Thursday, October 04, 2012

Novel Writing

I have been attempting to write a novel for the past two years or so. I haven't mentioned it on here in much detail, as I hadn't got enough to discuss, so it might be of interest to someone reading here. I say 'novel' because it is really a collection of inter-related stories. 

I was inspired, if that's the correct term, having watched such shows on television as 'EastEnders.' I have to admit that I'm not a huge fan, basically because the story-lines and characters are so un-interesting. I began to have an idea to try and produce something of my own, with storylines which connect to one another in some way.

One of the reasons I hate EastEnders, and 'soaps' in particular (television companies like to be somewhat snobbish and refer to them as 'continuing dramas.') is that they tend to rely on stock characters and storylines. In most cases they are so predictable. The same plots are used over and over again, and, with a bit of close observation, you can almost always tell what is going to happen next. I have read a really brilliant book called "The Seven Basic Plots" by Christopher Booker, where he describes what are supposed to be the seven plots that keep being re-cycled in either novels, plays, films or any work of fiction. They include, The Quest, The Comedy, Tragedy,  Overcoming The Monster, Voyage and Return, Rags-To-Riches and Rebirth. (Published by Continuum, and  first published in 2004.) In soap, you can be sure that there will be a big storyline at Christmas, some revelation, some plot detail that will be revealed over Christmas, and it is just a way to boost audience numbers. Whenever a character is to be written out (this usually coincides with an actor deciding they no longer want to stay with the show, or their contract is up for renewal.) the scriptwriters have a field day coming up with a storyline whereby that character meets a sticky end, for example, under the wheels of a tram in Blackpool or dies of some incurable disease (ie. as they did with Pat in EastEnders.) Or, there is some terrible accident and the character ends up in hospital, in intensive care, unconcious, on a life-support machine, with the nearest members of the family at the bedside. Then it is dragged on for weeks on end and eventually the character dies, or if they decide to remain in the show and sign their contract for a further couple of years and they manage to have their pay increased considerably, they come out of the coma and survive.

As I say, this is a collection of inter-related stories and characters. I haven't, as yet, managed to find a way to link them more firmly together, but I'm sure I will eventually find a way to 'bind' them together. There are many novelists who use this technique to create their storylines, most notably Charles Dickens. There is usually a central character, whose life unfolds as the narration develops (such as Oliver Twist and David Copperfield.) Characters come and go throughout the story, and it isn't until around the end of the novel that we discover how they have affected the life of the main character/s. I will post more on here as and when I feel inclined, so keep on reading.
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