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Welcome to The Writing Process I.
In preparation for the upcoming release of The Sin of His Father, I’d like to share some insights into the process I followed in writing this novel.
My hope is, of course, to arouse some interest in the book—but also to offer suggestions to those of you who are writing books or short stories of your own, or who are considering jumping into the world of the writer.
I thought I’d begin with character development. There are many ways to approach this important step in writing a novel. In writing Winter is Past, I did nothing in way of preparation. I just sat down and wrote.
I suppose, subconsciously, the protagonist, Claire, became something of an alter-ego. Like me, she had a kidney transplant. She worked as a hospice physician—while I was hospice nurse. Likewise, her husband, Josh, bore many characteristics of my husband—a nurturer, a gourmet cook, a gardener.
There was a problem, however: both characters fell flat—Josh, scrubbed clean of flaws and Claire, weak and unsympathetic. It took a lot of insightful critique, offered by my writing buddies, as well as numerous rewrites, to achieve any depth.
In retrospect, I wish I had done it all differently. I wish I had planned, outlined. I can’t begin to imagine how much time I could have saved, how many edits and rewrites I could have avoided.
As I began the process of outlining The Sin of His Father I chose a much different approach to my characters. To begin with, I “created” a male protagonist—a bit daring for a woman, someone who had no brothers and who had minimal interactions with men.
Using Myers-Briggs Character and Temperament Types), I developed detailed profiles of every major and secondary character. These character types are useful in that they are predictors of how a person is likely to respond in a given situation—though a certain amount of the unexpected is desired.
The protagonist, Matt, is INTP—that is, introverted, intuitive, thinking and perceptive. (The opposites are extroverted, sensate, feeling and judgmental) In my next process note, I will explain a bit more about these characteristics and give you a peek into how I envisioned Matt.
Resource: Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types by David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates
I lack patience for writing on a lengthy level…thus why the majority of my writing is poetry. I had to trick myself into to writing both “novelesque” stories that now grace my shelves collecting dust (well technically my computer).
anyway, I think character development (while it can be tricky) is important to think about before hand…personalities lend towards mannerism, tone of speech, reactions, interactions with others…and imperfections. if I can ever manage to trick myself again in to exploring something more than a page length, i think I’ll have to explore the who of my characters a little further.
I look forward to hearing more about your writing process…and your story.
Clever to use the Myers-Briggs info. Much success to you!
nice…will check out that book…
read one a while back called Making a Scene that was pretty good…
nice on using the myers briggs
Hmm, interesting. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test, but never thought to use it for any of my characters. Great idea!
Erin @ http://www.raisedreading.wordpress.com