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.
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.
Sorry about the break in posts. Now back to your regularly scheduled mayhem! Part 3 of 4 in the werewolf tropes post series. Also, long post is long.
Almost as common as the moon is the modern interpretation that, as a supernatural being able to change its form, a werewolf should be able to use that shape shifting to regenerate and heal its injuries. Not gonna lie, it’s a damn cool concept. I don’t want to see it go away for a while. There’s just so much possibility.
Unfortunately, very few people realize just how much possibility there is with regeneration. Not all of it is good. Lemme ‘splain. (Side note: I was talking about this with someone else and don’t remember who it was. Speak up if it was you!)
When werewolves change form there are a lot of muscles, bones, tendons, and possibly some different cell types that get moved around, broken down, and reformed into the appropriate structures. It’s done in a very short period of time. Most literature and media portray the transformation as happening in a matter of minutes (again, an exception would be Ginger Snaps). That is a huge energy expenditure. I imagine there is a lot of heat and friction. Where all that heat and friction goes no one has yet addressed, including myself. Might be fun to speculate later, though. I’ll save it for another post.
With the werewolf’s body reacting so quickly to a change, and with the assumed high metabolism that goes along with it, one might think the body would react strangely to other “natural” occurrences. What happens if a werewolf gets a virus? Or a bacterial infection? Do the body’s defenses go into hyper kill mode to destroy the invading sickness? (Not that it’s likely they’ll get infected in the first place, but anything is possible. Technically we’re talking about a creature that doesn’t even exist. Just run with me here for a minute.)
My thought is yes. Werewolf catches the flu and they’ll still have to fight it off… they’ll just fight it faster than others. Maybe there is a dangerous fever spike as the body cleans itself. The virus or bacteria won’t have much time to replicate, sure, but the werewolf’s system is still going to overreact. Or what if there is an overreaction to an allergy? A poor werewolf allergic to penicillin gets a small dose from the hospital and boom! The body goes crazy. Where a normal human might just get a rash or feel a little strange, the werewolf might die.
The big, bad wolf could die of a minor allergy or infection. How humiliating.
This kind of overreaction wouldn’t be common, of course. Then there wouldn’t be any werewolves. They’d all pull an alien trope and die of a common cold. But the potential is still there, and I’d love to see someone address it. I don’t get the chance in my current novel. Too much other fun stuff happening in the story. Maybe the sequel?
So… back to regular regeneration talk. What is generally acceptable? Cuts, bruises, and broken bones tend to mend well without issue. This is generally accepted by authors and readers as reality for werewolves. I’ve read a few books where the regeneration process was used against the werewolf, such as not setting a broken bone and letting it “heal” in a crippling form, or using fire to cauterize an open wound so that there will always be a scar or permanent dysfunction. Cruel authors are cruel.
Regrowing entire limbs is a little excessive, though. Laurell K. Hamilton even had one of her shifters regrow its whole head! (Okay, so it was an ancient shifter, but come on. Really? A whole head? That’s just cheating.)
So what do mine do? All the minor stuff is no sweat. Might make them tired, but yes, they’ll heal cuts and bruises no problem. Broken bones aren’t going to instantly heal. That might take a day or two depending on how severe the break is. Super serious life-threatening injuries? You better believe my werewolves are lying down somewhere in a coma until that heals. The last thing I want to see is a werewolf deus ex machina where the should-be-dead wolf rises up one more time to lay the smack down on their enemy. No. Just no. You’re injured, act like it!
Badass, yes. Invincible, no. There always has to be a vulnerability, a way to beat the monsters, or the average reader loses interest. It becomes unrealistic.
If you have any favorites or hate-its about werewolf tropes, please leave a comment.
The next post will probably be another poll, but part 4 of this post series is coming soon. Last up: The Pack, and all the silly that goes with it.
Welcome back, little minions! Tonight’s article continues from the master list. I did a write up about moon tropes and what I did with them. Now it’s time to explore the product of the moon’s power over werewolves: their wolf form. Sorry, no TLDR note. If you don’t want to read it now, just come back later. It will still be here! 🙂
This has been all over the place in literature and cinema. You name it, it’s been done. Hideous man-wolf that has a more humanoid body. Fugly man-wolf that looks mostly like a wolf with maybe some gorilla arms or hands or something. Impossibly large, full form wolf. Normal sized wolf with demon eyes. Some kind of creature that doesn’t look like either a wolf or a man, but it’s got some teeth and fur and by God it wants to kill something. Mostly human looking dudes with extra hair, a funny nose, and some fangs. There’s a werewolf form out there for everyone’s preferences.
No one can agree on personality, either. Is the werewolf sentient? Does it know it’s a human in a wolf’s body? Is it fully aware but unable to control its actions? Is it completely unaware and consumed by rage at everything around it? In the last 2-3 decades it’s been much more popular to have the werewolf be in control of its actions, though it annoys me some of the things people think are real wolf “instincts.” Real wolves do not kill everything they perceive as threats. They don’t hunger for the kill all the time. And they don’t mindlessly attack, either. Real wolves are patient planners, and they often avoid threats rather than confront them. That doesn’t make for good story fodder, though. Uncontrolled rage is making something of a comeback. On the one hand I think it’s great, because we’re bringing back the raw lack of control to the werewolf mythos. On the other hand, again, it’s not very wolflike. I guess to the wrters’ credit there are a lot of humans filled with rage, so perhaps the human rage is set free when the human body disappears. The human side is free to rage once set free of society’s constraints.
