I’m really struggling with my novel now. At the beginning of November I was getting my daily 2 000 words done by lunchtime. Over the last two weeks my writing slot has gradually slipped back till 6-8pm, then 8-10pm and finally last night 10.30 till 11.45. What am I doing? Up until the end of September I was working full time, dreaming of when I would be finished with the day job and able to concentrate on my writing. If I’m only going to write in the evenings, I might as well still be working during the day.
The reason I keep putting off the moment when I have to sit down and write is that I don’t really know who my characters are. I thought I did; I know their dates of birth, eye colour, family history etc, but it turns out that I don’t have a clue how they think. I find myself writing what I think they should think, which is boring. No surprises, nothing to make me want to turn the page, so why would a reader want to turn the page?
In a back issue of Mslexia I found a writing exercise designed to help you understand your characters better. It involves accessing your subconscious then putting questions to your characters and writing down their responses. I will have to wait till tomorrow morning to try it since you are supposed to be somewhere between sleep and wakefulness when you do it. Thankfully, I’m usually in this state until about lunch time so I will have plenty of opportunity to get to know all of my five narrating characters.