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Novel Girls: Starting to Write, Humor, and Too Many Characters

24 Oct

I wonder if Novel Girls is getting too social or if we’ve figured out the secrets of writing already.  There wasn’t as much to blog about that was discussed this week, but we had a great night!  We were in full force, with KK able to make it and SG’s conflict not conflicting.  Blog-able material aside, I think it was one of the best meetings we’ve had.

One of the things Nicole shared was some advice passed on to her from our friend MB.  MB has written (I think) six novels already and is going to pound out another with NaNo this year.  She was also an alpha reader on my first WIP.  Needless to say, she’s very respected in our small group of writers. Anyway, Nicole was itching to start on her novel (which is the one we’re reviewing in our weekly meetings) but had a few ideas and didn’t know which one to start.

MB’s advice was to write/type as much as possible about each story.  Nicole should include information about the characters, the plot, sub-plots, and any other details she could think of.  Whichever idea she could write the most about would be the best one to write in full because less planning is necessary.

We did talk about a technique Nicole used that we all enjoyed.  She had a scene in which a father is delivering difficult news to his daughter.  In the middle of the tense conversation, she threw in a line of humor to relieve the tension. I loved this because it’s so realistic.  I know I do it when I’m having serious conversations with my husband and I’m sure if you think about it, Reader, you do the same thing.  I thought it was a great technique to bring realism to the dialogue and to keep the novel from getting too serious.

The last point we talked about was a fear I had about my own novel. When do you have too many characters?  I got worried for a minute that I had too many minor characters in my book, but KK assured me that they’re different enough that the reader keeps them all straight and they’re all necessary.  I started thinking about them, and I do think they’re all necessary (maybe I can get rid of one, but I really like her!).  Reader, this is my question for you, what’s a good number of characters?  Assuming this changes for every manuscript, how do you decide this? When do you have too many characters?

Until next time, write on.