Great(er) Expectations

Not of the Charles Dickens variety, and definitely NOT of the baby variety.  But after mulling and stewing for a few weeks, I’ve finally started a new project, and, as always – I have great expectations.  A huge part of the writing process is giving birth to a whole cast of new characters, young, old and in-between. I remember the first time I heard an experienced writer describe hearing the voice of her character for the first time – her description went something like this: “I was sitting at the table, and he just came over, sat down across from me and we chatted.”

At the time, I was a highly-sceptical novice, and I’d never had that kind of out-there writing experience.  Now that I have a few full-length manuscripts under my belt, I understand what that author meant.  There has to be a moment when your characters become real 3D people to you, or the writing just won’t flow. You can’t tell somebody’s story until you get to know that person, until you can hear their words and perceive the world as they would. In other words, you need to try to detach yourself from the story and make it completely your character’s story.

I’ve just finished reading Susan Patron’s Hard Pan trilogy – The Higher Power of Lucky won the Newbery Medal a few years back. It’s so obvious that the author knew Lucky (and the other Hard Pan residents) inside and out, and that’s part of what makes them such wonderful books. The author’s voice is rarely, if ever, evident. That’s a skill I’m still working on…

Jacob’s hard at work in Duk Padiet these days and has posted a few pictures on the Wadeng Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/WadengWingsOfHope These future students are proudly modelling Wadeng t-shirts (and no doubt, helping with the building:) I’m sure Jacob’s family here in Nova Scotia is missing him terribly, but proud of him at the same time – me, too!

jacob

students

About janlcoates

I'm a Nova Scotia children's author. My first picture book, "Rainbows in the Dark", was published in 2005, by Second Story Press. My young adult novel, "A Hare in the Elephant's Trunk" was published in the fall of 2010, by Red Deer Press.
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5 Responses to Great(er) Expectations

  1. Laura Best says:

    It’s good to hear you’re ready to start all over again with a brand new story. Exciting times!

    So glad Jacob is making his dream come true. 🙂

  2. Darlene says:

    A new book project, how exciting. You certainly knew Jacob and his story very well. Best of luck as your new ‘expectation’ progresses.

  3. Wayne Foster says:

    I am so proud of you. You seem to have the true insight of a writer and you express it so clearly that one feels that your muses will guide into your next venture.We will look forward to its fruition.

    • janlcoates says:

      Thanks, Wayne, Darlene and Laura – I managed to make my way into chapter 2 this week – still trying to figure out how all the pieces of the story might intersect at some point:) And I’m still anxiously waiting to see the final cover for THE POWER OF HARMONY (May, 2013).

  4. Appreciated your thoughts here about the start of a new project and listening deeply to your characters.

    Also appreciated your comments on my little blog post over at the bent agency blog, which I just saw. 🙂

    Best of luck with the beginning and beyond…

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