I’m about to dig into the revisions my editor and agent have suggested for my next book, (How To Bake A Perfect Life, out in January). It’s a complex story with a fairly large cast of characters and a complicated time structure. The tale is set in a bakery, more specifically a boulangerie, which is breads rather than pastries, so I spent the entire winter growing and testing various methods of sourdough starters, Old World and New, and testing the recipes I will include. Two other threads required tremendous amounts of research in areas I sort of thought I understood, meth addition (horrific) and the journey of a wounded soldier from Afghanistan to home.
90% of all that worked pretty well. The giant color-coded post-it notes seem to have done their job, as well as the giant pieces of butcher paper stuck to every wall and door available.
What does need work is a thread that I should have been able to write in my sleep: the characterization of one main character. Because I’ve spent the past few days rereading the (bland) arc of her character and deciding how to layer in her true journey, it seemed a good discussion topic for the day.
Most of the arc is there, buried or only mentioned or simply still in my head instead of on the page. (That can happen when you’ve lived with a book for a year or better—you think you wrote something that isn’t there.) My job is to uncover and bring forward the things that will make this character as compelling for you as she is for me. [Read more…]