Frank Fiore – Novelist & Screenwriter

May 26, 2013

How To Write A Novel – Environmental and Social Background

Filed under: How to Write a Novel — Frank Fiore @ 10:33 AM

When I do interviews, I’m often asked, “How did you write your novel? Who do you get started and where do you get your ideas from?”

Soon, once my 5th novel MURRAN has been put to bed and the marketing of it is on it’s way and THE ORACLE, my book of short stories is complete, I will begin in earnest writing my 6th novel. Like MURRAN, my next novel deals with the coming of age of a young boy in a different culture than his own.  In this case, an American teenager growing up in Japan during World War Two.

So here’s the next installment of how I’m writing my novel.

Every story has the challenges of describing its environmental and social realities to give it depth and the odd elements that bring the story to life.

Some examples.

What the physical location looks like. The lifestyle of the characters.  Their individual stories. Their little quirks.  The greater natural environment where the story takes place told. The local environment for each scene.

I’ve found that the best places to find this background information is in personal experiences – like blogs and travel sites – and personal biographies and interviews. The personal aspect is important here. If one used only the dry environmental and social descriptions on the Net, one ends up with some very dry information and statistics.

Don’t get me wrong. Such information is important but a story needs a personal touch. That’s why I found personal biographies and individual experiences in books and on the Net to be my best source for creating character experiences, their backgrounds, where and how they live.

Here’s an example from my current novel research.

I’m reading a very personal journal of a Japanese woman who lived before and during World War II Japan. Her description of her childhood, where she lived and of her family will help me forge better characters for my story.  Unlike my thrillers and action/adventure stories that I’ve written before, this being another mainstream fiction story, I will create composites of actual people and their experience.  I’ve found this to be quite valuable in crafting the story, plot and characters.

On the opposite extreme, I will be reading a personal diary of a Japanese General that he kept during the tumultuous times before the war and during it. His journal will provide much needed background on the political, socio-economic and military events of the time of the story since it covers before and during wartime Japan.

More to follow.  You can see the thread of these blog posts by reading the ‘How to Write a Novel’ category.



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