And like that, it’s the end of January. It feels like only a minute ago it was New Years Eve, looking at the dawn of a new year and a new decade.
And now, we’re one month in.
How have you found this month? It’s been a busy one for me, most of my weekends have been spent doing DIY and the weeknight evenings painting and decorating (amongst herding cats and making dinner). But I’m really pleased with my WIP progress, and I’m starting to get a shape of the goals for my next year. Plus, I’ve been tucking into The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maas which has given me some really helpful hints and tips to give characters depth.
What’s happening with the WIP?
So far, I have around 130k words and I’m about 3/5 of the way through. It’s been fun to try and drive through the chapters that are the main character building areas. There have been a few plot twists and turns (some unexpected!) that are going to need work, but I feel like I’m putting down the groundwork for the main edit.
One thing that’s really helped me over the past month is to try and focus on my goals that I set myself in January. My goal is to finish my book, so before I can edit I have to finish it. So yes, there are imperfect scenes, there are imperfect links between scenes, and there are definitely character arcs that need tidying up. But I’m putting in the main signposts throughout the story, the places that I have to visit. It’s feeling a little more solid, my plot has purpose and best of all I feel like there is a real journey being etched into the pages.
Another thing I’ve found is some new music – following my introduction to the world of the Witcher courtesy of Netflix, I’ve now been listening to the Witcher 3 soundtrack on repeated loop for the last month (oops). It’s become the un-official soundtrack for my character Haare, it’s got a light tune but there are darker undercurrents which really match her character well. Plus it has this eerie tune that really matches her storyline, and it’s meant I’ve got more scenes of depth for her.
More hints and tips on emotions
Emotions are important, and the main theme of The Emotional Craft of Fiction is the fact that the story the reader remembers is one they connect to on an emotional level. And I have to agree, the stories that stay with me (Wheel of Time, Stormlight Archive) are those stories that have touched an emotional nerve and really connected beyond the story, to some part of my life that makes me feel something. Rage, hate, love, shame, joy, anger. Whatever it is, it elicits a response from the reader.
I am a firm believer that a story is not just the author’s. It’s also, on this emotional level, the readers. Yes, the author is the one who wrote it, who slaved away at the plot and the words. But the hallmark of a good story is one where the author fades into the background, and the characters take a step forward. It’s one where the author has invited you into this world of so-real people that you just breathe in their stories as your own. You feel the character’s pain, you celebrate with them, you fear for them. Readers who engage on an emotional level with a story come away feeling like they’ve gone on they journey with those characters.
And then, they come back for more.
One of the themes that Donald Maas touches on is the theme of change in a character. Not just the journey they go on, but how you show how they’ve changed because of that journey. I really like this idea, because life, like anything is a journey. And as Donald Maas points out, your character are alive in the reader’s minds. So they need to go on that journey and see that change too.
What’s coming up over the next few months
So as March nears I’ll be preparing another Quarterly Newsletter for you all! If you want to have a nosy at my last winter newsletter take a look here.
I’ll also be posting my next Newsletter Story in February! Remember, I release my newsletter stories well in advance of them being posted here, all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter and you get the early access link code!
Other things I’ve been up to
Not that much honestly! Between doing my DIY tasks, work and general life admin, I haven’t had a lot of time for much else. Plus, every time I try to sit down to do something that isn’t work related, my darling cat demands pets (and who can deny a kitty pets?!)
How has your January been? Did you meet your goals? Make new goals? Find something new?
See you all in February! In the meantime, come and say hi on IG or say hi in the comments!
Picture Credit – Photo by Amadeo Valar on Unsplash
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