I've learned when writing I enjoy my words more when I don't treat any of my characters as the Antagonist. I think the story flows better when each POV is written as though they are who the story is about.
Some of my characters are nasty, brutal and can commit rather villainous acts but none of them are villains. They each have their reasons for doing what they do, no matter how misguided those actions may be.
I used to write villains. Now I write people.
Today was a good day. One of those rare epiphany moments that can suddenly take a ten thousand year timeline and tweak something that I first thought of as a kid, something that's always been there in a small way...and blow everything wide open. So much to think through and plot into the ten thousand year timeline.
One of those causes kingdoms to rise and fall things, planets get ripped apart kind of things. Excited. And best of all fits perfectly into my WIP, which already contains that first moment when it all begins.
Love days like today.
When I write a draft of a novel I start at the beginning and write the book in sequential order straight through to the end. I don't hop around different sections of the story and try and piece them together later.
With this current WIP, however, I'm beginning to think that I need to write chunks at a time of the happenings of each of the main POV characters rather than in order. I really need to immerse myself in certain sections where I need to infuse culture/worldbuilding stuff in and my mind works better sometimes if I stay in one place in the world I'm writing about rather than jumping away too quickly to elsewhere.
My biggest worry in trying this is losing the buildup/payoff that comes easier when I write in order. But I suppose that's what rewrites are for.
-Didn't read enough.
-Didn't write enough.
-Worked too much.
-Played too little.
That about sums it up.
Overall though, the year is ending nicely. I've read and written more in the last two months of the year than the other 10 combined. Already making the changes I want to make for a more fulfilling year.
Reading-wise the new year will begin as it ends: reading the entire Wheel Of Time series. Almost finished with Book 2. Going to try and read 1 book a week but not sure if I can keep that pace up with work demands.
Writing-wise the new year will begin as it ends: working on this damned book that first popped into my head while sitting bored in math class back in Junior High School (too many years ago to care to remember). A drive from New York to North Carolina and back gave me plenty of plot-solving time to work through some things. A sentence spoken by one secondary character to another secondary character opened wide a missing sub-plot/long multi-book story arc I've been floundering with so that was a nice year end gift to myself.
Looking forward to 2013.
I've been thinking quite a bit lately about character backstory and how it can help shape how the writer presents a character and how the reader feeds off that. In particular I've been thinking about Aragorm from the Lord of the Rings. Aragorn remains one of my absolute favorite Fantasy characters. He's a person who ends up with a very different life than he had when we first meet him. And he's someone who suffered and lost so much along the way.
When I was young I didn't realize just how dark a past Aragorn actually has. While Tolkien never really delved into it, once he ventured out from Rivendell Aragorn spent many decades living in a very dark and brutal world. If you really stopped and thought about it Aragorn has probably done some pretty nasty things along the way. I wonder how many Bill Ferny's might be buried in shallow graves across Arnor. While it might be easy to say Aragorn's nobility and sense of honor might keep him from such actions it wouldn't surprise me to find out Aragorn and the Dunedain were brutal and merciless when the need called for it in protecting west of the Anduin or the Misty Mountains.
Considering Tolkien had originally planned to have Aragorn kill Boromir in single combat it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to imagine him having to take similar distasteful actions.
It speaks to Aragorn's strength of character that he could come through all he endured without too much damage.
As I continue writing I realize I need to tell the next scene from the viewpoint of a particular knight. I created this character so many years ago while sitting in math class back in junior high school. And in all of those years I've only known him through the eyes of his son (who is one of the main viewpoint characters in the story I'm working on).
This man is the first knight of this particular realm (and has lived a very long time) so he is the standard bearer in their society of what a knight is. And yet I now have to discover who this man is. How his mind works. What does he notice? What burdens does he bear? How has bearing the responsibility for the safety of his lord worn on him through all of the countless ages?
I have a feeling I'm going to do quite a few rewrites but at least I know the scene that needs to take place so I have a concrete starting point in terms of what needs to happen in this scene.
It seems a bit odd, even to myself, that in all of these years I've never crawled inside his head. I wonder what I'm going to find in there.
Note to self: Next time I kill a character in the opening chapter that character shall remain dead. Having to eliminate a death scene for a secondary character and weave him back into the entire opening movement of a novel is quite an undertaking. It isn't just throwing mentions of him into chapters. He may be secondary but he is important to one of the main characters and plays a key role. And having him there changes the role of another secondary character who would have had to take up his mantle. Which changes the role of another secondary character...etc. Not to mention how it directly impacts the mindset of the main characters.
While I am still working through the opening, which requires much more of an extensive rewrite now that a character who died in the opening chapter doesn't die, my mind is already reaching ahead to the Middle of the Book. In-between the actually writing, which is going slowly weaving a character into scenes he originally wasn't in, plot thoughts keep bubbling up to the surface for one group of characters who all end up together far from the main action. Lots of ideas coming. This is going to be interesting because there is a very good chance that when I actually get to write the middle chapters the ideas I have now may be tossed aside for whatever my brain might spring upon me then.
No matter how many great ideas I have in the planning stages so many things can change during the actual writing stage. I think a large part has to do with the characters themselves being active in the written word where their personalities will end up directly influencing the events that take place. Right now I really like this whole subplot I'm developing. Until I get to actually writing it I won't know if my characters will like it.