Russell J.T. Dyer

Writer & Editor

the works and musings of an american writer in europe • Updated: Sep 10, 2017 • hits: 7472 past month

Up to Chapter Three on No Friends Novel

by Russell Dyer
published:  august 12, 2015;  revised:  september 10, 2017;  readers in past month:  42

I’ve been working on my new novel. That small notebook I started with was good, but it was temporary to get me started. My plan was to switch to the computer after about twenty pages. Instead, I decided to keep writing the novel by hand. I find that I can be more creative and stay in creative mode if I hand write it. If I switch to the computer too soon, I will spend too much time editing what I’ve already written. It’s better that I just keep writing. So I copied what I wrote in the small notebook to a larger, novel size notebook and have continued on from there. I plan to write by hand the whole first draft of the novel before I transcribe it to the computer. Then I’ll work on cleaning it up. Based on the page count of this notebook, I will probably fill two of these.

I’ve written thirty-four pages, almost three chapters. It’s going well so far, but it takes a while before I start writing fast. I have a general idea of what I want to write about, but I’m still not sure of the plot. It’s like I’m walking in an area where I never been and know little about. Soon, I’ll get a better sense of where I am and where I’m going.

I’ve spent some time thinking about the plot in general. As I said in a previous post, I’ve already determined the title based on the statistics I have learned from Google. The basis of the book, the title is a sad one—I’m still not ready to say yet—so the book starts with a sad time in the main character’s life. As a result, the first few chapters have been depressing to write. They’ve had an effect on me. I’ve experienced this before. It’s a job hazard of sorts.

I think it’s important for this novel to start sadly, but I don’t want the book to end on a sad note. Since I suspect the primary readers of this novel might feel a bit depressed about their situation and this is what will lead them to the novel, I don’t want them to feel worse for having read it. Nor do I want it to have an overly happy ending. If I did that, the reader will think, “Great, this fictional character is happy, but my life is still miserable—and now I feel worse as a result!” So I think I want the book to start with a protagonist who is sad, but life gets better for her over the course of the book, withiout it being perfect.

I’ve also decided that the protagonist will be a young woman about twenty-eight years old. She’s American and living in Philadelphia. She’s a financial analyst for an investment firm of some kind with offices also in San Francisco. That job allows her to keep to herself more than a sales or marketing job. She’s not shy, but doesn’t make friends easily. She’s an only child, and lives alone in her own apartment. She visits her parents once a week for lunch on Sunday. I haven’t decided on her name yet, but I’m using the first name of a good friend of mine and a last name that hints at her personality: Lena Demuir. This character has one friend and colleague with whom she is very close. Her name is Lexi—that’s the name of another friend of mine.

The Lena and Lexi characters have no similarities to my two friends with those names. However, I do like the balancing of the names based on their similar spelling. In actuality, the characters Lena and Lexi are similar to me. They each have components of my personality in them, but with some exaggerations. Any time you write fiction, it’s always autobiographical in part. That aspect is unavoidable and it’s also fun. It’s one of the advantages of being a novelist. You can speak from your heart in ways you might not normally, when speaking through the persona of a fictional character that is you.

Keep checking this site for my progress on this new novel. I’ll announce the title after I’ve written at least half of the book. At 30 pages, I have about 220 to go. So it’ll be awhile. Once I work out the plot, though, I’ll pick up speed.