This week I started rewriting the first chapter of my novel.
There have been many first chapters and each time I’ve written them they get slightly better. As it goes, this newest version is my favourite. Mostly because, at last, one of my characters finally has motivation.
Finding motivation for characters that feels honest is very hard. It’s easy to make characters versions of other people, or even just versions of other characters in the book. I think the character who’s now changed, we’ll call him ‘2’, was just a slightly less interesting version of my main character. 2 had no real motivation for taking the actions that he did in the book, and without the flimsy excuse I gave him would be more than ready to step into the shoes of my main character and live the life that he is.
Now, he has something holding him back, even if now it’s not something physical. Matters of conscience are a major part of the book so it’s only right that other characters find themselves battling with them too. A lot of my writing doesn’t depend on physical matters getting in the way, more about how people react to each other and the situations around them mentally.
My burst of inspiration came at work (as a lot of them do) and several scribbled notes to myself later, the motivation appeared. Implementing it into a book which is already fully formed without it is going to be interesting, but I’m always up for a challenge. The edits should be minor once I know when and where references need to be made.
As the book goes on, the characters feel as though they are becoming more rounded and have true motivations and flaws. It’s hard trying to make every character in the book different and that’s why there aren’t that many major characters in the book. There’s just not enough time to focus on everybody. Some franchises (Harry Potter…) have the advantage of several books to introduce a large cast of characters over, but because my book in so insular and the narration at times is so focused down to just the inside of the main characters mind, there isn’t time to explore every character. But on the other hand, some of them just aren’t that important.
I’m sure there’s an unwritten rule that every character must serve a purpose but there’s nothing to say we need to know them inside and out. If I had an omniscient narrator who could jump in and out of everyone’s heads, I would, but if I can’t keep track of it, will my readers?
That’s all for now,
I also should have updated my books read page too, so please check that out!