The Adventure of Writing a Book, Part 11

Writing a book is a big job, but it is also the most interesting, exciting, challenging task in the world. Just think: while you are writing, you are god. You create a universe populated with animals and people and events drawn from your own imagination and research.

You can imagine a cruel evil villain, a beautiful princess, a sweet baby, a scheming dishonest stockbroker or a witch. You decide how tall they are, how old, what color is their hair or skin. Are they educated or ignorant? Is your hero a genius or does he have Downs Syndrome? Is he addicted? Is he/she jealous, wicked, or kind and loving?

The characters in your book are in your head and they enter the world through your hands tapping the computer keyboard.  Maybe you write your rough draft in a notebook, but still your hands create your new world.  Maybe you dictate, but still it all comes down to words from your mind to the mind of the reader.

Then you manufacture the universe of your novel. Does your story unfold in the United States (city or farm or suburb)? Perhaps it all happens in a foreign country or distant planet? Is it winter, summer, hot or cold, dry or wet?  Present, past or future?

Now comes the plot: is your story an adventure, a thriller or a love story? Is it about war? Or the inner workings of an advertising agency? Perhaps your people inhabit a palace in the 14th Century or a ghetto in Nazi Germany.

Whatever you decide is fine.  YOU are in charge.    

Perhaps you want to create a three-book series like my daughter (Kim Campbell) did with her “Triple Crown Trilogy”. Her story takes place in and around the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont. She was quite ingenious in creating her world of Thoroughbred racing. The cast of characters is basically the same in each book, but the primary character changes with each one. Check it out at Two books are out, the third will be published next year.

Many authors create a primary character and then design a whole series around him (her). Perhaps it’s a detective or an explorer or a spy. If the primary character (protagonist) is believable, folks will continue to buy the books to see his (her) next adventure.

Writing is truly and adventure. When I’m really into my research or writing a rough draft, a whole day will simply fly by. I can begin at 9:00 and discover that it’s now 2:00 p.m. and I’ve missed lunch. Not every day is like that for a novelist, but the best days are.

I’m taking a break for 10 days. I will resume “The Adventure of Writing a Book” on January 2. Stay tuned and have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Kwanzaa, or Winter Solstice.

Happy New Year and continue to read and write.

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