Writing Sideways – Adding Passion

I had this splendid plan and it was working brilliantly at 1000 words an hour. At 72k words the whole thing became like an unwieldy stack of bricks. Suddenly I couldn’t see the next scene. Something was lacking for the drive forward to continue. After deep thought for a week or so I realized the murk clouding the writing-scape  was my villain. His aims were clear but he lacked deep motive.

It’s a fine balance this business of writing a novel. You can’t have your villain taking over so you can’t spend the whole book highlighting his evil design. Otherwise your protagonists develop a rather lack lustre appearance. What to do? At 3.00 a.m. today it was suddenly clear. I’m going to have a fine time going back through my 72k words to insert the villain’s development. He’s going to have some regular appearances with reference to the main characters – particularly the antagonist (quite a separate role). As a consequence of rejection from babyhood, he’s become bitter and full of a need to assert himself against all these people who have ignored him – and that’s practically everyone ‘out there.’

Meanwhile the protagonists are up against some strong issues with each other to resolve. Each has to come to terms with the other’s needs and requirements. At the same time the villain comes perilously close to destroying all that they have gained after the long struggle to obtain what they have. And enter other characters to underline the struggle and voila!

Well, that’s the theory. And I think of it as ‘writing sideways’ because it’s not a linear approach. The thread is still there but now I add more colour, more depth by insertion from the side to what is already there. And PASSION is the colour. Emotion is essential to any good read. It’s difficult for a reader to develop empathy with a character who lacks emotion – not to overdraw it either. Emotion where it is meaningful is the key.

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