This isn't his first time to encourage me to write a novel. Each time NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writers Month) comes along he wants me to sign up. Held in April, July and November, people around the country attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. It's a challenge I might consider some time, if I could only come up with a story idea!
Actually, not until recently -- and particularly not until my son began to prod me -- had I really taken the idea of writing a novel seriously. But a couple of characters have begun to roam through my mind lately and I'm wondering if they might not have stories they'd like to tell.
It seems to me that character development is the most significant part of novel writing. No matter how great a plot line is, if the characters are weak the book is weak. Just in the last couple of weeks I picked up two books from the library with intriguing settings, raving endorsements, and promising plot lines, but I couldn't get past the first 30 pages of either book. The characters just didn't seem interesting. I wanted to know more about them than their hair color and home town. The authors had spent too much time introducing the complications that would be resolved as the story unfolded and too little time putting skin on the skeletons of the characters.
A couple of weeks ago my writing son and I went to a meet-up for writers in the area where people shared what they are working on. I wonder if my characters would consider stepping out of my head every month or so and appearing in print for this group to get to know. What a scary thought! But maybe it's time for them to start to grow some skin.