Why my novel is so bloody special

11 February, 2010

As promised in my previous entry, here is a little about my current novel project.

1) It’s in a popular genre. This is partly because of commercial considerations, and partly because I found a way to get my own obsessions and viewpoints into the main character and the story. I’m slightly worried, however, that this genre may suddenly become unpopular due to media glut.

2) It’s set in the present day, in my home town. I’ve had previous projects stall due to becoming bogged down in research. I really like the idea of evoking another time and place, but the prep work takes a lot of time and energy that could go to working on the actual book. So I decided to take the easy way, even though “mundane” settings don’t have great appeal for me. Of course, as I’ve realised, what is mundane to me may be exotic and interesting to others. I’ve also decided that, if I encounter something that requires research taking any great length of time, I will just make it up. To Hell with accuracy!

3) Because, as noted above, the main character embodies my own views and feelings, this story is in fact rather fucked up. Can I get readers to not only sympathise but empathise with a self-pitying, misanthropic, occasionally brutal, protagonist?

4) I’ve always like writing fractured narratives, and couldn’t restrain myself this time around. The novel tells two different stories in two different times, joined by the same main character in both. I hope each strand will cast the other in a more interesting light, and perhaps create the illusion of narrative complexity! It should also help to conceal some structural issues which are niggling at me, but which seem to defy solution.

5) There is no heavy swearing in my book. There are a couple of characters you might expect to swear a lot, but they only appear in a few scenes, and I think heavy swearing in only a few scenes would seem incongruous and make the book feel unbalanced.

6) I am currently stuck in chapter 6. The character is in a library doing research, which doesn’t make for a very dynamic scene. I know, objectively, that I should have something interesting going on here at the same time, but I imagined this scene as a kind of peaceful interlude. There are a couple of minor characters present, but I don’t know what my protagonist can say to them that would be engaging. After this scene, my protagonist is stalked in the park by a figure from their past, which has a lot more dramatic potential.

7) Okay, I confess: it’s a horror novel. Okay, okay, you beat it out of me – it’s a vampire novel, Oh, the shame! Oh, the people who will want to stomp anything with even the faintest resemblance to Twilight! But it’s what I want to write, and I think that, if I actually get it done, people will like it.

I think my next post will deal even more specifically with the task of putting words down on “paper”.


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