Sunday, 22 April 2012
Who's driving whom?
It's no secret that Blackbrooke is part one of a trilogy. A trilogy I planned, albeit loosely, and wasted no time getting to work on the second book as soon as I'd finished the first. The word count got to about 40,000 and I stopped.
You see, when I wrote my chick-lit novel Driving Exile, I loved that I could let the characters take the reader by the hand and guide them in whatever direction they chose. The back story surrounding Driving Exile was very simple as it really was all about the characters, whom I still love dearly. They without a doubt drove the story from beginning to end.
I approached Blackbrooke Part Two in this way, after all, the readers knew the characters already from the first book. They want to be on the journey with them as they grow and develop, don't they? Well, of course they do. Only, I'm not writing a story about a girl who goes on the road with a rock band now, instead I'm concocting (what I hope is) a clever horror for young adults that has more layers than a gypsy wedding cake.
Getting the back story right and ensuring there are no glaring holes in the plot is essential for me to pull it off. So now, I have a different situation whereby the plot is what drives the story, not the characters. Instead, I have to get the plot water-tight and then think about how my characters will react to what's going on around them.
It's challenging as I'm a writer who loves to discuss relationship dynamics and explore interaction between characters but I just don't think I can afford to mould the plot to suit character development. So, I now have to resist the urge to get back in front of my computer and keep typing and instead take a step back and write the Blackbrooke back-story as well as explanations into why things are the way they are in this fictional town.
I'm then going to pass this back-story onto my lovely friends (aka story editors) and have them play devil's advocate and pick holes in it to challenge me and make me address any issues before I develop the story.
It's frustrating because it feels like such a slow process but it'll be worth it in the long run. I was commenting that I believe the second book of a trilogy is perhaps the most important. Yes, the first one needs to sell it but the second is a real investment for the reader and they want to be bowled off their feet in order to make Book Three an absolute must-read. It can't just be a sandwich book, put in there for the sake of it so I need to get it right.
On a separate note, the Agent Hunger Games is still very much in effect. Of the 18 initial submissions I sent to agents, there are 14 remaining (three rejections, one message failure). Keep your fingers crossed that I get some positive feedback from some very soon. It's getting tiresome thinking of inventive ways to kill the one's who've rejected me. I'm thinking the next one could be death by flying ninja star....
May the odds be...ah, you get the picture.