I wonder how much better a werewolf would behave it was allowed a few sessions with a psychiatrist? Just wondering.
Anyway. My wolves. We’ve got a bit of everything going on here. Just like with the moon-driven transformation timeframe, pack alphas have the most control here. They are able to control the degree of the change. Want to imitate Anubis? You got it. Head only. Want to become a full wolf? They can do that too. Pop some claws to smack that smug beta wolf? Yessiree. The rest of the pack is not so lucky. They can change on their own, but it’s a slow process and they are likely to get stuck at some point during transformation (in my world, this accounts for the source of all the half-man stories). Alphas assist with the change, making sure it goes faster and mistake free. Once the change starts it can only be stopped or reversed by an alpha. Older wolves shift faster and with less pain.
The female werewolves? I don’t want to get into too much detail here as it will spoil part of a major plot line, but let’s just say female werewolves can kick some serious booty. I gave those bitches some superpowers. Bitches love superpowers. ^_^
Again, if you have any favorites or hate-its about werewolf tropes, please leave a comment. Some of your feedback has already given me ideas for the sequel
Tomorrow’s post (or later today, for some of you): Regeneration… not your best feature.
The moon is to werewolves as blood is to a vampire. They simply can’t be separated. Sure, the moon might not hold as much sway in modern literature and cinema as it once did (seriously, what is this silliness with being able to transform at will?), but it is still central to the myth of the werewolf. Of course I had to keep the association for my novel.
With a few caveats.
I decided in my world that the werewolves would still be a slave to the moon, and I took it a step further. On the full moon the werewolves must transform. They have no choice, and the longer they postpone the more it becomes a danger… to them, and to everyone else in the immediate area. But they must also transform the day before and the day after the full moon. To me this only makes sense. On both of those days the moon is so close to full that it really shouldn’t make a difference. Its pull cannot be escaped. New wolves will have absolutely no control over it. Once they start there is a chance they can pause the transformation, but they can’t stop it or reverse it. Only the alphas have control over when or where, and even they must answer the moon’s call eventually, with the same risks as every other Joe Wolf. Sorry, my fuzzy little friends. No convenient escape as a wolf, or convenient pop-out-of-nowhere as a human.
Something I find a little strange is that almost no one in entertainment seems to address the time period leading up to the moon. I only remember one movie that addressed the entire month’s cycle (Ginger Snaps), and quite a few authors and directors will hint at things like increased smell or ravenous appetite, but that’s about it, and that sort of focus is only on new wolves. Apparently the hipster werewolves got over that silliness before it was cool. Seriously though, what happens to the rest of the body before that magical three day period of shiny moon-ness? Werewolves aren’t all smell and appetite. Does their human form suffer any changes, or is everything perfectly normal right up until that moon moment? Doo dee doo dee doo… oh snap I’m a werewolf! Most stories will tell you the person lives a normal life until they suddenly transform on the full moon. The explanation? It’s magical.
I think this is bullshit. And lazy.
Let’s pretend, for a moment, that werewolves are real, and that they really can completely rearrange and reform their bodily structure to go from man to wolf. Wouldn’t the body prepare for that? Wouldn’t it know the change was coming and prep itself for an intense three days of omg-what-just-happened? Of course it would. The body would go into super calorie hoarding mode. Metabolism would shoot through the roof. The poor human-form werewolf would want to eat everything in sight (and again, to be fair, this is commonly addressed with new wolves). Their hormones would also be all over the place. Cranky wouldn’t even begin to describe it. Maybe their body even begins a few preparatory changes, such as increased body hair or harder nails as much as a week in advance. Maybe their eyes pop early and become light reflective. It’s about energy conservation, right? Wouldn’t the body seek to minimize energy loss on those three days of WTFery? It could do that by addressing minor changes ahead of time and leaving the big stuff for that traumatic shape shift.
All this because that silly moon decided it would orbit earth and become a little brighter once every 28 days or so. The thing has the power to rise and sink oceans. Who’s to say what it could do to a werewolf’s body when combined with the reflected light of the sun (a magical catalyst)? The moon is still there the other 27 days of the month. It has time to influence more things than just the one big transformation party.
Sadly, pulling something “new” and “unexpected” seems to be a cliche these days. Everyone expects the changes. It’s almost refreshing to see things done old school, such as a defined lack of control and adherence to the moon’s schedule. Modern society likes to be in control. Werewolves are about a complete lack of it. That aspect of the werewolf needs to be re-emphasized.
Again, if you have any favorites or hate-its about werewolf tropes, please leave a comment. Some of your feedback has already given me ideas for the sequel 😉
Tomorrow’s post (or later today, for some of you): Wolf form, and all the nasty that goes with it