17 June 2010

Should Nina Swift be written in the Fisrt or Third person?

Today, on WriterInTouch.com, I have posted two versions of the same first chapter from Nina Swift and the Sky God (working title). As I said in a previous blog, I am unsure whether to write the book in the first or third person. Both seem to have as many arguments for as against. Basically, I am too close to the work now to make a rational decision. So I thought I would take it to my readers and put it to the vote.

The first person version of chapter one can be viewed here.

The third person version can be viewed here.

Once you have made up your mind as to which you prefer, you can vote by answering the poll on the left of this page.

Please help a poor confused writer. Perhaps I should wish, ‘Good luck,’ to Nina.

11 June 2010

More about Nina Swift and the SkyGod

I was originally going to write a second Mervyn Bright novel, a sequel to Helium3, but I have been persuaded by my three daughters to have a heroine instead. This fits nicely with a story idea which has been mulling around for a while, which, although still sci-fi/fantasy, is set in earth’s near future so there is a lot more familiarity for the reader.

I’ve also decided to follow the old maxim of writing about what I know, not in terms of subject matter or technical expertise, but in emotional and relational terms. So in many ways Nina’s story will have more of me in it.

Like Mervyn Bright, I have given Nina three companions, because with three you can push each character to the boundaries of friendship and end up with a community. This will not only give the story more opponents – friends being Nina’s first level opposition, but give the whole novel a strong ‘buddy story,’ feel, which I hope will result in lots of fun. There will also be three main opponents who, although linked together in a hierarchy, will also be in opposition to each other, so lots of drama. Now more BOS.

07 June 2010

Summer Mornings

5.00am on summer mornings is a good time to start writing. I can get a good few hours solid writing in before the children wake for breakfast.

The working brief for ‘Nina Swift and the SkyGod,’ is complete: that means I have the story, characters, plot, reveals, and key scenes all mapped out. It has taken several months to get to this point. The first draft is underway, though, I’m still undecided whether to tell the story in the first or third person. What I have decided to do is write the first couple of chapter one drafts in both the first and third person and put them both up on Writers In Touch to see what an audience thinks.

In the light of John Truby’s ideas (see previous posts) I have modified my writing process to be more prescriptive up front and less prescriptive for the first draft, now making the second draft into the expanded scene brief. So, in brief, the process goes something like this:
· Story ideas & characters
· Opponent’s and protagonist’s motivations, needs, and desires
· Character and opponents’ conflict patterns
· Major reveals and reversals
· Scene brief
· First draft
· Second draft as the expanded scene brief
· Third draft
My aim this time is to have no more than three drafts of the entire novel, rather than the six drafts that I had for Helium3, and to complete it all by the end of the year.

It has been a while since I embarked on the writing of a novel. Since then I have learned an incredible amount about the crafts of writing and story telling. I am really excited about this new novel. All that is required now to make it work is plenty of BOS (Bum On Seat) – in other words, hard graft.

I shall be making the most of the light mornings that remain to me to get well into the early drafts.