Everything is working quite well on the trilogy mentioned earlier and I really like the characters, both the good ones and the bad ones. It’s surprising sometimes how a bad character will come to life, often quite unexpectedly, and then just how much fun they can be to write. The complexities of character development can make both good and bad characters difficult to make real and that’s where writers sometimes go astray, but the reality with fiction is that with most characterization there are really just three types of characters. Obviously, the main characters, protagonist and antagonist however many there are or might be, have to be fully rounded and fleshed out with subtly to them and considerable depth including tics, mannerisms, etc. The other two types are necessary for reality. Walk-on characters are those that are necessary to make scenes true and real, whether one is writing historical fiction or science fiction ad they generally interact with the main characters or at least are hears in some way. They walk in and out of scenes and usually have names, though one has to be careful with too many named characters or the reader won’t know who is actually important and who to pay attention too – at least initially when opening the book up. They are the waitresses interrupting the action at the table and taking orders that make a restaurant a restaurant, the librarians waving a finger and shushing in the library, the characters – whoever they might be – that somehow come into contact with the major ones and then interact with them in some way. This would be the waitress that talks to a major charter on more than one occasion, for example. Last, and certainly important to setting, are what I refer to as the cardboard characters. They are the ones who are nameless and in the background but vital to setting or moving the story along in some way. The people walking in and out and eating in the restaurant (so it’s a restaurant and not a bus station, for example). They are nameless but quite vital to the realization of the scene, the ones who drop the glasses/call out the orders/greet customers, brush past/etc. the people in the restaurant so it feels/looks/sounds real. Deep breath. Back to the manuscript.
Working on book two of the trilogy and have 100 plus pages done as well as a pretty good working outline. Also have a lot of additional scenes roughed out that are not as yet incorporated, so overall book two is about half done to the completion of a reasonably clean first draft. Out of necessity, I am doing a little work on book three too, as all three books fold into each other to make the trilogy work. A reader should be able to read any of the three first and then read the others.
Most days the writing is fun but occasionally it is more mechanical arrangement than creative process and while I like that too, the creativity part is obviously my favorite. A good writer has to be able to do both and do them well, among about a thousand other things. Back to the manuscript.
My line edits are back, so I’m back to work on a book in my trilogy. It’s a long weekend, so I’m working hard and hope to having the package ready for my agent before Tuesday.
However, here in San Antonio, things are a little different sometimes, especially for those of us who live on acreage in the country. We are also a small bed and breakfast (Bella-Green) here and have two kinds of deer, as well as the occasional javelina, fox, bobcat, coyotes, etc. which is really no big deal. That said, we have a young couple from Austin staying with us for the next three days from Austin, which is not too far away. I’m sitting at my desk, diligently working on final rewrite/corrections and when I reached 200 pages, halfway through the manuscript, I decided to stop and check on our guests.
He met me as I opened the back door, iPhone in hand, literally texting me right that moment that there was a tarantula on our back door (the one I am now standing in as I talk to him). I look the door over – nothing. I look inside, thinking maybe it fell into the house – nothing. Then I look behind the door, inside the house, and bingo! There he is. Sadie, our rescue cockapoo, is cautiously checking him out but not growling yet as she has no idea what the heck a spider that big is. A mason jar, a teflon potholder, and a smooth grab and he’s scooped up and safe to handle. The couple took pictures, but as it was a bit scary to her, I took the tarantula ( a medium-sized one) a couple hundred yards down the road so he will hopefully make new friends and bother someone else. Tarantulas here aren’t really a big deal – we usually see 2-3 a year, sometimes more. He makes the third one so far this year. Just another day in Central Texas.
Back to editing.
This is day one of what will become a blog – well, sort of a blog. I write long fiction and teach so the blogging here won’t be a regular thing as I have a number of serious writing projects underway at this time. However, there are times when I’m not writing and my paper grading will allow updates, and I will endeavor to add here as often as I can.
I plan to include commentary about the writing process and writing information here that might make a very difficult process easier for others trying to write, whether it might be talking about dialogue, what makes setting, planning a novel, pantsing your way through a novel vs. doing a solid outlining, or any of the thousands of things a writer must learn in order to write well. And how and what we do is different for all of us – trust me, I know.
So if there should appear anything you find interesting or which helps your own writing in any way, please do comment. I really want to hear from you, good or bad. Really.
Those of us who feel compelled to write spend a lot of our time sitting alone at desks moving in and out of make believe worlds, and we all sometimes forget writing is a community and writers need to communicate with each other. It’s what makes us better writers and it keeps us sane. Mostly.
From Chuck Wendig, a most irreverent writer of really odd and well-written fiction:
Hi! I’m a fiction writer and English professor in the Texas hill country near San Antonio and much of what I write about is set inTexas, including my historical saga trilogy, RAIN, LOOKING FOR SHOES, and LEGACY. I’m also working on a multitude of projects, including a middle grade historical series, a number of stand-alone books, and a possible play. My novel, THE SISTERS OF IMMACULATE SILENCE as well as the first in the trilogy, RAIN, are with my agent at this time.
This area around San Antonio is an unbelievably beautiful place to live and write, and our bed and breakfast (www.bella-green.com) is a perfect place for anyone needing a writing retreat and help with the development of writing projects. Come and write or come for help at whatever level you need.
I share this amazing place and ten acres with fantastic fifty-mile plus views with my equally amazing wife, Karen, also a teacher, and our rescue dog, Sadie. I teach English at one of San Antonio’s universities and write primarily historical fiction.