that a character would inhabit and by inhabit I mean fill with their stuff!
I actually drew a picture of Crystal’s house as a blueprint so that I could see where she ate and did her homework etc. It was important to me to get that right. I sort of used my parent’s house as a footprint for that blueprint (two lots of prints there!) and I’m happy with it. I think that drawing ended up in the bin, but I just needed to visualise it.
That’s why I’m having trouble at the moment; I can’t see Morris’ home. I can see parts of it, some bits of furniture and I know what the entrance looks like; but I can’t see all of it. Perhaps I will do another drawing…
Fellow writers, how much thought goes into your sets?
I’m very aware too of other subterranean homes; The Hobbit is in my mind as well as The Wind In The Willows. I have a beautiful WITW (if ever there was a time to abbreviate it’s now) book that I brought back from a trip to London with Val; it weighed a ton but I had to have it. The illustrations are amazing. And I just need to make sure that no imagery is hovering from these books. I don’t want to inadvertently copy.
Anyway, what I was going to talk about was this (which is so typical of me). I am supposed to be creating a home for Morris. I even started making notes before my shift in work yesterday. I was at the canteen table with my tea and I was scribbling away on what Morris’ home would be like.
I got a few good points down (yay!) but not enough.
However, today whilst driving home…
I often have ideas whilst driving. Sometimes very complex story points or images come to me when I’m in the car. Of course I’m always in control and driving safely (Mam and Dad if you’re reading!) but I find that ideas come to you easily when you are doing something else.
It’s like when you’re chatting to your friends and having a good catch up; the conversation always flows better when you are doing something else; like cooking, or drinking…
Today saw the invention, or rather the clarification of the end of a character.
I know what happens to these people passed this story; and if I am lucky to get this published and am given the opportunity to write the rest of this series, you will too. I always knew where this particular character would end up; but now I know how.
And actually, I cried. Sad as that may be to admit, when I finished writing it in my notes on my iPhone, I cried.
This has got to be a good thing! I cannot wait to write it.
I write my books in chronological order. For me, I can’t get around the idea of writing the last chapter first. I like to experience the complexities of a story with its complex characters. So now, for this character, I have an end. It is an end I can write to and really, what is a story if not a means to an end?
It’s always easier for me to think of the beginning and the end of a book. It’s the middle I find more difficult; I think it’s a little different for characters.
Sometimes you can create a character like say a school bully, for which you can just say very broadly, that she is a bully and she will get her comeuppance in the end. That’s an arc for that character that they will follow.
It’s a little different again for main characters because they are the people that you are with on this adventure. You are experiencing everything with them and you get to know them. These characters may not have an ‘end’ because their journey ends when the whole story does.
There are characters that are in a book to serve a purpose (like the bully) and there are characters that have a purpose; two different things. This character has a very definite purpose and now their story has a conclusion. It is their end.
It’s odd writing a character out of a story before the story reaches its end. Odd and incredibly satisfying and exhilarating!
And when you have a story that moves through several books, characters and plots go on quite the journey; and you with them. The end for that person has to be good. It’s their punchline.
And so as I sit at my desk on this fine but cold February day, one character has an end.
It might take me a while to get there, but I really hope I do. And I really hope you get to experience it too.
I hope I make you cry.