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!
You guys. I have no idea what this outline is doing. lol
Peeps gone missing. New roomie getting all attacked by werewolves and not freaking out about it as much as she should (because, you know, she almost died). Divorces. Strangely attractive lone wolves. Sudden interest in sexytiems from my male lead (he’s been resisting up until this point).
As I look over it tonight, I also notice there’s no discernible timeline. I mean, yes, there’s a general character development thing happening, but I mean actual day/week time. I have absolutely no idea what the time span is for these events. At one point I wrote that the roomie went away for a weekend and I was like… are we even at a weekend yet? What is going on here? I don’t even know.
That could even be a good thing, though. Maybe I’ll just let it go on its merry little way into some dark, sinister forest path that leads to doom and evil rainbows. With fluffy killer bunnies. Because I can.
Kidding! …. maybe >.>
Still don’t know who my bad guy is. That’s alright. He or she (or it) will reveal themselves at some point. I’ve been toying with the possibility that the antagonist could be human this time around. Nothing scarier than a vanilla human with a fanatic drive to make the world right, eh? Damned werewolves all up in his homeland making life difficult. Get off my lawn!
Those of you that are plotting, how are your efforts coming along? Got some nice research? Mapped out some scenes? Organized your note cards? Had a panic yet about whether or not to even do your planned story?
I need chocolate.
It’s like pantsing a novel during NaNo, except without all the randomly fun scenes and none of the excitement. I get all the frustration of not knowing where I’m going without the benefit of being amused at what I wrote (especially if I know I’m not going to keep it because it’s that ridiculous).
I’ve played in the scene sandbox a few times and come up with a new character for book 2. She just kind of… appeared. Dumped on my protag like “here, she’s your responsibility. Have fun.” Except I’m mostly like which is pretty much what my protag did too.
I also have no idea who my villain is this time around. In the first book it was so easy. OMG serial killing werewolf! Run for your lives! Now it’s like… oh no, I have to set up the guest bedroom for this random character. The horror!
Should my villain be another werewolf? Should they be a human? Should they be horribly sympathetic, as in the villain and my protag might be buddies under different circumstances? Should one of my protag’s friends flip and become an antagonist for some legitimate reason, where the resolution will not be a win for anyone?
Or should I just focus on the relationships of the characters this time around? I gotta tell you, I really need to get my characters between the sheets already. You could….
Osnap. Hold on. I just had an idea. Hmm.
Oh. Oh, that is evil.
No villain ideas yet, but damn if I didn’t just think of a way to turn my protag’s world upside down. This could be interesting. I’ll get back with you in a few days. In the mean time, if you have any tips for outlining without a clear villain and an undetermined ending, please leave them in the comments! I need your thinks!
PS – because I am evil, and you need giggles: Jurassic Park remix
And I have a battle plan.
I sat down over the last couple of days to work out a schedule for myself. The schedule is to keep up with everything I’m currently doing, plus leave room for all the extra writing I’ll need to do in the next two months. That includes an hour of solid, uninterrupted writing time from 9-10pm every night, and some fail safes to make sure I don’t get obsessed, lose sleep, and sacrifice productivity (because it’ll happen if I’m not careful).
(Like right now, when I meant to write this almost 3 hours ago and be in bed already.)
Here it is in a nutshell. In the next few days I want to take one more look at my query letter and synopsis, spend not more than 2 days on either of them, and find a few places to submit the werewuff novel to by Monday. Then I’m going to put those aside, and…
Begin outlining. I’ll probably tackle some character sheets and hammer out the first quarter to a third of the story line. Might try Snowflaking it, or Phasing it, or even using the cheat sheet I found for the Hollywood formula. Whatever will get me going. Since I’m currently planning to use my existing world with existing characters I won’t need to reinvent the wheel, though I will need to figure out those characters’ development for this particular story. Might take a couple of sandbox scenes to get a feel for where I’m going, but I should be able to get a good start. Then…
I’ll use the weekend to look over my outline notes so far, and attack some of my muses for some brainstorming. You know who you are. Consider this fair warning 😉
For week two I want to get through the next chunk of planning. Another quarter or third, which will get me to halfway or 2/3 through the outline. Really want to shoot for the 2/3 mark so I have time to rip it apart towards the end of the month and do some last minute research (if necessary). Again, I’ll use the weekend for review and muse abuse. Might take some time this second week to submit werewuffs again but that’ll depend on how busy I am and whether or not I’m feeling burnt out from outline madness. Which means…
In week three I want to get through most of the outline. If outlining is anything like writing the actual novel (and I wouldn’t know, because this is my first serious effort at outlining) the middle will be the most difficult to get through. If by this point I’ve made it through the middle slog of “wtf am I doing?” I should be able to pick up speed this week and get pretty close to finished with a rough outline. This is good, because…
Week four is going to be full of last minute panics as I try to make sure the outline I have is suitable for November’s frenzied writings. I specialize in coming up with spontaneous inspiration, so either I’ll spit polish the outline, or I’ll just have to wing it during the actual writing. Which will probably happen anyway, because I have an unfortunate habit of not following the plan. I want to avoid that this time though. No abandoning the plans.
If it turns out the planning won’t take me all month I want to plot a second book. I want to pick up my albino story again soon. It’s unique enough that I should be able to write and sell it a lot easier than my werewuffs. Also, that character has been ignored for far too long. She’s done taking up head space. She needs to be out in the world. Be free, nameless character. Go forth and make bad guys shake in their boots.
Be back in a few days to let you all know how I plan to work NaNo into my schedule this year. As much as I’d like it, I don’t think I could write 1667 words in just the one hour a night I’m allowing for writing in October. I’ll need a good two hours per day. Three, if I’m feeling especially unproductive (but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that). Those of you with kids and full time jobs, what did you do to succeed at NaNo? I haven’t pulled off a legitimate 50k since having the little man.
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.