I’ve written two novels, one of which I’ve revised a few times already (and the other is a mess, but I’ll get to it eventually). The process of revising has taught me that I work a lot easier with material that already exists. Pulling new things out of my head in some kind of organized, decisive fashion seems more difficult than it should be.
Take the sequel I’m trying to write, for instance. Pushed out 20k words of amazingness while I had the drive and then got distracted by revisions on the original (to give myself credit, there were some major things I wanted to change in #1 that would have made a huge difference in how things progressed with #2. Already updated you guys on that one, though).
Then I tried again. Started an outline, even. The outline covered at least half the storyline. Should have been easy to follow, right? Hahaha. Another 20k words in and I stopped again.
Now I’m on the third attempt. Writing anything new in it is killing me. I know the general outcome of the story. That’s not the issue. The issue is that, past a certain point, I’m not entirely sure how I want to get there, and there are some scenes in both draft attempts that I’d like to smoosh together in order to make beautiful scene babies.
How do I want to proceed with this character? How is that one going to affect my protagonist? Do I want this guy in the story, or that one? Dafuq would happen if they were both there? Who is going to be present at the critical moment of my protag’s transformation? How the hell is that transformation going to go? Because this could totally happen, or it could all go completely wrong and that happens. I can imagine lots of different variances in my storyline, and all of them look equally appealing to me. The problem is they don’t mesh well. Some of them are complete opposites.
BRAIN, WHY YOU GOTTA BE SO INDECISIVE?
Ugh. It’s times like this I doubt my ability to be a dedicated writer. I’m a voracious reader, and I know all too well the frustration of waiting for the next book in a series to appear. I don’t want to be one of those writers that makes people wait too long. I don’t have the following and fan loyalty to get away with it. Though I also know that doubt is part of what holds me back.
I gotta get out of this funk, y’all. Think some rawr motivation thoughts at me. Grr, argh, flex! Screw you, brain stickies.
I did it. I finally went back and changed the ending to book 1, because I was hella stuck on my outline for book 2. The Almighty Douchebag was brought back from the dead by way of not killing him in the first place. I even twisted the knife by giving him a parting line that made my protagonist want to burst into tears. Epic level assholery. This means all kinds of bad things for her in book 2, of course. I’m grinning like an idiot over here, you guys. An evil idiot.
There are so many fun possibilities for my outline now. Mallory, my protag, is spiraling into Everything Is Shit Land, and throwing The Almighty Douchebag into the mix again right when she’s at a super low point will just tip her over the edge. It changes the dynamic completely. She’s been having nightmares about the other guy she killed and everyone else that died in book 1, so she’s not exactly in a good place to begin with, and now she’ll have something else to freak out about. Tee hee!
Yeah. I need help. >.>
Along with all this rampant buzzkill for Mallory, I’m also going to be posting a prompt a day for NaNoWriMo. I decided to run with a disaster theme. Every day I’ll give my writer buddies over on G+ a small situation for them to apply to their story in some way. Day one’s prompt could be something like “your character’s microwave (or other convenient food cooker / materializer) breaks during breakfast.” Day two something could explode. Day three someone could steal your character’s mode of transportation (car, bike, space ship, horse, whatevs). If nothing else it’ll be a great exercise in creativity for me, but I hope it helps at least a few people keep up their word count.
How are your NaNoWriMo outlines coming along? Still excited for November? I know I am!
Remember that post I made a couple of weeks ago about writer’s block, and how one of the causes can be that something else has my attention?
Yeah. I’ve entertained goals of writing new prose, or revising a different story that badly needs it. Problem is, I never get very far. Why?
Because my werewolves won’t leave me alone. (Beware: spoilers ahead)
I don’t mean that literally, or even in the sense that these characters might have a life of their own inside my head. I know they don’t. But sometimes I get hyper focused, or obsessed, and when that happens with a story I have a really hard time letting those characters go until their story is exactly how I want it. (You all know what a pitfall that can be. Nothing is ever perfect.)
I thought the latest round of revisions meant I was done, at least until an editor could take a look at it and give me some pointers about where to take the story, or what to cut, etc etc. Except I think my subconscious already figured that out and I’m just not listening. I want to work on other things, not revise this one story into the ground. I don’t want to be a one hit wonder! Let me work on other things, already!
