Saturday, 7 June 2008

Characters

Have I got too many in the Novel?

If I feel like I have then maybe it's true. I've just introduced a couple more and I'm feeling that I have to really justify their presence. Maybe it's nothing to worry about too much at this point though (half way through first draft) I'm still just trying to write the story down and see what comes.

I had a lovely conversation with another writer this weekend (he's written two novels, unpublished, and ghost written several others, published). When I said that I had reached the half way point and felt that the rest of the novel was, if not writing itself (I wish!) then at least letting itself be seen - he said he remembered that moment exactly with his most recent novel and had the good fortune for it to happen at a time when he was doing nothing but writing and could easily clock up 6-8,000 words a day! I was very jealous, knowing that I will have to do my best with my two hours / 1,000 words each morning (no let up in work for the forseeable future - financially good news, creatively a bit of a bummer). It did inspire me though.

Is it really June already? Blog has been neglected partly because of work (which recently included a week of fourteen hour days made bearable only by the company of lovely people and a plentiful supply of tasty treats, and I suppose the fact that I love my job really :@))

And then a much needed holiday in Italy visiting family and friends. A gorgeously relaxing week with lots of splashing in the pool, eating amazing food, and meeting several new people with connections both in my present and my past. The latter filled my head with ideas for stories which between the sunshine and the wine I somehow failed to write down. I really must try to make some sense of in the next couple of days before the intensity of it fades.

Holiday included one of those 'perfect moments' that keeps you glowing through the tougher times - cycling round the walls of Lucca, hubby and daughter just ahead on a tandem, the air filled with the scent of jasmine and the sound of church bells. That should keep me going through the next couple of months of work madness at least.

8 comments:

SpiralSkies said...

Work does play havoc with the writing and creativeness. 14 hour days sound hideous and I'm super-impressed that you're getting any writing done at all.

That's pretty awesome, Ms D.

HelenMH said...

Sounds like a wonderful holiday - lucky you.

KAREN said...

Sounds absolutely lovely - just what a lady-writer needs to re-charge her batteries!

I've been guilty of introducing too many characters in my novel - at one point I felt as if I were telling everyone else's story apart from the main character's and had to do a bit of culling!

6-8000 words a day?? Blimey. I need a sit-down :o)

Jumbly Girl said...

Spiral - Thanks. Actually only one of the days was hideous, everything started going wrong at about 9'oclock and by 10.30 in the evening we were all sitting round looking and feeling shell shocked (its OK we only work in telly, nobody died) but after that the rest of the week seemed a doddle

Helen - It was. I'm very lucky to have some very generous relatives who happen to live in a beautiful part of the world (and who are happy to be repaid with, often rainy, weekends in West Yorkshire!)

Karen - That's exactly it - telling too many people's stories, but I feel as though I'm short changing them if I don't give some clues to their current behaviour! Maybe I jsut need to kill a couple fo them off.

Yeah the 6-8,000 words had me stunned too - but apparently he was staying with people who refused to speak to him until he'd written a couple of thousand and once he'd got that far he jsut kept going

Calistro said...

I always thought there was a maximum number of characters for a novel (maybe six or seven) but, reading "Behind the Scenes at the Museum" on holiday, I think I'll have to revise that opinion. Kate Atkinson has TONS of characters. While I'll admit to getting a TAD confused at times it works really well (the characters are ancestors and relatives of the main character). I really recommend it if you want to learn how to handle introducing tons of characters without overly confusing the reader!

Jumbly Girl said...

Calistro - Thanks, I must have a look at that again, I read it a while ago and loved it. One of my fantasies is to have a review of my novel that says 'If you like Kate Atkinson you'll love..." so maybe I've got one thing right!

I had the thought that up to six-seven characters was 'right' for a novel too, but mine now has ten plus numerous children milling around their feet. I have recently made sure that their names all begin with different letters, which I think is helping :o)

Leigh said...

Work is the curse of the drinking classes.

Oh, the dreaded work. I sympathise. I really do. There are very few times when I would like to be filthy rich, but when there's a mad rush of work? That's one of 'em.

Jumbly Girl said...

Leigh - yes - its only recently that I've begun to fantasize about having pots of money and just being able to write all day. I really like my job and its ultra flexible etc but now writing means more to me and I'm resenting the work that's paying to keep me fed and housed while I write. Aaaargh! Suppose I just need to get on with it and stop moaning and count my blessings Pollyanna style :o)