Monday, March 22, 2010
Death and Sex
Catchy title, eh? This week, we’re blogging about the challenges we face in wrapping up book one and starting the second in a series. The timing is apropos for me because I am working on my second book, The Hunt, right now. Notice I said working on and not writing.
So far, my biggest challenge has been keeping details and characters straight. I decided this week, before I attempt to write past chapter seven, I’ll make some index cards. I’ve read the technique works for some writers, and I usually do well when I make lists to keep track of details.
Obviously, the basics for the main characters in book one are set in stone now. I know them well, know what they'd say, and how they'd react to almost any given situation. But in the second book, I'm switching things up. I have five male and two female points of view (POVs), hence the seven chapters done so far. I thought it would behoove me to flesh out each new voice first before moving on in my writing. And that means making them real. Give them pasts, give them flaws, heck—give them an accent! Anything to make them come to life and leap off the pages.
If I create believable people now, there should be less to correct in later chapters, right? That’s my hope. One of the biggest challenges writers face is being consistent with voice and dialogue for each character throughout an entire book. So what happens when it's a series, and you've got new people entering the scene and others dying off?
Ask any artist: perfection is in the details of any piece. Sure, in the end, there will be flaws—that's the case whenever you create. But overall, your art should flow and be consistent within your vision.
What do you do when you have a first book heavy on blood, sex, and action? Amp up the death count and keep the sex hot (at least that's what I plan to do). Oh, and master multiple POVs in a present tense story.
As my friends (and fellow wicked writers have pointed out)—I have unshakable confidence in myself in most things. That confidence was tested last week when I started to doubt whether I could pull off seven POVs in The Hunt. My biggest challenge in creating the second book will be mastering head-hopping in each chapter and doing it well.
I know the story I want to write; it’s crystal clear in my head. Will I have the skill to weave all the elements to tell the tale as I envision it? Time will tell and I'm excited to give it a shot. Sure, it'll be hard. Sure, I might mess up.
But this isn't brain surgery we're talking about. Nor is it a first encounter with a new love. The death and sex I write about will wait for me to prefect them, as best I can, before being revealed to the audience. The worst that can happen is a reader will close the book and put it down—and I plan to work damn hard to make sure that doesn't happen.