Thursday, March 17, 2011

Walker Novel 2 & Characters & Donald Maass

Writing the Breakout NovelAs I worked on the KPP2 of Novel 2, I realized I never posted the revised KPP1. I'll have to rectify that this week.  The major changes in both key points dealt with changing characters.  The Wonder Twins, though I love them, are removed from Novel 2.  Why?  Because as I worked on the outline, I realized they didn't have a recurring role in that novel.  It hurts, but they didn't . . . fit.  Sad, but true.  Just like in real life, huh?  Sometimes you spend less time with certain friends because they just don't fit into your life anymore.  By removing them, I strengthened the relationship between Walker and Maha, his desired lover.

Same in KPP2.  Instead of Smiley, Walker's out-of-place, off-reality friend, it is Maha's voice he hears.  That make his understandable hatred of her after his rescue that much stronger.  Doesn't make it any more reasonable.  But it's there.  He's not very reasonable in that world.  Hard to be reasonable when you are a walking wound, hurting.  But, also, removing Smiley here meant removing him from KPP1--so that happened too.  I think it helped strengthen Coustin Bustis's role in Walker's life because she is a minor character that is seen across several novels--a little bit in Novel 1, more in Novel 2, somewhat in Novel 3.  I like her, too, because like her cousin, Walker's wife, she is provides levity through her sexual attraction, joking with, and baiting of Walker.  Also, she is a kinder version of Walker's wife, although that makes her a tad less fun.

The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction WritersI made all these changes on characters before I started really re-reading Donald Maass's books.  He believes in complex relationships in novels.  That is, characters who have more than one role in the main character's life.  He says these are the "most absorbing" ones in novels.  To that end, he suggests combining characters.  When I first read that long ago and took his advice, it really changed how created characters.  It made them so much richer. Unconsciously, I still try to do that today.

Speaking of Donald Maass. Did you know he has a new book coming out? I bought it and another book I had been eyeballing (a sequel to Martin Lindstrom's Buology, which I adore).  I used my membership, a gift card I had earned from B&N 1, and online coupon.  Except for a few cents, the gift card covered the entire cost.  Don't you love it when you and a book are meant to be?  It's is supposed to ship in a few days--that is another reason why, if I can, I order books from B&N.  Their freebie shipping?  They don't punish you by adding an extra two weeks to the delivery time; rather they try to get to you fast!  Unlike some other online *cough* Amazon *cough* venues I could name.

1 Note: I have B&N's credit card, and love it.  It means free gift cards after 2500 points from non-B&N purchases.  But using it to make B&N purchases has benefits too--a discount of . . . I can't remember.  It's not much, but it usually comes close to matching the s&h fee or the sales tax, so I'm happy.


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