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Struggling with new MS

(24 Posts)
fackinell Thu 22-Aug-13 16:33:32

That's it really, I'm on chapter four and really can't get into the characters. It's like I've hit a brick wall. This is book two for me, genre: chicklit (I know) fiction for adults,

Can anyone give me hints, tips or inspiration, please?

TunipTheUnconquerable Thu 22-Aug-13 17:05:42

When I was having this problem with one of mine, a friend who had done a lot of creative writing classes advised me to do 'free writing' in the head of one of the characters, where you turn off your inner editor and write something that you don't plan to put into the eventual book, just to get to know the character better.
Have you tried anything like that? I found it useful.

I know of a lot of people who do character questionnaires and suchlike but I've never found that helpful.

fackinell Thu 22-Aug-13 17:10:58

Thanks Tunip, I haven't tried that, but i will. Part of the problem is I'm not too keen on my lead at the moment, she needs to grow a set. I know that is my job but I'm struggling with how.

I am tempted to scrap it all and start again but that's a horrible thought. ATM she's like one of those vague FB friends that puts just a sad as a status. I need to find her inner bitch.

Thisisaeuphemism Thu 22-Aug-13 19:21:44

If you're not keen on her then we won't be. Can you make her do something really tough so that if she is a bit meh in other areas of her life we can forgive her?

fackinell Thu 22-Aug-13 19:28:54

I've been thinking that, Euphemism am I allowed to make her a bit of a wimp for a few chapters if she's just been jilted? She annoys me but others may feel sorry for her. The other characters are strong but she reminds me at the moment of a meh friend I have that I often want to shake. grin

Thisisaeuphemism Thu 22-Aug-13 19:33:21

Ha, my main characters are always passive (wet) types- and always getting criticized- I am also a passive wet type so it hurts!

If she has been dumped she is allowed to be wimpy but yeah praps have her do a feisty thing at work or with family.

fackinell Thu 22-Aug-13 19:47:51

Fantastic!! I shall give her five chapters grace then she can have some kind of Michael Douglas in Falling Down, type meltdown. grin

TunipTheUnconquerable Thu 22-Aug-13 20:48:03

Do it. I love the idea of a chicklit heroine having Falling Down-type meltdown. I would so buy that book.

fackinell Thu 22-Aug-13 20:52:27

Haha, no pressure then, Tumio!! grin

Thisisaeuphemism Thu 22-Aug-13 22:21:23

Do it! Five chapters or bust!

What happened to your first novel? Did you get it published? Was your heroine a bit on the um wishy washy side too?

fackinell Thu 22-Aug-13 22:28:26

Haha I take your challenge on, Euphemism!!

First MS currently doing well on Amazon kindle. Self published it. Really high on the comedy chart ATM. No, the heroine was based on me, so a ball breaker grin

This could be why I'm having a crisis of confidence, actually. The pressure is high...

BitScary Fri 23-Aug-13 18:03:19

Two things help me sometimes.

I write something a bit mad into the MS. Like a cliffhanger-type thing that ends a section or paragraph. Something dramatic that just pops into my head and is so not part of the plot since I've no idea what is meant to happen from there. (A random new character turns up at the doorstep, that kind of thing.) And then: line break and new section, and I take up where I've left off. And 9 times out of 10 the mad bit stays and totally recharges the whole story.

Another thing is more technical. I change the perspective. I nearly always write in either first person or close third person - these are my 'safe' perspectives, the ones that work for me. If a story is going limp then I rewrite it in first or close third, whichever I haven't been using. Along the way there is necessarily a bit of subtle altering to be done - often this can make the pace much zippier and I can see I should have been using this perspective all along.

Other times I switch back and forth easily 20 times between perspectives before I finally settle.

fackinell Fri 23-Aug-13 18:34:26

Thank you, Scary. I shall have a think about that. I always write in the first person, it helps me empathise and develop them, but I like the idea of a random sentence to see what pans out.

GrendelsMum Sat 24-Aug-13 18:16:30

I don't see why we would want to read about a wishy-washy heroine, any more than you want to write about her.

Couldn't you re-think it so that she has a meltdown much quicker? Like the first chapter?

I heard someone on the radio the other day - I think it was Elmore Lennard speaking - saying that it didn't matter how realistic a character was, if they weren't interesting and attractive to the reader.

TunipTheUnconquerable Sat 24-Aug-13 18:24:04

I agree that five chapters in is too late. You'd have lost me by then (though I might struggle on if I know the meltdown is coming wink)

fackinell Sun 25-Aug-13 01:36:37

Yes, true. Ok, some things to think about then. Thanks for your feedback. I think a bit of a rewrite is in order!

GrendelsMum Mon 16-Sep-13 22:02:10

How's it going, Fackinell? Did you decide to take it in a new direction?

Teapigging Wed 18-Sep-13 12:32:18

I hear you, OP. No real advice, but sympathy.

I am working on a novel based on real people, and am sticking close to historical events. My main character is generally admirable and interesting, which is, obviously, why I chose to write about her - talented, unconventional, reclusive, cold in an interesting way, observant - BUT I am stuck with one scenario that really turns me off, and which I find really difficult to write.

She had an affair with a famous womaniser, gave up everything, (including the work she was so dedicated to) for his sake for years, clung on long after he lost interest, and wrote him these terrible self-abasing letters several times a day about how all she lived for was his presence etc etc. Its suddenly as if she is a completely different character, lovestruck and hysterical, and I'm very dissatisfied with how I've handled it so far!

So all I would say is to be grateful that at least you can choose to change your wet character! I'm stuck with mine, or rather my admirable character with one huge blind spot I don't know how to reconcile with the rest of her!

GrendelsMum Wed 18-Sep-13 13:53:12

Oooh, how intriguing Teapigging. I'm wondering who on earth the characters are.

Let me know if you want a beta reader at some point - I'm intrigued.

Teapigging Wed 18-Sep-13 14:41:09

Thanks for the very kind offer, Grendelsmum - it's not at that stage yet, though.

I'm not going to say who they are, less because I think someone is going to run off with my Brilliant Idea, than because I think it is much more helpful for me to be able to talk about them as 'pure' characters on here, without people bringing their own preconceptions about them to the party. Now back to wrestling with a much needed restructuring before my toddler comes home...

GrendelsMum Wed 18-Sep-13 19:59:57

Oh,I completely understand your logic! I'm just trying to guess who it might be...

fackinell Thu 03-Oct-13 02:18:21

Oh sorry!! I've just wandered back here and saw new posts. I haven't done much, Grendel. I went back to MS one to do a re-edit based on reviews. I'm still struggling with new MS but will have to get my finger out as I've promised my followers a new one for Christmas shock

Tea, thanks for your input too. I sympathise with you on your character. If she's having a wimpy moment can you describe what she's feeling or thinking that makes her unable to stand up for herself? I like to write about strong women, in books and in life I have no time for wimps, hence my struggle with my character,

dozeydoris Tue 26-Nov-13 09:02:35

Can someone tell me what MS is?


TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 26-Nov-13 09:44:47

Yes grin

I like 'WIP' for work in progress, as well.

How's it going, Fackinell & Teapigging?

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