Monday, January 23, 2012

Plan B

My plan for the beginning of 2012 was to begin writing the first draft of a new YA novel. I'll call this Plan A. I had already written the first 1000 words or so and two friends read and critiqued it for me recently. They spotted some areas that needed improvement and I'm grateful for their keen eyes and brains. As I read their comments, I realized that instead of just writing without a direction I needed to step back and plan a bit. I don't need a detailed outline but I'm definitely NOT a pantser.

This leads me to Plan B. I want the strength of this story to be in two areas: the relationship between my MC, Jude, and her sister, and the relationship between Jude and her two best friends. To do this I want to really ponder the personalities of these five characters before diving into the plot. I believe that the story will come to life if my characters are well formed with their own distinct voices. To do that I need to spend time getting to know each character, and so for the first time I'm going to try some character exercises and go from there. Seems pretty obvious doesn't it?

I'd like to thank all of you who took the time to comment on my previous post. Your support, ideas, and encouragement have lifted my spirits and given me hope that I can work through this. Once I have a mini profile on each of these characters, I'm going to use Cloudpic's suggestion of using my senses to bring these characters to life.

And if this doesn't work. I'll try Plan C...once I figure out what Plan C actually is :P

How do you bring your characters to life?


  1. I tend to just jump in. But I also tend to add in layers of story and character as I re-draft (and I can re-draft a lot), so my characters come to life as I go along... I hope. I've never considered whether this is the best way to write, but if I try to plan I get bored and start procrastinating - not a good way to START a new project.

  2. Good luck!

    Like Annalisa, I tend to jump in. Sometimes I will write future scenes or flashbacks--I had two characters who I needed to get to know recently, and I wrote about seventy pages of flashbacks. O_o I wasn't sure if I'd even be using them, but it helped me so immensely in getting to know who these characters were and where they were coming from.

  3. It's great to have a plan. :) I usually have at least my main characters pretty clear in my head when I start writing.

  4. Whichever plan you follow, you'll still end up spending time with these characters in your head and getting to know them. So even if things take longer than you're hoping, it's not like it'll be time poorly spent.

    Good luck!

  5. Sounds like a plan. :) (Or, um, three plans!)

    No, this sounds great to me. You're doing your homework. My characters usually live in my mind for awhile before I try to write them, but attempting it this way means lots of rewrites later on. It's probably better to do the planning beforehand if you work best that way. :)

    Best of luck!

  6. Do whatever feels right, Suz. There is no right or wrong way to write - just a good and a bad way!

  7. I'm facing this issue right now. The MC in my new novel has no personality. Must fix that! And not really sure how just yet.

  8. I let my characters define themselves as I develop the story. I give them a name, face, and a status. Then I watch them grow and fill out as I write the story. Some are more aggressive than others and they jostle for "face time" with me.