Work continues on the novel, picking up steam as time goes on. Funny, I began this one about a year ago and abandoned it (like so much else) while in the midst of self-doubt. But things are moving fairly well now, which is nice.
I remember the columnist Dave Barry commenting on writing his first novel (“Big Trouble”) saying something like, “Okay. So, you put a bunch of characters together and then . . . you have to get them to DO something.”
And that's one of the daunting challenges, I suppose, just finding the right characters. Will the girl I've placed at the front desk even figure into the story? How about the guy who does light maintenance at the inn, or the two fisherman at the bar?
These are just folks I put there to do something for a moment, or are there to be someone a character I'm more certain of can talk to.
But the thing is (and you've GOT to keep telling yourself this in order to have any hope of finishing) it doesn't really matter this early in the plot whether these characters will come alive or not. And they can always be excised later if necessary.
I think it's important early on (for me, anyway) to populate the novel with lots of characters, because you never know! They might be needed later on, or become critical to the story in some way. You've just gotta keep the faith . . .
On another subject, to get some sense of how much competition there is, I've often wondered just how many people use Duotrope.
According to Duotrope, one anthology I've submitted to has about fifty submissions, but the anthology website reports that they've received over 400, which would make the percentage something less than one in ten reported to Duotrope (assuming they've had more submissions since the 400 number).
Makes sense to me!
And happy writing.