Saturday, 23 August 2014

No More Dilly-Dallying
That's it! I've got to get back to it, writing the novel-in-progress that is. Feeling guilty to claim I'm currently writing a novel, I've even changed my bio on Twitter to 'attempting to write my first novel'. There's something about the addition of that word 'attempting' that let's me off the hook, don't you think? Not really. I want to do this so it's up to me to get on with it!

A number of people have helped me decide not to dilly-dally any more. The first is my on-line friend Samantha Bacchus. As well as publishing a collection of short stories alongside working on her book, she finished the first draft of her novel at the end of July. Her comment on her author page 'Now the hard work begins...' acknowledges that the rest of the journey towards publication will not be easy but it brought home to me how important it is to get my story written. The only way is to get back to the novel, stop procrastinating, stop saying what I am going to do, and write!

Another author who has impressed me is someone whom I've only met recently at an event during the Candy Jar Book Festival. She's Michaela Weaver and her book 'Manic Mondays' was published in May this year. It was interesting to hear about the story of her novel through to publication. She was so encouraging to me and the other aspiring novelists who attended that I came home inspired to write my story.

Finally, it was arranging a meeting with writing buddy, Kelly, that made me realise that I had nothing new to show her since our last meeting which was back in June. I had to do something!

How did I prepare for our meeting?
- I went back to my novel file and read and re-read the chapters already written to immerse myself in the story I wanted to tell.
- I'm a planner at heart so I mapped out a linear account of all the events that would happen to the family in the story. 
- I then started compiling a grid of the novel's characters, sorting them into main, subsidiary and minor with their respective details, dates, features and traits. Already some of the dates and ages in my completed chapters didn't tally because I hadn't done this beforehand. 

When we met, Kelly and I talked about the importance of having credible characters and I found the grid is helping  me find out more about each of the characters. If we know everything there is to about our characters then what they say, how they react and what they do will be all the more believable. By next time, we're going to work on some detailed character studies. We definitely won't be putting all the information in our novels but we will know our characters very well.

The main thing that came out of the meeting is that I'm back and I'm going to write my novel. I think I'll make myself a badge like this. Please feel free to nag me too! ;-) 

On her blog 'Writing My Novel - No Working Title Yet', Teagan Kearney makes some very useful points in this post, 
Creating Characters.

What are your thoughts on creating believable characters? What do you do to get to know them 'inside out'? I'd love to hear what you think. 

Thank you for reading my blog. You may also follow me on Twitter @JanBayLit and Jan Baynham Writer Facebook page.

PS My story 'Defeating Dylan The Dragon' has been published by Cafe Lit to end its week which has had the theme of fantasy. I hope you will enjoy my take on a Welsh legend.


  1. Permission to nag? You may regret that. Mwa ha ha ha.

  2. Just what I need, ha, ha! Thanks, Patsy. ;-)

  3. I am very pleased you have made that positive step in that you have stated you ARE going to write your novel (as opposed to 'attempting' to write it) I am also a little chuffed that you felt I have given you a 'push' to actually get going :) And as Patsy says, you may regret asking to be nagged...

    Go on girl, get it written, you can get a first draft by the end of this year!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement. Samantha. ;-)