I’ve fast forwarded through some elements of the snowflake method structure and am now planning each scene. This is very useful as I can now see the book taking shape as a reader might experience it. Writing a synopsis was useful, but I have the feeling that apart from giving me the overall shape of the book I don’t need to spend much more time on refining it until I have the book written. Then I can turn it into a selling document.
I also should probably have done some more character work, but I felt that I knew my major characters enough to just go for it, and actually by having to work out their reactions and actions in each scene I am learning a lot more about them.
I really should have mentioned Sussana Clarke as an author who I find inspirational and would like to emulate. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is a fantastic book, as is her short fiction.
I was considering this afternoon whether the authors that I really like are a big influence on my writing or not? I’m not sure at the moment.
Is it good to try to emulate those writers you admire? Or is it better to steer your own course.
If one of your favourite authors was starting out now would there work be the same, or would the plethora of writing tips serve to make their writing more formulaic? I think some of my favourites wouldn’t fit in that well:
Ursula Le Guin
Robert E Howard
Iain M Banks
Out of all of these Dumas is probably the closest to a pulp bestselling author. A lot of writing advice I find tends to concentrate on the tightly plotted thriller that needs to keep the reader turning the pages.
Is this a good or a bad thing?
Here are some photos I took a few weeks ago of St Albans abbey and the gatehouse (built c. 1365). St Albans is the town that I am basing my fictional town of St. Bretts on for Habit for Killing. One thing I found interesting was the mix of building material used for the abbey church. It’s not the large blocks you would expect, but a mix of brick, small stones and larger blocks. I guess because of various rebuilds over the centuries.
I haven’t posted for a while as I have been concentrating on some major changes to Habit for Killing. In fact the story has changed completely from a medieval mystery to a full-on fantasy set in the historical 14th century.
I’ll provide some more details once I have got a bit further with the plot.
In my latest attempts at plotting I have found that looking at listing all the issues at stake for the characters a useful method. So for instance what possible events could happen that make things harder for the lead characters and increase the stake they have in the story. After brainstorming this list I then put them in order of magnitude, so the more minor events first building up to events that increase the pressure on the characters the most. An this pretty much gave me the plot for the second act of the book.
Another tip of his that I used was, as this was now more of a thriller, to look at creating a knock-out ending before working much of the rest of the plot. I think I have a really stunning ending now, that the rest of the plot can work towards. Whereas when I was planning to write a mystery, how the mystery was uncovered was in many ways more important than the ending.