At almost 17,000 words in, I can’t hold in my excitement for the challenge I have ahead of me. Writing this next novel is going to require some thought and some time to get it all in order. There are so many moving parts to this story that I grabbed a notebook and am connecting and dissecting each character in detailed character sketches. I’ve researched what a true empath is, as the character who is an empath is the main thread within the novel. I’ve used sticky notes and pencils, diagrams and plot point outlines. My initial board that I began a couple of months ago has now been moved into a notebook, where I am keeping copious notes and changes to what I have going on in this book.
Additionally, I’m pretty lucky to have a mother who is a voracious reader. She reads a book a week, on average. With her incredible knowledge as a reader, and as a former English teacher, she is the first person I turn to when I need assistance with a sticky plot or a character development that doesn’t make sense. Yesterday, for over two hours, we sat on her lovely back porch and dissected what is going on in my new piece of writing. She will, undoubtedly, get the biggest shout-out in this book for all her help walking through the characters with me. I’m so thankful for her willingness to help me work through my issues. There are five main characters in this novel, and they all interconnect, which can be tedious and must be written well so the book isn’t hokey. You all know I’m committed to bringing you the most realistic take on characters and story I can provide.
The ability to set the novel in Annapolis (my third one that will use this setting as the backdrop) gets me excited, too. I have to find ways to showcase Annapolis, while also making my characters believable in their dwellings because they will all interact in this place. All good stuff, I think, because it means I just get to explore and stroll downtown as much as possible. (The plus to any writer who uses real locations in their novels!)
I also have to research a disability for this story. This is something I’ve never tackled before.
To sum up the current trajectory of this novel, I know this will be the most challenging of all the fictional stories I’ve written to date.
And that’s probably what has me most excited about the project. I’m already engrossed in this challenge.
Stephanie Verni is Professor of Communication at Stevenson University. She is the author of 5 works of fiction and the co-author of one academic textbook on Event Planning. Her character-driven books are set in beautiful Maryland locations and examine the realities of the human heart. Connect with her on Instagram at stephanie.verni or on Twitter at @stephverni. Or, visit her Amazon page at Stephanie Verni, Author.