It’s too late for an early night. I’ve been trying to write my novel.
What started off as a few paragraphs of what I wanted to be dreamlike prose, has turned into a forced, meandering effort. I don’t know what to write. I do know what I want to happen. But how do my characters get from where they are to where I want them to be? How do I make them get there? I have no structure!
If I try anything like a story arc or a character sheet, it will undoubtedly kill the story. That has happened before, with an embarrassing attempt that I don’t even want to think of as an attempt. Writing character profiles does not work for me. Last time I tried to do that (in a previous story) my characters ended up as cliches. No, not even cliches, they were parodies of cliches. It was like… Have you seen The Breakfast Club? If so, you know how each teenager has a set “personality type” at the beginning? Well, all my characters were like an exaggerated version of that. I introduced quite a few characters at once, actually, so it was mildly confusing. Anyway, my point is that everything they said was directly linked to who they were as a person. Everything. Imagine that. It was like each sentence they said reflected their role. It was far, far beyond realistic.
People in real life don’t even have set roles. Especially not kids. Those characters were kids, and I decided that one of them would be obsessed with history, and that it would be her main interest, and that whatever she said would relate to that. Another character was the “I don’t know who I am” one, who, as a result of her lack of a defining philosophy, later went on to join the baddies. I did not even get to the part where she joined the baddies. Another thing I should add is that the kids did not have realistic day-to-day lives.
My one excuse is that I was thirteen when I was writing that. The problem with the excuse is that most thirteen-year-olds would not write something so lacking creativity and quality. What that illustrates is that I am unable to work from a character sheet that I’ve written with a list of traits and a backstory for each figure; I find it much easier to contain this information in my mind.
Having said that, this novel is stalling. I will keep writing, though. The book has no choice but to exist.