When I’m working on a novel, I incorporate short chapters with several different scenarios at the beginning. These situations may consist of groups formed by humans, groups formed from anything but humans, or groups mingled with humans and anything but humans working together. Occasionally, a single human or otherwise may wing it alone.
These groups usually share a common goal, although they may expand or decrease in number, meld together, or disappear completely, splinter groups may peel away or totally new groups may appear. That’s where the excitement comes in. You’re not sure what will happen until it happens.
What if you were to take a human from one of the groups (we’ll call him Bob)? Now, remove one of the anything but humans (we’ll call him, Splurch Flap). Let’s say that Bob wanders into a Clargovian minefield in chapter 8 and is blown to smithereens. (Smithereens in this case equaling a couple trillion pieces.)
Three chapters later, Splurch Flap falls into a dry well and is consumed by two famished air breathing guppies. To bring the point I’m trying to make home, in chapter 49, we find Bob and Splurch Flap have returned and are taking the vows.
One thing you want to remember is to maintain continuity in your writing. Publishers tend to frown on the author killing off a character and then bringing said character back as if they were never gone. I don’t believe, “I forgot,” would wash very well as an excuse.
Another thing that confounds me came about when I was searching for an agent. Who am I kidding? I’ve been searching for an agent; I am still searching for an agent; and if you ask me after the earth makes another trip around the sun, I’m fairly certain my answer will be, “Yep, I’m searching for an agent.”
This search, believe it or not has produced its share of ups along with the downs. Several agents have taken the time to write complimentary replies which I very much appreciated. One in particular went so far as to inspire the notion I may have an honest chance at representation.
Then I spied it; near the end of the last paragraph, that phrase that dashes hope to dust. It knocks you down for the sake of something to kick. What is that phrase, you so innocently inquire? With a lump in my throat and my eyes beginning to well, I answer in a low trembling voice, “Unfortunately, it’s not what I’m looking for at this time.” Once again (to quote Bon Jovi) “shot through the heart.” Nuff said
And what about this thing, this endless chasm, the bottomless pit, the slush pile? Each agency has one and even though most consist of virtual paper I feel fairly confident I’ve spent a significant amount of time drowning in more than one.
In fact, if slush pile aerobics were an Olympic sport, I have no doubt my collection of medals would be quite impressive.
I certainly understand a literary agent’s dilemma; thousands of manuscripts, with but a few spots to fill; a daunting task to say the least.
My first novel, “Rising Tide,” did rather well. My mother liked it and if that’s not a barometer of success I don’t know what is. I guess what it boils down to, is this business of writing, publishing, marketing, selling and starving is another feather in the antidepressant industries hat.
And I guess it’s pretty well accepted, that writing and starving are the easiest of the lot. Still we eagerly jump behind our keyboards and follow each letter as it flows across the screen. With anticipation we tap, tap, tap, turning letters into words, words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, paragraphs into pages and pages into completed works of literary art.
Now saddle up, hold on tight, and get ready for the ride your life. You’re going to be thrown off, trampled, kicked in the head, spat upon, dragged through the mud and left for dead.
You’ve got two choices. Turn tail and run or climb back on your ride and get a better grip this time.
By the way, you hungry yet?