I’m having so much fun writing about Paris in this story. Having my characters running around the city makes me remember all the wonderful experiences I had there too, and hints of some of those have made their way into the narrative. I want to go back so badly!
Month: April 2012
I fear sometimes that I put too much of myself in my main character. I don’t know if I do it out of laziness, because it’s easier to make her like the same things I like, or because I relate to her (but of course I relate to her – she likes all the same stuff I do) or if it’s my ego getting totally out of check. But I’m starting to see it more and more the further I get into this story, and at over 25,000 words, I’m well into it.
Inspired by last night’s out-of-the-blue panic attack, I wrote about anxiety tonight and made Callie suffer from it as well. I also used one of my favourite fabric prints as the inspiration for a scarf she bought, and lastly, put her in possession of my very favourite boots, which are too distinctive to be mistaken for anything else in the description. The boots thing especially alarms me a little bit, because that’s so very specific. But it’s how I see it in my head, and I don’t want to deviate too much from the way it’s all arranged in there.
I’m not sure if it’s a bad thing entirely though. I think writing about stuff that I love makes me illustrate it better and makes it easier for readers to believe that she likes it too. In my last novel, I made my main female character a runner, something I hate, but I felt like when I described how she felt about running, it sounded unconvincing. Maybe that’s just me reading that part with the skeptic’s eye, because I dislike running so very much.
My misapprehension comes from the thought that instead of thinking “what would Callie do” in a specific situation, I’m thinking “what would I do,” and so she’s not coming into her own as a fully-fledged person. Because she is certainly not me, not even in my head, although she seems to have made herself right at home in there and talks to me often. To be sure, there are lots of differences between us too, more than there are similarities, and those differences are only going to multiply the more I write. Things are about to get a little bit crazy.
Surely there must be a blog post or something from another author who has addressed this in the past.
I wanted to write tonight, but I’m having anxiety issues and can’t focus. No idea what the trigger was, but there’s no way anything coherent is going to come from me tonight, and I need to get away from screens. Best to go to bed and try again tomorrow – Saturday! I can write for half the day if I want!
Maybe writing about anxiety will be therapeutic? Something to consider for the near future.
I have so much love for the people in this story.
That’s all, really.
A McD’s apple pie that I wouldn’t write 800 words tonight.
I’m going to be eating that pie before midnight.
Update: 1200 words and five minutes to spare. Motivation is a powerful tool. The pie is mine.
Today I hit 20,000 words!
It’s not quite writer’s block, but I sure seem to be struggling getting through this part I’m working on now. It’s not that I don’t find it interesting or necessary – in fact I’m doing a lot of important relationship building that will be paying off in the future – just that the words aren’t really there. I’m a little muddy on what exactly is going to happen in the next few paragraphs, so it’s hard to push forward.
Part of it is that I’m still thinking about the future, word-wise, and impatient to get there. I also came up with a twist that I’m really, really exicted about – so much so that for the next few hours after I thought of it, I kept remembering and smiling gleefully to myself – but writing that whole part is many, many months and probably years away. I guess it’s enough that I know it’s going to happen, and can write toward it with that knowledge. Already, what I’ve already written makes more sense, and is more relevant, with the eventual inclusion of this twist.
As an aside, why do all my best ideas come to me when I’m driving?
This week I’m determined to get back into my writing routine and steer clear of distractions. Having been away for the weekend without accomplishing much at all, I’m ready to tackle it again. If I can get through the next 3,000 words or so, I’ll get to one of the Big Scenes that’s been shaping itself in my head for the past two months and is itching to get out. That should provide some motivation, right? And that will bring me to the end of chapter four.
What I think I need to do is spend some time in my head on this current scene, and work it all out in there, rather than focusing (obsessing, really – let’s call it like it is) on the Big Scenes and running through them over and over again. I need to remember that the parts in between are important too. So there you go. Time for bed and a little daydreaming – not something I ever complain about!
