I’m flying off to Melbourne today for the first phase of my 2015 Supanova adventure – woohoo! I’ll be updating my Instagram (https://instagram.com/lynettenoni/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/lynettenoni) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/lynette.noni) accounts with all the happenings over the next few days, so stay tuned to hear all about the awesomeness! And if you happen to be in Melbourne (especially for the event), pop by to see me because I would love to meet you!
Why did the chicken cross the road? This is a well-known question, one most people have heard as the beginning of a joke (or an attempted joke) at least a few times in their lives. There are many different answers but all of them stem from the same original question, a question that, when stripped apart and taken away from the “joke”, is all about motivation. So, why did the chicken cross the road? The better question is, why did the chicken want to cross the road? Or even, did the chicken want to cross the road? Because therein lies the true answer of why the chicken crossed the road.
Now, hands up who’s still with me?
Good. Let’s move on.
Characters are like chickens. (At least for the purposes of this blog post.) Every character we create has to be written for a reason, they have to have a specific motivation for why they do what they do. Why, exactly, are they the perfect person to fit the role we place them in? This isn’t just important for the major characters—it’s also important for the minor characters. Even the cameo performances need to be written for a reason, with the correct motivations. But of course, as fundamental as it is for the minor characters, it’s absolutely essential for the major characters.
A question we writers have to constantly keep in mind when we’re writing is this: why is my protagonist my protagonist?
Think about it—what is so special about them that they should have an entire book (or series) dedicated to their life? That is a lot of words, time, energy, love, and all the rest to give to someone, fictional or not. So we’d better make sure we’re giving it to the right person!
I’m currently working on a new novel and I’m at a place where I know who my main characters are and why they are my main characters, and I also have my secondary characters developed as well. What I don’t have and what I keep asking myself every day is this:
Why are my bad guys, bad guys? And what makes my good guys, good guys? What if, actually, my bad guys are really the good guys, and the good guys think they’re good guys but they’re actually the bad guys?
I’ll tell you, it’s totally doing my head in! And that’s because I can’t cement down the good-vs-bad motivations for my characters. I can’t figure out why they’re motivated to do the things they’re doing. There needs to be some grand purpose, some huge reason for why they’re acting the way they’re acting. It’s so challenging because I’m more of an all-or-nothing writer. I love writing fantasy because you can make up that the protagonist has the power to save the entire world—and because it’s fantasy, that can be ‘believable’ in the scope of the general concept. But the novel I’m working on at the moment is set in the real world, so I can’t exactly say that the main characters are doing what they’re doing to save the entire world—just a part of it. And if it’s only saving a part of it, then are the bad guys really all that bad? Why aren’t their motivations larger than what they currently are? Don’t they have any aspirations to take on the entire world? (And then the questions spiral until they make the entire concept outlandishly unrealistic.)
You see my problem? So it all comes back to motivation. And, apparently, chickens. (*Head Bang*)
Oh, wow. Yesterday was beyond a doubt one of the best days of my entire life! I honestly could not have imagined a more perfect day – in every way, from beginning to end, and everything in between! I don’t even know where to start, but I’ll do my best to not leave anything out. So, here goes!
The day started with a morning flight from the Sunshine Coast to Sydney… and even just arriving at the airport was fantastic. Airports have such a ‘feel’ about them, you know? It’s almost like there’s a sense of anticipation in the air; the knowledge that you’re about to embark on a fabulous adventure. But airports also mean waiting time, so I found my way to my happy place while I waited for my boarding call:
Then it was up, up, and away, before arriving in Sydney to miserable, rainy weather (but really, even a little rain couldn’t dampen my mood!). The moment I turned my phone back on I had a text message from the driver service that had been hired to collect me, and in all my dorkishness I managed to sneak a photo without looking like too much of a weirdo (and, hey, at least I managed to hold back from asking him if I could keep the sign with my name on it! Total restraint on my part!).
My driver, Geoff, was fabulous and very chatty in the best possible way. He also used his hands a lot to talk, which would have been concerning what with them not being on the steering wheel, but he seemed to know how to drive perfectly well without hands, so I who was I to argue with his methods? (Exhibit A:)
Anyway, let me skip ahead to the amazing parts!
So, Geoff dropped me off in Neutral Bay (I still have no idea where I was, but I did get a glimpse of the Harbour Bridge at one stage, so I know I was definitely in Sydney somewhere)…
… And once I was alone outside the office building, the nerves hit me like a freight train carrying a load of drunk elephants. I’m pretty sure I was actually shaking! The good news was, I was so determined not to forget a moment of the trip that I was taking photos left, right, and centre, so I managed to take a photo of the sign that gave the suite numbers for which offices were where, so when I reached the second floor and my brain totally froze, I just pulled out my phone and looked at the photo to see the suite number. Score one for my OCD-photo-taking. (That said, it turned out that the office was really well signed so I didn’t need the photo-suite-number-help in the end anyway).
Anyway, I buzzed on the door and almost immediately it was opened and I was in the room being bombarded by smiles and handshakes and welcomes-galore. I’m not kidding when I say that within seconds I was completely enamoured. Everyone was just so out-of-this-world nice! No, ‘nice’ doesn’t even do them justice. Because they were definitely nicer than nice! I could continue on about their awesomeness forever (seriously!), but I won’t because, well, that’s slightly weird. So, moving on…
I’m skipping heaps here because obviously we chatted for hours about them, about the company, about me, about my books, about the future, about all kinds of random other things like psychopaths and dreaming in black-and-white (don’t ask!)… We went off on tangents all over the place but always circled back around to the whole point of the meeting. (And, omigosh, did I mention how beyond-nice they all were?! I’d been previously told that working alongside them would be “like a warm hug”, and I can officially say I was definitely feeling that! Toasty warm hugs all-round!).
Umm… I just totally got off track…
So, yeah, there was food and drinks and talking and laughter mixed in with seriousness and all the other really important things… And we talked about cover design and editing and marketing and publicity and… wow… just all the amazingly exciting things. I’m sure I probably looked like an idiot because I was smiling so much, but I couldn’t help it! It was all just so perfect! Everything they said was exactly what I needed to hear! And at the end when they offered for me to go and think about it, I already knew without a shadow of a doubt that I was more than happy (ecstatic, even) with everything in every way, shape and form.
… So, I signed the contract!!
And now I’m officially part of the Pantera Press family! And I could not be happier! They broke out the champagne and we rushed through the signing and the toasting and the photos because I needed to hurry to get back to the airport, so we were swept up in this crazy whirlwind of ‘sign here’, ‘drink this’, ‘photo now’… and it was insane… but because it was so insane, it was also perfect! I was given a goody bag (I LOVE goody bags!) and hugs (I LOVE hugs even more than goody bags!) and a non-promise-promise was fulfilled in regards to a certain person (who will probably murder me if I mention names) singing a Disney song which totally was the icing on the top of an already beyond-amazing day.
I’m not kidding – I could not have dreamed of a more perfect day. And I have a pretty creative imagination! I’m still on Cloud Nine – and I’m sure I will be for a looooong time yet!!
So, I want to say a huge, huge, HUGE thank you to everyone at Pantera Press for making my dreams come true – and also for simply being so indescribably lovable. I cannot wait for the next step in our journey together!
I also want to say thank you so much to all you loyal bloggers who have been bombarding me with encouragement, support and congratulations. I’m so excited that you’re sharing this adventure with me – and I look forward to updating you on the next instalment! In the meantime, feel free to go and check out my AMAZING NEW PUBLISHERS! You can find their website here: http://www.panterapress.com.au/ and their Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/PanteraPress