Thursday, January 21, 2010

Welcome, Please Step Into My Novel

I have two more scenes that my agent wants me to write. Two more scenes doesn’t seem like a lot, right? My book is over three hundred pages, so I should be able to write six to eight more pages, but I’ve had major writer’s block this week. It may have to do with the fact that I’ve been grading finals each night until I can’t keep my eyes open. I think I have too many thoughts swimming around in my head.

I was talking to a coworker today about my writer’s block, and mentioned the topics of the scenes my agent wanted me to add. She asked, “What if you bring an outsider into the scene?”

An outside into the scene? Hmmm….I started to think about the idea throughout the day and she was right. Adding a new person to my book would allow someone to look at the situation through new eyes. Suddenly, my writer’s block was gone! I added a scene with my main character’s Uncle. He was technically a main character, he’s mentioned a few times in the book, but this is the first time my reader meets him. This was the perfect scene, because the Uncle commented on stuff that was going on that a reader may not have caught on to.

I’m not advocating adding a bunch of new characters to your book; I know how confusing it can get to add names and then never bring them back. However, I think sometimes a new person (even if they are a stranger) can show your reader how to view your book in a different way. They can pose a question that your main character might have to answer and not want to. They may bring to light an issue that your main character might have been hiding. They can point out flaws, comment on the world around your character or help the reader understand different perspectives.

I tried to come up with “outsiders” that may help drive your story:

*Another student at the school

*Removed family member (grandparent, cousin, aunt or uncle)

*Little kid

*Stranger on a bus




*Sibling of friend





So welcome those party crashers, ease droppers and nosey neighbors into your story…you never know what they might say to shift your reader’s thinking!


Michelle said...

This is such a good idea.

A couple of years ago I was talking with my then eleven year old niece about my MG manuscript. I wanted to pick her brain about the characters, what they did, what they liked, etc. She firmly suggested a new character, a neighbor boy, who I later added. Then he needed a mom, who turned out to be one of my favorite characters, and a real catalyst for the conclusion of the story.

Anabel said...

Wow, this is so funny that you posted this. I've had writer's block too, or how I like to call it muse went AWOL (I even blogged about it). Yesterday I was determined to write something, anything. Well turns out I added a new character out of the blue and not only did it end with my block it has given me so many new ideas and a new direction for the story one I like even better.

Tina said...

Hi, this is an interesting post and idea. I'm writing my second novel now while querying the first with agents. Blogging is great for forming a community of writers isn't it? Hopefully I'll soon join you on the road to publication!