Although this is a blog about reading books, like 3/4 of the world's population I also have dreams of writing and publishing books as well. As cliché as it sounds, I've been writing since I could hold a pencil. I've never been able to stick with just one genre, although most of my books tend to have a (sort of) supernatural undertone to them. I just restarted a writing project so I've decided to talk about it here.
My freshman year of college I began working on a particular novel. I had a general idea in my head, took down a few notes, and started at it. Six years later, it remains unfinished. I have about nine different versions of it on my computer currently, each of which has been abandoned. My real issue is that I haven't quite managed to "get" the main character. I know the plot, I know the other characters, but I just can't seem to figure out who my main character is.
There are some basics that I know: the fact that she's a woman, her name, what she looks like, and what happens to her during the book. The problem is that everything else has yet to mesh. She's gone from being a 20-something woman fresh out of college to being a young girl (maybe around 12 or 13) to being a junior in college. She's undergone relationship changes, personality changes, career changes. She's been a loner and, in a later incarnation, someone with way too many friends for me to keep up with.
When I restarted the novel a few days ago, I decided to make her on the cusp of thirty working a dead end job after a devastating death in the family caused a nervous breakdown that led to her leaving her career as a journalist. She's single, living in a new city, and has only one true friend there. She's getting a fresh start, which I think is important for the progression of the story.
It's going to be a long process piecing together the best parts of the other versions of this novel but I'm looking forward to it. There was so much of two of the other attempts that I liked that it would be wasteful for me to throw it all away. I like the idea of putting a new skin and muscles on the skeleton that I've already constructed. Who knows? I may get halfway through this version and realize that it's still all wrong, but that's writing for you. It's about knowing what works and what doesn't work and not giving up on something that you believe in just because there's something that doesn't fit. I truly believe in this novel and know that someday it will be finished. It's just going to take some time.
Before anyone asks, no I'm not going to discuss what the novel is about. I've found that, like many writers, I get discouraged after talking to people about my books. Even if they have nothing but good things to say about it, there's still something that I find inherently wrong about letting people into a story too soon. It's just one of my (many) weird quirks, I guess.
I'm one chapter into Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book. Anything that could go wrong did go wrong at work today so I didn't have a lot of time to read. I should have it finished by Tuesday or Wednesday--I have a massive project due on Wednesday that I, oops, haven't started yet--so keep an eye out for my review later this week.