Wednesday, June 7, 2017

That AHA Moment

I’ve always had this niggling problem with my novel, THE INK OF TIME. Otto, who clearly is the main character of this story, does not confront his issues, but instead helps Hazel get her life together.  

I’ve struggled with this problem for quite a while, thinking that maybe I have two main characters – and that Otto can be a helper to someone else but not him self- but that doesn’t work for me, either. Otto is definitely the main character and as that, I’ve come to realize, this story should focus on and resolve his problems first.


My beta readers have commented to me in the past about not knowing much about Otto’s life and background. I intentionally wrote him that way- I was going for “mysterious, untouchable, guarded, aloof" in his persona. And that was all wrong.

I’ve been reading, studying, and applying all the information I have learned from Story Genius, by Lisa Cron, to THE INK OF TIME. 

If this story is gonna work, I’ve got to lay everything Otto feels and everything that’s happened to him in his life, on the line. Otherwise, who cares what happens to this guy? Who cares if he gets the girl or pathetically wanders the earth for the rest of his life? Nobody. That’s who.

I love my beta readers for sticking with my half-baked story, but now it’s time for me to get back at that manuscript and make everyone love and empathize with Otto as much as I do.

Through the exercises in Story Genius I am learning that novels do not start at the beginning. It’s true. They do not start at the beginning. Every novel we read starts when something is about to happen. And every character has a life before the story begins. Learning about the characters’ lives and how they handle situations makes us love a good story.

Think about it: What makes The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, such a great story? It’s not because the story started when the boys were babies and told of their lives growing up to their teen years, no. The Outsiders were tough boys who didn’t have many (if any) opportunities to improve their lives. They had no adult/parental support. They were on their own and lived life the way they thought was correct. Lots of shit happened to those boys before the story even started on page one with a fight between a Soc and a Greaser.

And in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon, Claire fell through a circle of ancient stones and was transported back over two hundred years in time, landing in 1743 Scotland. Had she not been a child raised by her uncle who traveled the world, and a World War II combat nurse before the story ever started, her chances of living through the events that took place would have been dramatically different.

So, I’m learning more and more about what makes my main man Otto tick. And you, dear reader, will learn it too.

It was a big struggle, but I believe I’ve figured out a way to change the story for the better so that Otto gets all the angst and triumph a main character deserves.(While helping Hazel, too.) I hope it all pans out realistically!

But now it’s time to get back to work. I’m on page 225 of 270. When I’m done with Story Genius I’ll be finding where and how to fit in all of my new information into my existing manuscript (aka story.)  

So I’ll be sitting here until next week when I take a break to write another blog post. I’ll keep you informed on my progress!

Until next time,

Be Good to Yourself!


*All images Courtesy of Google

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