It's been an insightful and challenging couple of weeks here at the story factory. I've made it a habit to do some learning, some homework, related to writing, every night. So far, that means watching a video on YouTube about how to pitch to literary agents, or Q & A sessions with successful authors -- Did you know that Lee Child doesn't have any more knowledge of the inner workings of the U.S. Military than anyone whose parent was in the military? He just makes it up! -- but lately, I've been watching a lecture series by a Sci-Fi/Fantasy author named Brandon Sanderson.
The first lecture I watched (but not the first in the series) dealt with 'world-building'. That's a vital lesson for SF/F writers, but not so much for the style of story that I write. I like to use settings that already exist. However, sometimes the setting I choose needs to be changed just a little. Or, perhaps I want to create a fictional town for my story (as I do for my next book --no title as of yet). Early on in his lecture, Sanderson talks about the three most important elements for a novel: Plot, or Story Arc, Character Development, and Setting... in that order. I've been working pretty hard on my book's story arc, and the settings are already real, so I started thinking about the character development aspect of my book - the second most important aspect!. My cast of nine main characters have their own voices, and their own personality quirks, but their motivations don't shine through. They have their own backstories, which give them their motivations, but none of it is in the writing I've done. What this means is that I'm going to have to go back through every scene, and look for opportunities to insert some explanations for why each character acts the way they do It was a depressing realization. This book needs a lot more work than I had thought. The good news is that I caught the error before an editor or agent had the chance to see it.
I had hoped to have the first draft done, and started looking for an agent, by this summer of 2020. Now, I think it may not happen until the Fall. It will still happen, though, and now, you'll all love (or hate) my characters as much as I do!