By A. Gavazzoni – author of Behind The Door and Lara’s Journal
It’s hard to imagine what’s behind a well-written novel. We open the pages, we read, and we think, what a great author, what an imagination.
Ah, if it were only that simple!
Writing a novel is a difficult process. It really is about blood, sweat, and tears.
Imagination is, of course, the first ingredient. First of all, we build a story in our mind, block-by-block, phrase by phrase…
Opening the writer’s mind for you—or more precisely, my writer’s mind—I can tell you I develop my stories by breathing life into the characters. I imagine them—physically, emotionally, the conversations they have—they really do live in my mind and speak to each other and to me… But it’s not so simple to translate all of that onto the page.
To create a character readers will believe in—characters that seem real—everything that character does must be grounded in reality, so I do a lot of research for every character I write about. Where does he or she live? What is his or her life like? How does he or she dress? But the research works goes further, because in my case, I write about psychiatric patients, people who deviate from normal standards, and I need a scientific basis for their behavior. I have to read books and other documents about the subject, which means long hours spent studying psychiatric behavior before I can bring these characters to life.
When it comes to characters that work within the field of law, things are easier for me, because that’s my field, too. But I’m from Brazil, and the U.S. legal system is completely different from the system in Brazil. Since my books are set primarily within the U.S., I’ve had to do additional research. I’ve also interviewed police officers in the U.S. to gather details I can use to make the story more realistic. Tell me about hard working!!
When I say the process of writing a novel requires blood and tears, I mean that if you don’t feel the emotions you are writing about, why would you expect your readers to feel them? In order to have a great emotional scene, you must feel those emotions and then translate them onto the page. While I’m writing, I cry, I laugh, and I get excited. I feel sad or happy…many emotions come to me, and if they don’t, I’m doing something wrong, and the scene isn’t working. If the words on the page don’t inspire any emotions, then I rewrite, revise, or cut—the writer must be her first critic.
The road that leads to getting published is a long one. A writer must polish what she has written to perfection. I write my manuscripts in English, but I’m not a native, so I need help. I finish a chapter, and then I send it to my wonderful editor Jill Noble-Shearer. She polishes my English, and she also points out mistakes and inconsistences, such as a gown that is blue in one chapter and pink in the next! Yes, these things happen…
It’s very hard to find a writer who has mastered everything, from creating amazing, imaginative stories to editing their own work. Trust me; you need help. Maybe you don’t need help polishing your English, but you will need someone who can offer sound advice, spot errors in the plot or characterization, and fix those pesky little grammar and spelling mistakes. Hiring a professional editor who can do all this and still allow an author’s unique voice to shine through is the best choice and worth every penny!
If you intend to be a professional author, don’t take your job lightly. Take my advice, and do your homework. Let your imagination fly, but also do your research, study, and always work to improve. The process of taking your story from your imagination to a finished manuscript is a long and hard one, but when your book is out there, and readers are buying it and giving you good reviews, it’s the best feeling in the world, and it compensates for all the hard work!
P.S. If you need more information, just send me an e-mail, it will be a pleasure to give you some tips
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