Friday, April 3, 2015

Adding OOMPH! :)

When I read books by other local writers, I sometimes find myself wishing their characters worked harder, that their people supported the story more, or advanced the plot. I wanted them to give me something to root for.

It made me wonder how my crew really holds up.

I recently received some editorial comments that pretty much answered my question. My guys need to work harder, too.

Some of my problems stem from my own personality style, which is non-confrontational. I spend a great deal of time tiptoeing around other people’s sensibilities. Works well enough for real life, but not so much for a novel.

I’m not great at supplying enough of the fine details that Sue Grafton might provide. I’m not a natural-born shopper and dropping name brands will never come easy for me.

As for physical characteristics, I thought I at least had my foot in the door. I supplied hair and eye color, height and weight, threw in a moustache and a beard, even a cane and a walker. I used direct description and contrasting comparisons. I’m proud to say I only resorted to the mirror trick once. Briefly. Early on.

For personalities I have a fuss budget, an entitled patrician (make that two entitled patricians), a couple of crusty artists, and a whole raft of strong females.

That’s still not quite enough.

With some help, I’ve brain stormed some fixes. Which leaves me thinking about pulling out the really big gun of writing—the outline.

I’ve been going at my writing like a pantser. A pantser is a NaNoWriMo term for someone who writes by the seat of their pants. Works well for some, such as Tony Hillerman. However, I think my time has come to work with some kind of an outline. I have a great deal to contend with mystery wise:

·        Who is the killer?
·        Where is the real painting?
·        Where is the forgery?
·        Who painted what and when?
·        Where’s the romance?
·        Where’s the conflict?
·        How in the world can I tie everything up?

My paid editor, Jane VanVooren Rogers, pointed out the problems as well as the things that worked. Her suggestions were clear and insightful. They have been helpful and, frankly, not all that surprising. I just needed to hear it from someone besides my own wishy-washy internal editor. It was money well spent.

And now it’s time to get back to work.

No comments:

Post a Comment