Some nights I don’t get a lot of words down on my electronic paper, but I do a lot of reading and researching for points large and small. I love this project because I’ve gotten to read up on such a diverse list of things. Topics so far have included:
- electric guitars
- strip-club scams
- keratin in human hair vs spider silk
- automatic writing
- Roman mythology
- Earth energy
- funny t-shirts
- tectonic plates and tidal waves in the Southern hemisphere
Not everything I’ve researched has actually been implemented in the story, but knowing a bit about something that will be useful in the future helps me plot out those sections in my head. I spent most of tonight trying to tease out a synonym for something that I liked the sound of, and just now, at this moment, thought of a way that I could just make up my own instead and have it seem plausible. Because plausibility is important when you’re writing supernatural fiction, right?
I went away on vacation for a week and despite my best intentions and dreams of sitting on the beach and by the pool all day, writing endless reams of inspired prose, I never typed a single word. Never opened my document, as a matter of fact. Not even on those six-hour flights on planes without seatback televisions.
It’s easy to fall out of a habit. My routine is to write in the evenings, usually from 11pm until midnight or thereinabouts. Taking a bit of advice from Stephen King’s On Writing, I go down to the basement, close the door of the family room, get comfy (but not too comfy) and go to work without distractions. And I find I really rely on my closed-door routine. In a smallish Hawaiian condo basically confined to a single room after 9pm (so the kids can sleep undisturbed) I couldn’t make my closed-door process work. And I don’t seem to have the right frame of mind to write during the daytime. So when we came back home, I felt apathetic about writing again, compounded by the fact that I didn’t really like how the scene I was in the middle of was going. Even after a three-hour Higher Ground cafe writing marathon with my partner in novelling, I still wasn’t accomplishing much. Last night I struggled through 250 measly words, and that in an hour and a half.
Tonight I broke through. I like how things are shaping up again, I found myself composing a scene I hadn’t even imagined until I started writing (which are usually my favourite ones) and I’m feeling good about where I’ll pick up tomorrow.
One of my supporting characters, Dex, is reminding me more and more of my brother Dan every scene I put him in. Tonight I laughed out loud at something he said, and I didn’t even know he was going to say it until the dialogue started flowing.
I also hit page 30 in my document, which is kind of a milestone. At 12-pt, single spaced, that’s around 18,000 words, and I added another 1,300 or so tonight. For me that’s a good night. I’m a slow, methodical, everything-right-the-first-time kind of writer. I need to think it all through first. A lot of people say the only way to write is to just spew it all out and revise later, but that’s not me – and explaining that is a post for another day. Tonight I’m happy with my progress and looking forward to what the future brings – even if I have no idea what’s going to happen in the next 20 pages!
Before I started writing I decided that this time, after my disastrously unorganized by-the-seat-of-my-pants NaNoWriMo 2011 novel, that I would get my thoughts in order and plot out a few things so I’d know what went where. I’m planning a series of three novels and the entire storyline was just stirring around in my head. Which is great because on one hand, when you simmer something for a long time the flavours become concentrated and the thinness boils away, but on the other hand, sometimes stuff slops over the edge of the pot and gets lost.
So I went shopping and bought about five colours each of cue cards and sticky notes and a little box to keep them stored in. Each book would have its own colour card and sticky, with another colour for character notes and a final one for uncategorized ideas. I labelled everything nicely and that box is currently sitting on top of my bookshelf collecting dust, without a single mark on any of the cards. The ones I tucked into my purse for ideas on the go are also blank, other than the ones that were turned into colouring sheets for the kids.
I had a bit more luck with my No Plot? No Problem! book until I got to the part where it started asking me to describe all the characters in detail. That makes no sense to me, because how do I know about them until I write about them? Back to the bookshelf it went too.
Now I’m considering writing out the pivotal scenes already in my head in detail, even though that will mean writing out of order. I tried it a bit with chapter
one two but I found it awkward to seam together the pre-written scene with everything else I wrote later that built up to that part. The feedback I got about that chapter said the same.
I don’t want to rely on my less-than-infallible memory to keep everything straight – things are already slipping away and I’ll find myself running through a scene in my head and forgetting some of the dialogue, or why that part was even happening in the first place. Maybe some point-form notes typed out and saved in a separate document? Or give the cue cards another try? I really like the idea of them, I just can’t seem to translate that into actually using them.
I created this blog because I’m in the process of writing my second novel and I often want to talk about how the writing process is going for me, without boring all my facebook friends with the trivialities of this very narrow aspect of my life. If people are reading it, great. If no one is reading it, I’m still getting all the miscellany out of my head, which is also great. This is not about my life, just my book.