The first draft of my latest novel, A Ghost in My Suitcase is almost complete. Only one more chapter to go. I’ll work on that today. The next stage is refining, editing, chopping, making sentences sound more beautiful. This is the stage I like the most.
My secondary character, Ting Ting, who I just recently discovered, has definitely enhanced the story. She used to be a male university student called Kai, but that didn’t work because there was no tension between him and the main character, Little Cloud, so Kai has become Ting Ting and now she’s a sullen fifteen year old. She has become a major character with big problems of her own to overcome. That’s what can happen when you write a novel. The characters can go through a major gender change. You can only plan your story up to a certain point before other things take over like when characters appear out of nowhere. Tolkien talks of this happening too. Some of his characters wrote themselves into The Lord of the Rings.
Little Cloud is the name of my main character. She is the cousin of Jin and Maisie who appear in my book, The Pearl of Tiger Bay(Penguin 2004). A Ghost in My Suitcase is the first book I have written in the first person. It means you can really get inside your main character’s head.
If you have any writing experiences of your own you would like to share, feel free to add a comment to this blog.
9 thoughts on “A Ghost in My Suitcase blog”
Wow! Thats really interesting that a character will just appear like that. Where do you think they come from?
Yes it is really interesting! Who knows where these characters – who just appear out of nowhere – come from? Some cultures believe that there is a real world close to us, one that can only be reached by using your imagination as a pathway. And you know that you have arrived there when you look around and everything seems “more real than real” if you know what I mean.
I know some books feel “more real than real” when I read them.
Well, perhaps these are the books that speak to something deep inside you and give you a type of food that you need.
I think some of the stories people read generation after generation are like this, like Shakespeare or Dante, or Lord of the Rings, or even the Wizard of Oz. I know Tolkien talked about the Land of Faerie, and about how a book can carry some of the magic from that land. And who knows? Maybe that is where those characters come from, when they walk out of faerie and into our stories.
I can’t wait to read it! When will it be out?
Ghost in My Suitcase will be out next year.
The writing process is a long one. Once a book is written which usually takes me about one year, it has to go through a lot of stages before you see it out in the bookshops. First it has to be accepted by a publisher which is always an uncertainty. But once it is accepted then the editing stage begins. At this time the editor might suggest changing whole scenes or deleting chapters. They might say there’s not enough tension in a certain spot or this minor character needs a more major role etc. etc. As an author, you can get very wrapped up in your own story, therefore you need someone outside of yourself to make comments. This is called a structural edit. Once that stage is finished then comes the checking for spelling mistakes and wrong grammar.
Sometimes, even though there is so much careful checking beforehand, you will still find mistakes in books.
wow!!! i love reading your books there so good…
i hope your latest one get published soon
i cant wait to read it
hi im sarah, i have read your book, and loved every moment of it. i would just like to ask ur opinion about whether this book is worthwhile read for year 7 students and why. get bak to me. sarah x
Hi Sarah, Although the text is simple the issues and themes are not. Loss and grief, cooperation, jealousy, belonging, the environment, family. Therefore I think it is a suitable read for Year 7 students and especially reluctant ones.
I’m wondering if you are a teacher. If so, you can look at the Teacher’s Notes on the Ghost in My Suitcase page https://www.gabriellewang.com/books/a-ghost-in-my-suitcase/
If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask.