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How to write a novel | Inspiration


If you’re following my story about Nick and Lily, you will know they have travelled by camper van to Shropshire where Lily is staying with her friend from her  university days. She is staying in the lodge of a country estate with Victoria and her grandparents Matt and Margaret; while Nick stays in the camper van. I’ve started today with a woodland picture for inspiration.

The Lord of the Manor is Mr Knight; I think I will call him Terrance Knight. Last week, I tried to create the mood of the story and set the scene for some antagonism between Nick and Mr Knight. Mr Knight is doing his best to impress Lily and belittle Nick. Nick, you might remember is working for Mr Knight as an assistant to Matt, the gardener.

I need events to build up to the ante climax, that in turn leads to a the climax of the story and then it will end. I have decided that the end will be Nick and Lily finally getting together and travelling to America. Well maybe not, I’ll see how the story develops, but that will be something to go towards. Writing a story is like travelling down a path or road, like the path in today’s picture. It helps to see the gate at the end of the path and obstacles along the way, such as those logs.  I could include a walk through the woods in my story, it would be an event that would allow some dialogue.

As Nick and Lily walked along the woodland path that afternoon, the sun shone through the trees and felt warm on their faces. They heard the sound of a gun shot ahead of them.

“It sounds like Terrance the terrible will be having rabbit stew for dinner,” Nick, joked.

“The poor bunny rabbits! What have they done?” Lily laughed as she put her arm in Nick’s and they continued arm in arm, walking in the summer sunshine.

“Lets go this way,” Nick said,” steering Lily towards the path to the lodge, “I don’t want to see his bloody rabbits.”

“No need to swear!” Lily laughed again as she allowed Nick to lead her down the path.

“I wasn’t, they will be bloody!” Nick, grinned as he said it, revelling in the opportunity to cast Terrance Knight as the villain.

“I hate to see dead animals. It’s enough to drive one to become a vegetarian.” Lily continued in a soft, but serious tone.

“He’ll do the rounds later, handing them out like the tribal hunter showing off his prizes.”

“Yes, I’ll stay out the way!” Lily suddenly chirped up as she saw the lodge come into view.

Writing dialogue is difficult, especially comedy dialogue. When I have a good line, I make a note of it. Comedy comes from the clever use of words, such as the way I used the word bloody in that dialogue. I need to be careful, because although bloody is a common expletive in England, it’s not universally used as an expletive. That isn’t too important,  many Americanisms aren’t used in the UK, but we still understand them. The same applies to Australian terms – too right…

I hope this popular series of blogs is helping you understand how I build a story. It is a little random and I often write notes about dialogue that might be used later in the story. I can think up funny lines, funny names and places. I am thinking of calling the village pub, the Barmaid’s Arms; just so Nick can say something about Terrance being in the Barmaid’s Arms. 

Can you think of a funny line for one of my characters? Please comment. All contributions are gratefully received! You also find more blogs to read on the home page and on a zillion ideas.


7 responses

  1. You should call the pub the Barmaid’s Arms, I like it.
    I think us Brits are well known for our use of the word “bloody” as slang so I doubt your humour would get lost on foreign readers.

    14, November 2012 at 10:58 am

    • Hi,

      I think the Barmaid’s Arms lends itself to a few jokes. I need more humour in the story. It doesn’t need to be that funny, just the sort of things people say when they are happy to be together. People do joke a lot then. I’ll think of some lines. I’ve been quite busy just lately. Ideas tend to come at odd times, it’s better to wait for them!

      Thanks for the comment.

      14, November 2012 at 5:28 pm

      • I agree – overthinking it makes it appear less genuine and forced humour is not funny in any sense.

        14, November 2012 at 8:56 pm

  2. I was watching comedy on TV last night and there was a lot of forced humour, it wasn’t funny. It was a shame because the actors were quite good. It was just poor writing. They relied on profanity to try to shock and a writer that can’t make people laugh without resorting to stuff that is usually unacceptable shouldn’t be writing for TV. Most so called TV comedy isn’t funny now though. It’s just smutty jokes of the type teenager boys enjoy.

    15, November 2012 at 8:46 am

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