Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas Aftermath

Now that we are on the other side of Christmas, I'm anxious to re-focus on my writing. At my last signing of the year, I sat down and ironed out on paper the remaining plot holes in THE TYRANT KING. Earlier this month, I was able to plot out the entire story of THE LOST PRINCESS. And, now that I have people literally clamoring for my next book, I'd better get moving.

My husband has a network of amazingly supportive friends where he works, most of whom have purchased at least one copy of my book. Last week, he shared a bit of a short story with them that I'd written for my mom forever ago. And his friend immediately asked when THAT story was being published.

I told him he has to stop talking about my stories. He asked why. I said, with my current schedule, there's no way I can keep up with his mouth! :)

The biggest challenge of plotting out my trilogy has been deciding who lives and who dies. Really, only a handful of characters have proven untouchable. But I also don't want to kill characters off for the sake of killing them. There has to be a purpose, or reason, for their death that makes sense from the plot perspective. And I'm kind of worried, because there are a couple of characters I deeply love who might meet their end in THE TYRANT KING. I wasn't expecting that.

There's very little death in THE PEASANT QUEEN. I mean, most of the important deaths occur before the book starts. Only two characters die in the book, and they are the bad guys. But, in THE TYRANT KING, the villain is much more ruthless, and much more deadly--arbitrarily--than in THE PEASANT QUEEN.

But, in THE LOST PRINCESS, there isn't a murderous enemy. Most of the conflict comes from internal character issues, though there is a little bit of a power struggle the characters involved are not murderous. They feel justified that they are on the side of the right, so they don't feel they should have to resort to murder. But, it's not realistic for the events that happen to transpire without costing at least one life. And, it's a big death, a meaningful one. I'm still struggling with it. All the primary characters will feel it--they will all react.

I remember JK Rowling saying once, on this topic, that she'd tried to kill Mr Weasley several times, but he kept surviving. But the Weasley family couldn't be untouched by the events, as close as they were to them, so it did cost. When I look at killing off characters, I play out the events and then wonder what the cost would be. In one instance, a character poisons someone so he can escape, but logically, as he reaches the stable to get his horse to steal out of the castle, someone is there. Someone who would raise the alarm. Someone who, if injured, would die before help would arrive the next morning.

It's amazing how much logic and reason have to go into a fantasy novel. :)


Anonymous said...

I think this is what's blocking my fantasy novel at the moment... I haven't committed to anything dramatic enough that would kill off any of the characters I love. Not saying that you have to kill off characters to be a good writer, but you have to learn how to not pull punches, and I worry sometimes that I love my characters too much.

Mel Chesley said...

DON'T love your characters so much that you make them all somehow, miraculously, survive. I think that is one of the biggest mistakes an author can make. If the reader doesn't think it is plausible, it more than likely isn't!
I have to say that characters will die and those events do tend to write themselves. If you are in the "writing zone" and your character meets an untimely demise, only fix it if it isn't relevant to the story. If it is... keep it.
How the other characters react and respond is going to effect your reader as well, so make it poignant! Don't make it meaningless. I was sad and upset when Rowling's characters died, but they were the right ones to give Harry what he needed in the end. A reason to fight and a reason to live.
Cheri... very proud of you and technically you are the first Chesley girl to publish! So Darla and I owe you. lol!

J.L. Campbell said...

I wish I was at the point where I plot an entire novel. I start out with good intentions and usually know the beginning and the end. Somewhere in the middle, things do get hazy and I don't know from the beginning who eventually dies. I'm all for plotting though. It makes for structured storytelling and a lot less re-writing. :)

Maggie said...

This post has got me excited to read the Peasant Queen. I ordered it this morning and am looking forward to it. I say, when in doubt, kill them off. haha. I've never claimed to be an optimist.

Anonymous said...

Happily, I arrived here! I had "followed" the LDS Blogck (sp?) so that got me here. I looked at your website, which is where I am right now, with the blog window showing. I like your posts; I just read the one about the gunman at the theater. I'm interested in reading your first book. It's now on my list. I'll probably buy it on kindle. I'll let you know when I read it, and I'll keep following!! (I also have a book coming out soon through WiDo Publishing, but alas, it's not a fantasy. I admire anyone who can write fantasy. Maybe I could have done this when I was younger, but...now it's memoir time. I grew up in Salt Lake City. I know where Tooele is and how to pronounce it!!)

I hope you and your family are having a wonderful holiday!

Toyin O. said...

Good luck with your writing:)

Covnitkepr1 said...

I have added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit my blog and become a follower also

~T~ said...

It was a privilege to win The Peasant Queen from LDS Publisher's giveaway, and I've enjoyed reading it. Good luck with your next books!