#Writing A Character Driven #Novel

by Shelton Bumgarner

While I am still very interested in the scifi novel concept and hope to return to it eventually, I reached a point with it when I realized it was maybe a little too epic for my current experience and writing ability. So, I’m putting it on the backburner for a little bit.

I’ve decided to start from characters and then work my way out. I have a general plot in my mind — the consequences of a small town newspaper staff having a national news story fall in their lap — now it’s a matter of building characters and slamming them against each other.

That’s what makes this novel attempt different than the scifi effort. I started with the conceit first in that effort, then started working on characters. With this one, I’m going to build the characters first and see what happens. As it stands, the “high concept” of the novel is The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo meets The Bonfire Of The Vanities meets, I don’t know, something set in a small town. I’m drawing upon what I know first hand for this one. I hope to make it really personal and as such feel genuine to the reader.

The concept is gradually growing into something interesting. I’m watching “how to tell a story” videos on YouTube and I bought a book on character traits to help me build the characters. I really, really like Lisbeth Salander and drawing upon what I remember of the late Annie Shapiro, I think I can probably build a really interesting female character that people might — just might — fall in love with.


I guess the really frustrating thing right now is it just takes time. Even though my efforts to develop a scifi novel have helped me speed up this process a great deal, I still have to think and think and think about how, exactly, things are going to work out. This novel is definitely for me as much as the audience and as such I think it will be a lot better than it might be otherwise.

But it’s just going to take time. It’s just going to take me time to figure out exactly what this story is about. I know the general gist of the story, but it’s going to take time to get the details straight.

Author: Shelton Bumgarner

I am the Editor & Publisher of The Trumplandia Report

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