This novel writing is a slow going business. It seems like I write in fits and starts, but once I get going I keep my fingers moving on the keyboard. Yesterday I had a research breakthrough. I needed some information about Liverpool England as a Port of Departure from 1900 to 1930, and just by pure luck I came upon a treasure trove of information by googling around - or as I like to say mousing around -- both not accepted words according to Bill Gates and Co. Anyway, now I can complete a scene that I've been worrying over for a couple of weeks.
And yes, I'll take the advice of the writing guru I've been reading lately - I'll highlight any information I insert that comes through Google in yellow just to make sure I go back and rewrite it. The last thing I need is to get caught plagiarizing. That would be so easy in these days of the immense amounts of information available on the internet.
I've also done a lot of thinking about my characters. Now I can really understand when an author says such and such a character is a combination of two or three people from his or her life. That is exactly what I've decided to do with several of my characters. Luckily I'm not so far along that it won't be hard to go back and make adjustments.
But, right now my major worry is bringing all I've written to life. As I read through it at this very early point, I find it lifeless - without any oomph. I don't know how to fix that right now. Hopefully, once I have a complete draft and go back through a second or third or fourth time, I'll be able to.
And, if any of you authors out there who are reading this have any suggestions, please, please comment. I'd love your advice.
On the other hand, I'm reading Pat Conroy's latest novel, South of Broad now. In the past I've loved his work. I find his writing is forced in this one - like he's overwriting to try to bring too much "life" into it. His dialogue is too smart and therefore it seems to me too contrived. I don't know any people who behave the way his characters behave in this book. But, I'm determined to keep on reading. Every book good or bad provides lessons for people like me - novice novel writers.
Causes Madeline Sharples Supports
Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, Culver City, CA
Vistamar School, El Segundo, CA
Crossroads School, Santa Monica, CA (Endowment in...