The new character is coming along nicely.  He’s a little penguiny creature, with a slightly anteaterish nose and an insatiable appetite. In my head, he’s not entirely unlike Edward Gorey’s Doubtful Guest, perhaps crossed with a little bit of hairy lurcher.  Only I always imagined The Doubtful Guest as having quite a strong and somewhat aloof presence, while Eck errs more on the side of hangdog — a little bit sad, ever-hopeful, quite loveable even — though I think he’s also the sort of creature you might be tempted to aim a kick at when nobody’s looking, despite your finer instincts.

I always seem to be adding an important character to my drafts at the last minute.  Not sure why that would be, except that the books have a tendency to start in two dimensions, with a central relationship and not much else, and expand slowly into 3-D over the course of months.

Surely there are more sensible ways to write.  But in the meantime, I’m enjoying my new Eck.  He’s very endearing.  The book obviously needed him — and I think I did too.

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11 thoughts on “The New Character

  1. Lynne Harris 6 years ago

    sounds exciting … and good to hear someone else who has less than “sensible” way to write. I just make it all up as I go along … it’s more fun that way.

    1. C 6 years ago

      >I just make it all up as I go along …

      I believe the highly technical term for that is ‘pantser’. 🙂

  2. C 6 years ago

    > … except that the books have a tendency to start in two dimensions, with a central relationship and not much else, and expand slowly into 3-D over the course of months.

    I don’t suppose that you could be tempted to share an image or two of a work-in-progress (any old work-in-progress will do)? JK Rowling has done this on her site, uploading images of wrinkly old pages of work, filled with ballpoint brainstorms and coffee stains. It’s fascinating to glimpse how it all comes into existence.

    I know Just in Case (or just Justin himself) gave you a lot of grief, and because it’s a great book I’ve decided that the greater the grief, the greater the final product. (And I’ve just used up my daily allowance of the word ‘great’.)

    1. Meg 6 years ago

      Ah, pansterism. Yes.
      I’ve been told quite lately that I have an earlier version of The Bride’s Farewell up as the so-called excerpt on this very website. Unfortunately, there are no scrawled pages with coffee stains, but I could entertain you with pictures of my office, which is the architectural equivalent of crumpled scrawled pages.

    2. C 6 years ago

      > I’ve been told quite lately that I have an earlier version of The Bride’s Farewell up as the so-called excerpt on this very website

      Thanks for the tip — I spent quite a bit of enjoyable time last night comparing it to the book. I like the extra humour in the excerpt’s opening sentence — “eighteen hundred and fifty something” — although I understand why it was cut. Your talent for conveying bucketloads of information about a character (especially their emotions) through brevity is to be envied (in a good way).

      > I could entertain you with pictures of my office, which is the architectural equivalent of crumpled scrawled pages

      Please do. 🙂 I just finished renovating my so-called study. All the walls are now ‘sky bloom’ instead of ‘lemon’ and ‘lime’, and I have positioned my desk against the window in order to stare at the greenery instead of the wall. (Suddenly, spying on the neighbours is so much easier!)

  3. lynne Harris 6 years ago

    ha. “Pantser”. never heard the term before, but I guess that’s me 🙂
    It works for the short stories, but the longer drivel demands more organization. Maybe one day I will be organized.

    1. Meg 6 years ago

      I think I’ve heard myself say that once or twice as well.

  4. Kathryn Evans 6 years ago

    I work the other way round! Have a ridiculously over complicated story line that needs weeding, strimming mowing, trampling into line …hardest of all, some characters just have to go……

    1. Meg 6 years ago

      Ah, Kathryn. You’re a plot person. I recognize the signs.

  5. bookwitch 6 years ago

    So we have no dog, but a penguiny creature? Lovely. I think. Perhaps.

  6. Gail 6 years ago

    Sounds a little Eeyore-ish, as well?

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