Friday, March 24, 2006


I've been thinking about the novel I've been working on, and I think I've finally put my finger on what's been bothering me about the tone of the book. In looking back, all of the memorable characters I've created have been funny. More precisely, they've had a very dry sense of humor, and that's come through in the writing. I'm not saying that I write slapstick or even comedy -- I don't -- but all of the characters that I've truly liked have been able to look at the world and find something ironic or humorous to say about it. In my current story, I've tried to take a very serious approach to the tale. That comes about originally because one of the main sub-themes in the book was going to be that the protagonist (a teenager) would basically have to prostitute herself to make her escape from the world she's on. That's a serious subject, and really isn't something to be kidding around with. So, I've been trying to emphasize the tragic nature of the protagonist, one way to increase the dramatic tension in the story.

There's nothing wrong with this, and it can work quite well -- but it's not me. Yes, I can write okay stories in this mode, but they aren't what I consider to be my best work. I think the reason I haven't been as pleased with the plot so far is that I've cast the character with the wrong personality. Yes, she's a reluctant revolutionary. Yes, she is a natural leader whether she wants to admit or not. Yes, she's had a hard life. But she can still maintain a sense of humor about it! Some of the best scenes I've written so far have had that humor come through -- but it was inappropriate for the character I'd been developing. I found myself having to write scenes where she says (essentially), "I can't believe I actually said that!" Ya think she's trying to tell me something? : )

So that's definitely going into the next re-write. As most of you know, I've never tried to write a novel before, only short stories. One thing you gotta say for short stories: It's a heck of a lot easier to make major changes like this!

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