Posted by Lisa Marnell
I'm happy today.
Late last night I finished a first draft of Frozen Rose, my YA novel. Hurrah! I woke feeling a sense of relief.
Over the past six months, I've changed the plot at least five times. I had figured out characters. I had established a setting that was magical to me. Though it should be hard to delve into mid-winter New Hampshire as I write mid-summer in sunny California, I managed. I'll admit to closing the blinds in my study and turning on the air conditioning a few hot afternoons. Being surrounded in my many photographs of New Hampshire mountains certainly helped as well. No, getting into my novel, wasn't ever a challenge, but knowing what my characters were going to do was hard for me.
Deciding that a character will follow one route and not another is something I haven't read much about in writing books on craft. But making choices about the direction for my novel has weighed me down for a long time now. I discovered something. It's easier to have a main character kind of lie, kind of cheat, kind of steal, than to decide on one course of action such as, My main character is a compulsive liar, or My protagonist, when challenged will cheat every time.
In Tethered, Amy's recently released novel - I'm still amazed and blown-away proud - she made choices. Some of them were difficult. But those choices were believable, realistic, and, from a writerly point of view, raised the stakes. Her choices made her novel the gripping and emotional story that it is.
In deciding which direction to take with my YA novel, there was one bit of advice, some wise words I copied and taped above my laptop. My mini-poster reads:
Words to live by, writers!
Oh, I'm pleased.