But I can’t let this go. I can’t. So I’m going to talk it out, because that’s the only thing I can do right now besides revise an already revised story.
So what’s bothering me about my latest round of revisions? The ending, for one. It’s off. There’s too much “just focus on the fact that you lived.” She doesn’t have a major breakdown, and she really should. I mean, she killed two people. Some others died. One of those personal kills was too high level for her. She wasn’t there yet, emotionally or mentally. Level 60 protagonist, meet the level 85 dungeon villain. I hate to break it to you, but you wouldn’t have killed him. That’s one of the things I need to revise. I just need to go with it. No happy endings here. It all needs to end in disaster… I just need to be brave enough to write it like that.
Second, my main villain is just all over the place. He needs more. Perhaps some conversations with the protagonist. Maybe one where she doesn’t know who he is, and then maybe a couple where she does. He’s not convincing to me, and if he’s not convincing to me, he’s not going to convince the readers.
Third, I think I have too much going on. The dragons just need to be pulled. It’s a minor sub plot insertion because I’m going somewhere major with it in book 2, but I don’t need to drop so much into the story line in book 1. References should be fine without adding a mystery plot that isn’t realized within the one story.
Speaking of unresolved plots (this is the part where you skip if you don’t like spoilers), my protagonist doesn’t ever go full wolf, and that’s never explained. I know when it’s resolved in the character’s timeline, but that timeline extends further than book 1. Which is fine, unless I never have a conversation about it, which I don’t. The question is asked, and no one answers, or even speculates (to be fair, no one has a lot of time to sit around thinking about these things). I’m thinking it really needs to be answered in one way or another, which might mean bumping the rest of the story to hit that part of the timeline.
All of these possibilities mean my story is going to bloat… by at least 10k words. I’m at 90k now. These revisions might take me into the 110k’s. A little bit big for a first novel. Means I’ll be paying more for editing services, and means will have more work to do myself before it gets to the point where I want to send it to an editor.
I think I’m okay with that, though. Never could do anything the easy way. So point for you, werewolves. I’ll get started this week.
So this actually happened in a conversation yesterday (the piece here listed under “general notes”). After speaking with a few people in last night’s G+ hangout, I decided to plot this thing and see where my imagination took me.
It kidnapped me you guys. My imagination kidnapped me.
So the method I’m trying here is phase writing. Short paragraph describing what happens in a scene, continued on and on until the whole novel is plotted in short hand. When I’m ready to write the draft these small paragraphs will turn into scenes anywhere from 500 words to 5000 words long. It all depends on how much fun I have playing with the characters.
It looks like I might have a lot of fun. Here’s what I have so far. If you guys have any ridiculous suggestions please throw them at me. I’d love to hear your silly ideas for other secondary characters, potential sea battles, random plot points, and general shenanigans.
- “I should write a story where the protag and antag fall in love and the protag joins the side of evil.”
- “Hot guy with tentacles (he hides them in a sweatshirt) is part of the evil invading army of sea creatures who are about to re-take the earth for their own. Protag lady could be interested, find out he’s evil, fight him for a while, and then say eff it and they both run away together and the earth gets taken over by sea creatures.”
1) Ellie meets Marius Kraken in the grocery store and sees one of his tentacles. He runs, afraid he’s been discovered. Later in the day Ellie bumps into him on the beach (still wearing his sweatshirt). He tries unsuccessfully to dodge her questions and agrees to a date.
2) Ellie notices strange news reports about sea creatures amassing in crucial water zones around the world. Kraken is distracted on their date, but perks up when Ellie talks about the weird ocean shenanigans. When she tries to walk him home he brushes her off.
3) Ellie takes crap from no one. She finds him again the next day to give him a piece of her mind and sees him murdering an “innocent” bystander. Kraken is forced to trust her and makes a deal for her silence: three more dates and he has to make sure she survives the invasion.
4) Shark attacks, jellyfish stings, and other sea injuries skyrocket in just a few days. Ellie pries Kraken’s plan from him, decides she should probably fight on behalf of humanity, and takes him hostage. Their next date is super awkward.
5) The leader of the squidman army tracks down Kraken and frees him, leaving Ellie with no leverage and no third date. They send an assassin after her and she kills him mostly by accident (she intended to keep him as another hostage).
