Novel Writing, Class 1

I recently enlisted myself to do Novel Writing classes every Monday afternoon, as part of my New Year’s resolution along with Street Dance. I have embarked on a novel of my own, but need that added juice, incentive and feed back to revitatlise my novel writing passion. Stamina is a must! Behold this is not a path for the faint-hearted!

My novel? A fantasy coming-of-age adventure, which embodies key social messages with an aim to bring youth closer to nature and the sciences, as well as to appreciate the value in friendship and to inspire a new generation of change makers. It features mythical creatures, modern swagger and plenty more. The seven characters are culturally diverse to best reflect London.

Back to the class… each week, I will post up information or point/tips that I have learnt from my class to share with you all.

Text we looked at: Emancipation: A Life Fable, by Kate Chopin, and The Father, by Raymond Carver. One being a fable, the other a short story. A bit odd for a novel writing class you may wonder?! But the exercise was to see how much we could edit each piece down without dramatically changing the flow or tone of the pieces. RUTHLESS EDITING!

We then had to develop a new character and then get into groups to devise a plot for a new thriller book. Our characters were:

Ray Pir, long black hair, chesnut eyes, effortlessly casual
Flo, hairdresser, 50’s retro chick
Lyn Tang, Anglo-eurasian, permed hair and a lover of architecture
Paul Trent, tall, straight light brown hair, not content with life

Our plot was based around a conspiracy thriller with the UK government accussing China of potential terrorism with enough twists and turns to give you stitches. All the characters lives become endagered and are mysteriously interwined. A proper London affair Guy Ritchie style, minus all the Hollywood tosh where 20 cars are blown up just in order to escape down the street. True Sherlock Holmes fasion!

Speaking of crime and thriller. I just finished watching Sherlock Holmes, Series 2 on the BBC. Absolutely brilliant! Script and plot development was wonderful! Please do watch it if you have the chance, and great credit to Mark Gattis and Steven Moffat.

In addition to original character development, story plotting, bashing your ideas with others, and ruthless editing (bear this in mind for your own work), was constructive criticism. This is the opposite of ‘I don’t like…’ or ‘I quite like’ (supposedly just as bad as ‘I don’t like’ in the British English language). These two opening sentence starters have banished from our classes.

I am off for now, as I have to write some words to share with my group for next week.