Things have been pretty quiet this week. Neon Lights & Green Fire is getting some good number of reads (all things considered) but although it could do with a bit of a push, my real focus this week has been the novel.
When I was younger, I used to love the actual process of writing, but in recent years I’ve found that I much prefer to have written. However, as this revision takes me away from redrafts into some new scenes I’ve found I’m really enjoying myself.
Part of the joy is that this novel is unmistakably its own beast. A combination of tone, style and worldbuilding (amongst other things) are giving this novel a unique ‘soul’. I’ve written some stories that whilst writing them have either been mash ups or my take on some classic story. This doesn’t feel like that.
The characters are progressing nicely. Cassidy, my fallen angel, seems to be getting a bit of early back story, and I like that the character’s identity has matured enough in my head that they’re starting to do their own thing. In Cassidy’s case, it’s back story of the person whose body she possessed. This means a trip to Swindon for some of my protagonists.
I have minor worries over Maureen, my little old lady. She’s been quite grief-stricken and vulnerable, and only now as she moves into the anger stage of grief, are we starting to really get to know her. I’m having fun with it, but wonder if it needs a bit more set up. I’m trying not to worry about it. These things can be sorted in a revision.
Then there’s Darwin my half-vampire. He’s always been the most developed of all the characters so there’s been little he’s done to either impress or disappoint this week.
One of the things I’m really toying with is giving the characters some really negative traits. Heroes need to be flawed, but I want to take it one step further, giving them traits that you are less willing to forgive. For example, Maureen has lived her life on her own for many years and I want to make her quite selfish in some scenes – enough that you really disapprove, but not enough so you hate her. I think my characters are pretty three dimensional as it is, but I think this will really give them a bit more depth.
In terms of story, well this week I’ve had minibuses running over Cephalopod creatures, a nightclub in the fantasy realm, a sweary leprechaun and a elven rent boy who may or may not be a spy. It’s elements like this that make me think “No publisher will ever pick up this novel, it’s too bat shit crazy” and then smile. Because after all is said and done, I’ve actually really enjoyed writing this week, to the extend that I’m very happy with the way things are going (even if I’ve passed my self-imposed 31st July deadline and am still miles away from completion).
At the end of the day, I guess that’s the most important thing – is to have fun writing – because in all seriousness I can’t second guess the market and what publishers will be picking up in six months time. Hand on heart, all joking aside, I do think this is a really commercial novel but I can’t guarantee people will share that view.