I’m beginning revision work on Salsa Dancing today. After reading an article about the invasion of characters, I have some thinking to do.
As I write, I allow free-reign (which can sometimes become a free rain) to my imagination and thought processes. This gives me the freedom to explore direction, characterization and the story itself. As I’ve mentioned before, my writing is organic – growing as it will from whatever nourishment I have to offer. Reading some of my early drafts can be a painful experience.
Revision gives me an opportunity to scrape away the rough and discover what I am really talking about. In Salsa, the underlying impetus for the story was a personal encounter with endocrine cycle dysfunction.
Of course, for this, there had to be a doctor and one leads to at least four others. There has to be a love interest. One leads to five. And family: count twenty-plus inclusive of both sides. Friends? Sufficient to needs: three for each partner and enemies? Also three for each. We have already reached 43 participants.
What is the lowest count of characters you’ve written into a novel? The highest?
How do you keep track of these people and their eye-color? Have you read a book where a character morphs physically without a paranormal explanation?
I highlight physical details in the manuscript when I come across them while transcribing. Also, separate pages in the notebook for characters’ ages, hair color, personal habits. Spreadsheets are useful too.
For Salsa, so many events take place over the period of the novel, I built a calendar and time-line to keep track of crucial dates. This became a project management issue – as complicated at the construction of the hotel-conference center in the novel.
I think my love of 19th century literature and George Eliot’s novels have led me down their garden path!