6) Kraken comes back to keep his end of the deal and warn Ellie of the pending first attack. Ellie uses this information to sabotage their plans, and Kraken has a serious fight with Ellie over it. That stunt set them back several days in their master plan. Ellie tells him about the assassin, which he didn’t send.
7) Ellie and Kraken’s third date is charged with sexual tension. Ellie asks about his tentacles. She’s still interested in him in spite of his plans for world domination… or maybe because of those plans? She goes home very confused.
8) More news reports of whales and giant squids refusing to let large naval vessels leave their harbors (all nations). Injuries, deaths, and marine sabotage now also plague lakes, ponds, and rivers (all nations). Kraken disappears for a few days and Ellie gathers reinforcements.
Sorry for the extended absence. I’ve been editing my butt off (if it only worked like that… am I right, ladies?)
After a month’s worth of an unintended editing hiatus , I hit my stride again. Knocked out Chapter 6 on Wednesday and zoomed through Chapter 7 last night slash this morning. As per the beta readers’ feedback, I’m revisiting the beginning of Chapter 6, but since I know now where I’m going with it that shouldn’t be to hard. Also helps that it’s an exciting part of the story. It just got serious up in here.
To hold you over until I have the time and desire to write something that isn’t revision-related, here are the titles of my chapter scenes (subject to change as I edit) (also if anyone knows how to make tables in these posts please drop a comment):
Drunken Shenanigans Follow Your Nose
The Morning After Here’s My Card
It’s More Serious Than You Think Wait, There’s More?
House Arrest Get A Clue
Well Then The Animal Inside
Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover It’s Getting Hot In Here
Bad Dreams It’s A Trap!
Waking Nightmares Hide And Seek
The Meeting You Did What?
I’m Outta Here The Last Straw
Guard Duty The Game Plan
Confrontations Hunting Party
Not Just A Dream Do Or Die
Secrets Convenient Endings
There are many strange things residing in my imagination. You know, besides werewolves. A lot of it is action-packed, violent (gory, even), emotional, dramatic, and downright hilarious. I think to myself, self, what kinds of things do I like to read? Do more of that. What do I not like to read? Do less of that. This means I have some seriously kick ass scenes waiting to be put into print, or already in print and awaiting more attention, but it also means that between those exciting scenes is a lot of filler I don’t really want to write (at least until I figure out how to make it interesting). For those of you who haven’t figured it out yet, I have a raging case of ADD. As a result, I have many more abandoned projects than completed projects.
There aren’t many works-in-progress that have made it past the 20k mark (my general stuck point), but once something flies over that mark I have officially confirmed interest in it as a completed novel. Lucky for you guys there are more than one of those sitting around in various stages of completion. If you’re wondering what goes on in my imagination, this is it:
Novel 1: What happens if a college girl has a one night stand with a werewolf? Mass murder, that’s what.
Progress: Final stage of revisions. 90k.
What next?: Send it out into the world to find its mate (publishers) and reproduce (money!).
Novel 2: Sequel to novel 1. Mallory hasn’t learned that avoiding responsibility gets her into bigger trouble. She leaps out of the werewolf frying pan into the dragon fire.
Progress: 13k nail-biting words (out of 90k? 100k? 120k?)
What next?: Finish it? lol
Novel 1: Who knew a temp job could be so dangerous?
Progress: Rough draft. 55k.
What next?: First round of edits.
Novel 1: As yet unnamed cyborg girl comes to life in an off-grid laboratory, intent on avenging her own death. Unfortunately, the world has other plans.
Progress: 34k (out of 90-120k)
What’s next?: Figure out where I was going with it and finish.
There is one more project which hasn’t yet made it past the 20k mark, but it also won’t get out of my head. I have a fantastic character ready to go (and a hella interesting beau for her) but no story for her rock a presence. There hasn’t been that “click” moment to give me that jump I need in motivation, and without that, she’ll just continue to live in my imagination and the small scene snippets I’ve written out. All I can say about her is that she has the ability to see raw magic, and it isn’t because of an advanced human trait, special lineage, or anything like that. She can see raw magic because of a genetic defect.
Now, on to finish my revisions.