Have I mentioned before how much I love including guest posts and author Q&As on here? In addition to providing you with content that comes from a variety of sources, I also get to meet other great authors out there and (at least in my mind) form an online community with other indie- and self-published authors out there. Take this week's author, for example. I really love how S.L. Saboviec approaches her character development, and I feel like I would really like her if we were to ever meet in real life (but maybe that's just the Iowa connection ;) )
After that, I flesh out the characters and their relationsihps with one another. I talked a little bit about how I relate characters to one another in another blog post. I like to focus on character backstory against the story rather than miscellaneous details (where they grew up, their siblings' names, or whatever). I do try to give each one a distinctive feature plus two or three others, but I like to focus on who they are as a person rather than physical attributes.
For main characters, I can't write until I've come up with their names. For secondary characters, I'll probably come up with a name and change it six times before the book is finished. For minor characters, I'll use "***" in the text and go back later to name them, but it's tough--I really like having a name. And sometimes I will spend more time coming up with the name of minor characters than I will on developing them.
I know, it's a little silly.
When it comes to the actual writing, once I have all my outlines and characters figured out in my spreadsheet, I feel comfortable splashing words across the screen. I usually stay within the confines of what I've decided--but not always--and then I just go crazy. What I organized ahead of time helps guide me.
Between writing sessions, in the back of my mind, I'm thinking about Chapter 23 (or whatever) and that XYZ needs to happen, and I start to think in the details rather than worrying about the high level "Where is this going?" Since I figure it out ahead of time, during my writing time, I just sit down and write.
Writing craft books. If you're a moderate to advanced writer, anything by Donald Maass is golden. Here's my Goodreads Writing Craft shelf.
Twitter. This is the place to meet and commiserate with your fellow writers. Use the #amwriting hashtag or check out some of the contests, like #PitchWars. I've found that it's less of a resource to find readers, although once you have the readers, a lot of them want to connect there. You can find me @Saboviec.
Absolutely nobody can get away with writing without a critique partner. (I will fight you, Bestselling Celebrity Author, if you tell me otherwise.) If you haven't had someone critically look at what you've produced and objectively try to make it better, big gaping holes will be evident to the reader. In every single one of my novels, a CP has pointed out something that would never in a million years have occurred to me but that is a huge, obvious hole once I see it. Sometimes it's simple to fix, sometimes not so much, but my work is always stronger for having been poked and prodded.
ABOUT S.L. SABOVIEC
Her short fiction has appeared in AE and Grievous Angel. Her debut novel, Guarding Angel, received an honourable mention in the 23rd Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards. The sequel, Reaping Angel, is out now.