So I Finished Unisplaining…

19 Nov

I’m approaching the 50k goal of #NaNoWriMo and my novel is still going strong! However, when I outlined my sci-fi mystery story, it didn’t occur to me that at this point, I was shifting from explaining the universe to explaining the characters. And I’m not sure I like the characters more than the universe… I want to go back!

I’ve found that when I use an outline–or usually, an outline based on a template–I end up with a much more successful story. This time, more than most. At time of this writing (a couple days ahead of actual time), I’m only at Chapter 6 of a 12-chapter outline at 38k words. That’s great! That means I’ll actual reach traditional novel length this time! 🙂

To paraphrase Stephen King (in the prologue to Different Seasons), Novella sounds like a South American capital. “Bienvenidos a Novella, capital of La Revolution!” It looks like a novel, sounds like a novel, but there’s something off about it. Whenever he suggests printing a series of novellas to his publisher, the agent gets that uncomfortable look as he hears the chimes of Latin music through the room.

Novella is where I like to write. I don’t like dragging out scenes–I feel my characters have enough to say–and too many subplots kill the flow of my main story. So most of my novels are actually novellas, which make it difficult to sell to a publisher. But since I’m my own publisher these days, who cares?! Sell ’em for a discounted $1.99 and get ’em out there!

But in a sci-fi story, the universe is a character, and I really enjoyed building up this universe. Writing on the line of “Isn’t that cool?” balanced on “That sounds familiar enough to be believable” was a lot of fun. However, that “character” has been established, and if I’m supposed to be at the halfway point–or past it–I need to focus on the people who live in this universe.

The trick, I guess, is to make the characters as interesting as the universe. After all, if they’re not interesting, what’s the point of introducing them to the audience? “This is Joe, he pumps gas down at the corner store.” Not exciting. Now if Joe is secretly building a time machine to ruin the life of all his ex-girlfriends… that’s something to talk about! 🙂

So when I introduced the exiled ruler of another planet, okay, now I’m excited! Not as much with the gardener last chapter… but we’ve got to eliminate the possible suspects. Here’s where I need to really examine my outline and decide, “How do I make my characters as interesting as the setting I put them in?”

How do you deal with this obstacle? Have you had to change a background character into an active character? Do you like living in Novella? Let me know in the comments below!

2 Responses to “So I Finished Unisplaining…”

  1. Brothers Campfire November 19, 2020 at 9:21 am #

    You got this!


  1. What Did I Win? | Albigensia Press - December 1, 2020

    […] I had a word goal to reach every day to reach – with the ultimate goal of cranking out a novella, which as mentioned previously, is where my stories live. I like having graphs and technical […]

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