Wednesday, October 11, 2006

This morning I did an outline of my first chapter from the perspective of both my hero and heroine. Their contact is limited to the end of the section and serves as set up for their future involvement.

As I worked, I drew on two different stories I'd started ages ago, intertwining them. Because parts are already written, I think starting writing will come a bit easier. It will begin as reworking -- flipping this scene over there and tweaking another scene to fit the new reality. Only then will I have to move on and actually create something new.

I'm debating using the computer, or going longhand. Sometimes I'm more inspired while holding a pen than when poised at the keyboard.

I think I'll find my notebook.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Taking off my tin-foil hat

In craziness the other day, I lamented my lack of plot. I couldn't for the life of my remember what the story was actually about. Maybe my brain was temporarily sucked out -- but now I remember.

Panic sometimes does that to me. I'm almost at where I want to be and maybe I'm afraid to start, so I give myself an excuse not to -- but it was so weird. It didn't matter how hard I tried, my mind couldn't put dramatic action to the ideas I'd been having.

Well, it's back. This time I'm going to write it down so I won't have an excuse not to write.

I've added another link to the side: Carolyn Jewel. Her site is full of writerly insights.

I'm almost thinking of putting some of my writing up here, because no one reads me anyway. I've been to other blogs and haven't noticed much actual writing, mostly talking about writing (or not writing) like I do.

Today I'll set out the plot. I feel much better now.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

The big picture

So now I have the details worked out -- a better backstory for my heroine, a more realistic role for my hero, greater understanding of their daily lives. Seems perfect. I should get down to writing . . . except . . .

My grasp of the big picture has always been easy; where I stumble is with the small stuff.

GMC -- Goals, motivation, conflict -- they make sense to me in the 'big picture' kind of way. But for some inexplicable reason, I am unable to reduce them to the intimate level of a personal story.

Each of my characters has a etherial goal, motivation and large scale conflict, but what I lack is an individual level version of those things which translates in to the most important element what makes a story -- a plot.

I know what happens. Scenes are planned where events reveal character and history, but I lack that simple A to B to XYZ that is the driving force behind a novel.

How can I have characters so real to me, without a place to put them? Looking back on my previous work onthis story, I realize that the dimension that was missing was the building action that makes fiction different from real life.

My 'story' is more like a biography, ups and downs and steady plodding. Triumphs and tragedies interspersed with description but no urgency.

If I can get over that hurdle by the end of the month, then I'll have something to work on for Nanowrimo -- otherwise I'll be at the same place been for the past several years, floundering and frustrated.

When I first started thinking about this, I was certain I had a plot -- all the revisions to the history either erased it from my memory or it wasn't there in the first place. How could I forget the plot?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

On the right page again

I had thought I would work on my contemporary fiction story. It's kind of a mainstream/momlit type thing. It seemed the simplest because it requires very little research and mostly just imagination and writing. Most of it is plotted; some of it is written, but I haven't touched it in months.

Suddenly and without warning, I started yearning for the very first novel I started and never finished. I wrote over 50,000 words -- some of them good ones. And then I lost direction. There seemed no way forward and no clear path. Several times I've picked up that half-finished manuscript and read it through -- most of it without cringing. There is some good clever writing, and there are some well crafted scenes, charming characters, witty dialogue . . . and yet I could never get back to it -- partly because of my heroine and partly because of my hero.

My heroine was a bit of a MarySue. Not exacty like me, but much like I would like to be -- a bit too perfect for this world. My hero was much better, more likeable and more real. For some reason I find it easier to write men than women and it showed. But my hero had a problem too. I'd cast him in a a role that limited both him and me and ended up stifling the potential for dramatic development in the story. That's why I'd stopped writing with a thud.

When it came to mind inexplicably this past week, I stopped thinking about how I'd actually written the story, and started to think how it could be. Rather than picking up the pages I'd reread a million times while struggling to move forward, instead I tired to work on the weaknesses of the characters and plot without looking at it again.

I've yet to write a single word, but it's starting to gel in my brain. I don't know how other people write, but I tend to play the scenes out in my head while I'm working, as I'm driving, at the grocery store . . . later when it seems my brain is so full that everything will come spilling out if I don't capture it, then I write.

I'm almost there.

It might have been watching Foyle's War that renewed my excitement with this story. It's set during WWII and part of my apathy is the research it will require. I've keenness for the period anyway, and have read extensively about it, but while I couldn't think of a way to move my story along, the research felt like more like a chore than an interest.

Suddenly my heroine isn't who I thought she was and my hero has taken on a more useable role. Now that these snags are out of the way I feel ready to haul out the old stuff and edit it so it will fit in with my new vision. The editing should be finished by the end of the month and I should be able to get some plotting done as well. That would put me in a good position for starting Nanowrimo in November.

For the first time in a long time I'm excited about writing again.