Sunday, March 25, 2012

Novel Inspirations Deux

Yet another confession: I tend to write plot-driven rather than character-driven stories. Trying to put more emotion into my characters, I wrote Temptress of Time (which started life as That Other Diane). Well, I lucked out—Ellora’s Cave contracted the book, but required some pretty major revisions.
That worked out great—mainly because Kelli Gwen’s Revisions Rock had me all fired up. Then, in an effort to dig even deeper into my newest characters, I applied Theresa Meyers’ techniques for using backstory effectively.
Chapter One, despite my intentions to avoid an info dump, was just that—too much backstory. Gotta love critique partners for letting you know.
So I took another technique from Theresa and did a little numerology voodoo on my major characters. While I’ve used numerology to pick first names (I practically live in Ellin Dodge’s You Are Your First Name) I hadn’t applied it to a character’s first, middle and last names. Wow! All sorts of possibilities for creating internal and external conflict came forth with layer upon layer of new depths I can add.
Hooked, I did a numerology exercise for a few of my minor characters—first names only because they refuse to tell me any other names they may have. Despite lacking all the analysis, their first names revealed exactly the kinds of people I want them to be!
So I rewrote Chapter One of my Work in Progress—four times so far. Which, of course, meant major revisions to Chapters Two and Three. I have to wonder if Nora Roberts, Allison Brennan and Brenda Novak go through these machinations. I bet their characters flow from mind to page like the truly heroic and villainous people these talented ladies envisioned from line one, page one—even word one!
Now I’m trying to press on to finish the story without polishing the first three chapters as if I’m entering a contest. No insult intended, but finishing the book and making it the best my critique partners and I can make it, is my primary goal. What I’ll learn about my characters will satisfy my pantser soul.
So, as the Devil said to the souls in Hell, “All right, everybody, back on your heads.”
That means, Lady Muse, it’s time for you to get back to work. Lady Muse? Hey, you! Get back here. Right now!

Dee Brice
Erotic Fantasies Where Nothing is Forbidden

This hot cover is from my upcoming romantic suspense. No release date yet, but I'll keep you posted.


Tina Donahue said...

I've found the most difficult thing to convey on the page is deep emotion. When you mine that and it works - wow!! It's magic. But getting to that point is pure murder sometimes.

Great post, Dee! :)

jean hart stewart said...

Enjoyed hearing about all your rewrites.. I was starting to think I was the only one who did so many and still am not satisfied.

Dee Brice said...

Yeah, they say getting there is half the fun… But who the heck are "they" and what do they know?

Rewrites are an integral part of what we do. I'd love to get it right first time through, but do-overs can make it so much better, I've learned to like them. Kinda. lol

Fiona McGier said...

I actually enjoy rewrites. I read the story as if it is someone else's, then I improve it. I do that all of the time anyway! Grin.