How To Write A Novel: Episode 3


At this point in your novel writing career, you’ll have undoubtedly settled on who your story is about. Your main character can be shy, bold, confident, anything you want them to be but there is one thing that they absolutely must be and that is memorable. Think of the great books that you’ve read, it’s often the case that you can’t recall exactly what happened in the plot but readers never forget who a book was about.

Your job is to ensure your character is original and exciting enough to be absorbing, even if they’re doing something as mundane as eating a packet of crisps. If you’re not convinced a scene about crisp eating can be riveting, read Ian McEwan’s Solar.

To get started, try out a simple writing exercise. Have your character tip out their pockets or their handbag. What items fall across the table? Do any of these items have a story to tell? How did your character come by them?

A simple exercise like this can open the doors of your character to you. Remember your character’s actions depend not only on who they are but also how they’d like to be and where they’d like to end up in life. They’re no different than us in this, and like us, depending on the situation, one of these drives will take precedence over the other.

Think of how our character views their setting. An archaeologist might look on a landscape with very different eyes than an architect. Think of how they might react in scenes of confrontation. Do they jump in, or do they back off? Consider deeply how a character views the world you’ve created, with every scene and you’ll soon have a three dimensional protagonist taking over your story.

Happy Writing!

Follow me on Twitter: @LivKiernan


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