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How to write a novel | relationships


MERRIONS 2012 256

If you have followed my blog about writing fiction, then you know the story so far. Nick lives in Birmingham, England in his late parents house, near the airport. His parents were killed in a horrible accident while on holiday in America and Nick is now traumatised by those events. He travelled to America to bring his parents home and now hates all things American. He travels around England in a campervan until he meets Lily, a young American woman and forms a love-hate relationship.

I’ve decided that the story is going to be a comedy or at least amusing. It can also have adventure as he travels around on his road trip. When he meets Lily it can turn into a romance and that can give me an ending when he travels to America with Lily.

I really need something else; a reason for Nick’s desire to see the English Countryside and explore. I have decided he should have an interest in nature and be a keen gardener. Is that enough to make him explore the English countryside?

It’s a good idea when you’re writing a story like this to make lots of notes and have a notebook specifically for the story you’re writing. You can make an outline of the story and add odd facts that you need to remember. In my case I can plot the course of Nick’s travels through the English countryside. I can also write a note when I think of the funny lines that I can use in the novel. Writing comedy is really difficult and so it’s a constant struggle to think up amusing lines. The whole story doesn’t need to be funny and I intend this story to be more of an adventure until Nick meets Lily and then he can have some amusing lines as they struggle with their feelings for one another. A love-hate relationship can be funny as they insult one another because of the clash of cultures and personalities.

The personalities of my two main characters are important. Again, I can write notes and explore what they are like inside. I think I will make both of them quite confident and not afraid to lock horns with one another. The clash of personalities could be about behaviour. Nick is a nature lover and so I could make Lily a person who isn’t too keen on nature and who becomes nauseous at the smell of some of the more challenging natural smells of the countryside. She could be really into her technology and much to Nick’s annoyance spends a lot of the time sending text messages to her friends using her smart phone. She could even spend a lot of time on the internet, chatting using instant messaging and sending tweets to her followers. I think I could make Nick, quite serious and Lily a little shallow. She could be into celebrities and fashion, while Nick is into down to earth people and comfortable clothes. What do you think? Can you think of any other areas where the two of them could clash that results in some funny dialogue?

I was thinking about the practical problems that Nick might encounter on his journey. That was why I used the photograph above to start this post. I saw a camper van parked in that layby when I was out taking photos. Nick would find it quite hard finding places to stay over while he was travelling. A layby like the one pictures would be good and so would some car parks for an overnight stay. A pub with a big car park would be ideal. I have to think about places, because we need one place in particular where Nick would be made welcome and so stay a while. He might get some work, on a farm or gardening. Then he could meet Lily in the pub perhaps? That first meeting would be difficult. He finds Americans repulsive, but he overcomes his repulsion because she is an attractive young woman. I think he might need something else to motivate him. He wouldn’t turn his back on a woman in trouble, even if she was American. We need to give her some kind of problem. But what? She could be lost? She could be stranded with no where to stay, late at night? That sounds promising. If she had no where to stay and was stranded, then Nick would feel obliged to offer her somewhere to sleep. His camper van is 30 feet long and so quite roomy.  He would have a spare bed. It would be confined enough to throw them together and Nick would feel she was invading his ‘space’. That could be when the war of words starts. Lily could complain about the lack of space and Nick could be facetious.

“Yes, it is a bit small. We like small on this side of the pond. We like the steering wheel on the wrong side too. We like driving in the middle of the road; pulling over to the left sometimes to let oncoming traffic pass. This is England, where small is beautiful; the beer is warm and people are eccentric. We don’t say have a  nice day either…”

I think I’ll have to work on the sarcasm and facetiousness and make notes. I think a little luck should play a part in their relationship. After their night together they could share breakfast. That could cause more sparks to fly as Nick would favour an English breakfast. What would Lily from New England favour for breakfast? Perhaps Lily would want bagels (whatever they are) and orange juice? I looked up breakfasts on Wikipedia, it seems a late breakfast is called brunch. Maybe Lily would have just coffee and would want ‘brunch’ later? After breakfast when Lily decides to leave and continue her journey maybe her hire car could give out, leaving her stranded again. 

The story seems to be coming a long. What do you think of it, so far? Is it worth writing? Can you think of a funny line for Nick? Can you think of one for Lily? What would Lily want for breakfast? Maybe, she could storm off to have breakfast in the pub? On her return after finding her car won’t start, Nick could ask, “Enjoy the bagels and coffee?”; knowing full well the pub wouldn’t have any! What do you think?

Please voice your ideas in the comment box. I’ve gone over my 1,000 word limit today. The story must be good! More blogs on the home page.

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9 responses

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