I was looking for a book to read about a week ago and picked James Frey's 'How to Write a Damn Good Mystery' off my book shelf. I friend had given it to me quite a few Christmas's ago and I never really read it. Likely because I figured I knew everything already. Hah. HAHAHAHAHA... hrm. I don't. No, oh my no.
James has some really, really good points on creating a story written by your characters. He stresses really good character development to the point that when situations arise you can ask the question 'what would this character do in this situation?' and you can answer yourself clearly. He also stresses making sure that there are lots of characters in opposition to each other. This ensures a couple things: first your plot will make sense, since characters are doing what makes sense for them to do. Secondly your plot will have conflict and excitement and action since you have carefully set up characters that will be naturally opposed to each other.
Simple stuff right? It is, really, but man... basics. I've never been formally taught in creative writing, unfortunately, and maybe that's part of why I struggle so much with getting projects finished. Frey also stresses step sheets and planning out your whole novel start to finish before writing. Thats including parts that are happening 'behind the scenes' and things that the reader sees and are actually written. All these events are brought back to the question of what would your characters be doing at any given time. That way the story has a fluidity and things are moving of their own accord as characters go about their lives perscribed by you, the writer.
Using this process a little more and getting some more planning done before hand so that Mynfield Mysteries has some direction seems to be helping. Just starting chapter six and the first five chapters seem to jive with each other and the larger story. I'm calling it act one for now as I jump from the wilderness to Arconis between chap 5 and six, we'll see how it works out in the end.
Anyway, just posting in order to post something.
Another note, www.radiou.com is just a fantasitc online radio station and House of Heroes new cd 'COLD HARD WANT' is simply amazing. They have the whole deal up on youtube, you can check the official links here : http://www.coldhardwant.com/
John, the writer.