C. G. McGinn


Ramblings about Books and Writing

Filtering by Tag: Daniel O'Malley

Finding the Momentum

Writing Books:

The character of Aryel Lessard should have been one to come easy for me. Anyone how has gamed with me, from MMOs to pen&paper RPGs would know that a version of this character has been lurking in the echo chamber of my mind for close to a decade. But maybe since she had been around for so long that I stopped actually thinking about her. By 'thinking' I mean, putting some analytic thought behind who she is, and not staring dreamily into space, occasionally letting out carefree sighs while sucking down chocolate-covered strawberries.

I had to actually do some thinking when it came to creating the Basilisk because up until the start of this project, his formidable presence had not set foot into the hallways of my mind. What he wanted in this life I had thrown him in, and how far he would go to get those things were established, and written down. I had answered the questions that needed answering. By the time I started writing him into the story, I knew what made him tick.

With Ary, I'm still sort of finding that out. Which sucks when you've written an entire first draft and are just realizing one of your principal characters needs to go back to character development school. It feels kinda like a soldier being sent off to war when the commander realizes that he never learned how to shoot. I don't know. Maybe it's different. 

But Ary is a far better character now than she had been a week ago. And, until the beta-readers tell me otherwise, I think she's come a long way sicne the 1st draft of the story. It's not been easy, but it's been an experience I'm glad to have gone through because I've learned a great deal by going through this process. I used to write a 1st draft of a chapter, revise it, and then call it good. But it's not good. There are a lot of questions that need asking. I've written more revisions of just the beginning portion of Chapter 2 than I care to count. But it's important. I need to see what works and what doesn't. Yes, it's discouraging to not have all the answers when I sit down to write. Sometimes sessions feel as though I'm just spinning my wheels, but it's all important. It's all necessary. In the end I think it makes for better characters and hopefully a better story.

And it's important to keep even what you don't use. Because you never know when I scene might come in handy elsewhere. 

Reviewing Books:

Not going to write a review this week because I'm just under the 5-hour mark on finishing 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. I want to see how it ends before I put my thoughts into words on the screen.

I used my 2 credits from Audible to get John Dies at the End by David Wong, and The Rook by Daniel O'Malley. Chris Samson recommended John Dies to me. Though I forget if he said to read the book first or see the movie. I remember him saying that the two complemented each other.

The main character of The Rook is a woman who is a high-level operative of a secret clandestine agency that protects the world from supernatural threats. My hope is that she is an example of a strong female character that I can hopeful gain insight from. We'll see. Dan O'Malley's only written one book according to Amazon and he may very well be as bad at writing woman as I am. But he's published and I'm not so he's probably doing something right.