Saturday, 14 April 2012

Dilemmas and building characters

My first novel, Sign of the Times - already out on Amazon -

No post yesterday, as no time to write.  Made up for it today though - 2215 words, plus 3 minor character plans written. Am feeling good. 
Dilemma 1 - I faced today and faced in my last novel, were do you have to be careful in the use of cliche?  I actually went through the whole of Sign of the Times, taking out as many cliches as I could, after reading somewhere that cliches are over-used and should be avoided at all costs. Do you know what? I now think that is absolute nonsense, particularly with regard to dialogue. We talk in cliches.  My favourite novelists, chick-lit, contemporary, crime authors have their works littered with cliches and particularly the genre of this new work, "intelligent chick lit" (did I just invent that?) needs them.  Without them, it would be too stilted.

Dilemma 2 - is it ok to mention household names to help set the scene, eg Tesco, Coca Cola, etc? Should they be italicised or not? Do you need to ask their permission? Do you need to put TM after a brand.  I've decided no, as long as what you are saying is positive. Would particularly welcome comments on this.

Change - this novel is narrated in the third person and instead of the twelve key characters of Sign of the Times, there is only one. It's very strange after so many in the last novel to have only one. I feel as if I am missing something out.  Yet, as I develop the peripheral characters, I am sure this feeling will abate.

The best bit - writing new characters - whether minor or major.  Today I sketched out and imagined the likes, dislikes, backgrounds and physical appearances of three characters linked to the main character. It was excellent and is so liberating - a literal blank canvas.

Food for thought - my editor and good friend from university, Fi Broon, was very pernickety with me on the point that I could not use certain first names, as people of that age would not have been called the name I had put (this was in Sign of the Times). So, today, when Clive popped into my head, I did what she did last time and checked it out - only 2565th most popular name back in 1965, so he was immediately struck off!

Well, that's it for today - hope you have a great weekend and I'll be back tomorrow. Have a good weekend, Sooz x

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