- About the Author
- On Active Service
So you’re probably wondering how the new novel is progressing. Well, despite the sunny weather luring us outside so much of the time, I am making good progress. It presently stands at 12,755 words and I’m part way through the third chapter.
However, as any writer will tell you progress is not solely governed by the word count. It can take an hour sometimes to write a few sentences as you struggle to make sure the dialogue sounds natural or that it is something your protagonist would actually say under the circumstances.
It’s amazing how the characters can change as you write you book, they do things you don’t expect, they take you over, you live, breathe and dream them. I’ve even found myself talking to my husband about things they have done as though they are real people (he finds it very confusing!)
I’m lucky that I don’t have a lot of research to do in my writing: most of my novels are based locally and are written on subjects within my personal experience, but there is still a certain amount of background work to do. You have to know your characters well, not just the colour of their hair and eyes, their build, whether they’re attractive or not, but where they went to school, how many brothers and sisters they have, their relationship with their parents, what they like to eat. You probably won’t include any of this in your book but you need to have it always at the back of your mind when you’re writing about them.
Then there’s plot and chronology. I assume some writers plan all this in advance, chapter by chapter, but I certainly don’t. I start with a basic story, work out my characters, and the chapters just seem to happen naturally as each incident occurs.
I am trying a slightly different style in this book. Since my genre is women’s commercial literature I have previously always written from the female viewpoint but I have decided this time to include a male voice. I am finding this challenging, but I am enjoying the challenge and it is certainly interesting trying to see things from a masculine perspective.
One of the main protagonists I am using features in a short story I had in mind and I am now considering incorporating this story into the main novel, instead of writing it separately. The two plots are quite different and I’m not sure if it would work, but it would add depth and a new angle and may improve the whole book. I will keep you posted!
Bethany Askew is the author of five novels:
The Time Before, The World Within, Out of Step, Counting the Days and Poppy’s Seed.
She has also written a short story, The Night of the Storm, and she writes poetry.
Future projects include a new short story, this one for the young adult market, and another full-length novel.
In her spare time she enjoys reading, music, theatre, walking, Pilates, dancing and voluntary work.
Bethany is married and lives in Somerset.