Genesis of a Novel – Part VI – Characters Going Awry

This is the next installment of a series of posts I’ve been writing, following the process of writing a novel from conception through publication and beyond.
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I started pre-writing Misfortune of Vision on July 23, 2016. On August 23, I started actually writing the first scene. Now, a week later, I’m 14,000 words in and going strong! I usually try to give myself a minimum of 2,000 a day. If I miss that, not too bad – I can usually make it up the next day or so. If I have too many misses, though, I have to give myself a stern talking to. Or at least admit that life has gotten the better of me and adjust my expectations.

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One novel I wrote (Call of the Morrigu) fought hard against that 2000 word a day minimum. I had to adjust her to 1000 words a day and be happy with that. Nevertheless, she came through in the end.
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Now that I’m into the ‘meat’ of my novel, my characters are beginning to come to life. Sometimes they come to life in ways I wasn’t counting on. For instance, my main character, Orla, is becoming even more bitter and sarcastic than I had first thought. And Clodagh has some sort of PSTD, probably from a childhood molestation. She also has manifested her gift of the Sight earlier than I had anticipated.
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My antagonist, Declan, has turned into a sympathetic main character in his own right, with his own antagonist. The smith, Trygve, is becoming a great character. First a mentor, teaching Declan some basics of the blacksmithing art, then he becomes the Bad Guy by trying to take Declan’s girl. It’s all becoming much more complex than I had originally planned.
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This is a good thing!
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Even the best planner cannot plan EVERYTHING in their novel. I find it much easier to let the characters speak to me. At one point, I was going to have Declan pull a Jean Val Jean, and steal from a priest who was kind to him. He told me on no uncertain terms that he was not that desperate, thank you very much. The priest was kind and he was honorable… at least for now.
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Yes, this may mean adding scenes, deleting them, adding characters, changing subplots, and maybe even changing part of your main plot. Go with it. Your muse speaks through you and your characters. Go with the flow! Any other cliches I can throw out here? Oh, I know… Let it go!
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More parts:

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I write historical fantasy novels, mostly set in Ireland, and a contemporary romance based on my parents’ 30-year search for true love. Don’t miss information on Celtic myth and history, as well as practical travel planning tips, and hidden places, in my travel books.

More info at Green Dragon Artist :: Home ,

Christy Jackson Nicholas, Author , and

Tirgearr Publishing – Christy Nicholas

Green Dragon Artist Blog

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I am an artist, accountant and author living in western New York, transplanted from Denmark, Michigan, Florida, West Virginia, Pennsylvania (in that order!) I love the beauty of the world and sharing it with others through jewelry, photography, digital painting and writing.

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Posted in History, Writing
14 comments on “Genesis of a Novel – Part VI – Characters Going Awry

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