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How to write a novel | Character development


Junction 10 M6 Motorway

Last week in my how to write a novel series, I looked at the emotions of my characters. This week I want to develop a new character. You might remember that Nick and Lily have formed a love-hate relationship and are on the road in a camper van; having stopped off at Nick’s house where they spent the night together. I shall be going back to that and developing that part of the story. Now they are on their way to meet Victoria, Lily’s friend from university.

How can I make Vicky interesting and make relationships form between the three of them. I think I am going to make Vicky and Nick get on well, too well for Lily’s liking and that jealousy will make for an even more powerful attraction between Nick and Lily. Nick and Lily are opposites, Nick is quiet and unassuming and Lily is American, confident with a can-do attitude to life. I think I could make Vicky typically English like Nick, unassuming and downright nice. That should make Lily jealous and strain their friendship. What do you think?

There will be a lot of opportunity for dialogue as they travel down the motorway on their way to see Vicky; again I can develop that later too. It’s a comedy and comedy dialogue is quite hard to think of. They need to bounce dialogue off each other. Each responding to one another’s sarcasm and factitiousness.

“What’s Shropshire like?” Lily asked.

“A lot like Warwickshire, fields, grass and trees.” Nick replied, in a sarcastic tone.

“Vicky lives in the gatehouse to a mansion or something, the owners must be mega-rich.”

“Yeah, we had better be prepared to bow and tug our forelocks” Nick joked.

I will have to work on the dialogue, but you get the idea. I think Vicky and Nick could have something important in common. Nick has just lost both his parents and so I could make Vicky a orphan who lives with her grand parents, that would get the sympathy of the reader. It is important to get an emotional response from the reader, get them to love or hate the characters or maybe have mixed feelings about them. I want the reader to sympathise with Nick, he has just lost both his parents tragically and is grieving. Will the reader hope that he wins the heart of Lily or will they prefer Vicky?

Nick could just drop Lily of at her friend’s home. Why would he stay? I need a reason for him to stay on and a plausible reason too. Vicky lives in the gatehouse of a mansion with her grand parents. Nick is a gardener, maybe he could stay on, because his services as a gardener are in demand? He can live in the camper van. What about Lily, can I contrive a story that means she has to live with him in the camper van or shall I consign her to a spare room in the gatehouse? I think I shall consign her to the gatehouse to put her on equal terms with Vicky. With them both in the gatehouse and regularly visiting Nick to flirt and vie for his affection, things could get interesting. With Nick working through the summer on the garden of the big house, there would be lots of time for relationships to develop. Do I want a simple romance or something a little more demanding and frustrating for my characters? When you are writing a novel, I think you should always go for interesting and so an intriguing ménage à trois it is… Without the sex of course, but maybe I could just hint a lot at the sexual tension between them?

I haven’t decided who will live in the big house yet or how big it is. I could make it a stately home in the English Countryside. Sometimes hinting at what might happen, can make a novel quite exciting, after all in Lady Chatterley’s lover, it was the gardener who was her love interest!

I need suggestions. Where do you think the story could go from here? Please comment and make a contribution to these ideas! As always, there are more amazing blogs on the home page.

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9 responses

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