Plot sketching

September 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

One day left until the great long month of October, in which I hope to outline the novel I will write in November and hopefully not tire of the concept. The last half of September has been devoted entirely to brainstorming, and I must have come up with a dozen or so different ideas for a story ranging from the cliche to the overly complex. I think I’ve settled somewhere in between, although to be honest I’ve tried to concentrate on character creation and purposely ignore plot until I’ve nailed them down.

I’ve finally done it. I have characters and what they want, their goals and in some cases their sub or secondary goals. I have some pretty good flaws. They are still kind of flat but that makes sense because I haven’t started writing them yet. The character prompts my sister has been giving me will help with that a lot.

I won’t lie, plot has crossed my mind more than once as I wonder how to move these characters around in the world. I don’t want to ignore it either because it’s hard to have a word count if you don’t know where your story is going. I do have rough ideas for the high energy events like the end of the beginning, crisis point, and climax and now I just need to flesh them out and think them through in detail to make sure it’s a good concept. I have a lot of ideas that sound great initially but when I think about them logistically, they break down.

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Name Game: I win

September 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

I finally came up with names yesterday for the three major characters in my story, and it is such a relief! There was some kind of mental hangup with creating my characters before they were properly named. I told myself that it didn’t matter what they were called yet, but I found myself looking up naming sites and statistics online when I should have been developing characters. I’m glad that’s over so I can finally move forward.

This is probably the first time I tried to give the names of my characters meaning and mould the sound of the name to speak to their personalities. I also wanted to make sure they didn’t sound too much alike. The most helpful site in this endeavor has turned out to be thinkbabynames.com. They not only list the names and the meanings but also variations in spelling and names that sound similar. It was extremely helpful when you don’t have a very good idea of what you’re looking for and need some inspiration.

Character First

September 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

I only have about ten minutes so this will be short but I want to get it out there while it’s still fresh in my mind.

I was trying to think of how to describe the story I’m creating to someone, the tagline I guess it’s called, but everything I thought of sounded really stupid when I typed it out. I started to wonder if that was a reflection of my story, and started to think of things to change to make it sound better.

Eventually I just had to snap myself out of it. I could feel my blood pressure rising and just the slight edge of panic creeping into my thoughts. No, this is all wrong! It’s not working, nothing is working! I stopped and tried to clear my head for a moment, which was when I realized that the real problem I have is that I need to work through my characters; their goals and personalities, and what they hope to achieve, and once that is done I can go back and work the setting to find the most effective way to tell their story.

First things first, I need to work on characters.

“Book Cover”

September 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

I like to make fake book covers for my stories, even before I write them. I’m a very visual person and it helps me to feel out the mood of the story when I made a visual representation of it. Here is the one I made for this year’s Nanowrimo story:

Shadowland

It’s funny, but even though I’ve developed a great deal more of the story since I made this image, it still matches the tone of this picture; I think even more so based on what I’ve added or taken away from the setting and plot.

I looked up “Shadowland” on Goodreads and it was a little depressing how many results came back for it. I shouldn’t be surprised because it’s a pretty cool title. I’ll keep it anyway, at least as the working title.

Fighting forgetfulness, my new nemesis

September 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

I hate forgetting things, it’s the worst. And when it involves parts of my story, I get even more frustrated because I feel I’ve just knocked over the continuity cart and lost all the apples. Previously hot summer weather gives way to winter freezes without warning. A tasteful olive shag carpet turns into a stained red rug. Stupid little stuff that nonetheless seems to glare at me upon re-reading and leaves me wondering what the hell I was thinking.

I should keep notes but I feel myself getting bogged down in trying to remember things that don’t matter. I don’t want to write everything down but I need some basics. They are not names, places or hair colors that get lost in whatever crawlspace my brain keeps things it deems unimportant, but rather the pictures hanging on the walls, childhood memories, room or landscape descriptions. Hell, I even forget what descriptive words I use until I look back and realize I’ve used the word “bleak” five times and it’s time to visit the thesaurus and find a new word.

Old age is going to be hell on me, I can tell. I try to look on the positive side, that this is just a first draft and maybe the stuff I make up when I forget will be better than the originals and isn’t that what editing is for, anyway?

Music for the End of the World

September 24, 2012 § Leave a comment

I go through phases with music. Sometimes I can’t stand to have even the slightest sound distracting me from what I’m doing, whether it is writing or working. Lately, however I enjoy listening to a playlist I made specifically for this story I’m working on.

I call it “music for the end of the world” although listening to parts of it I can see how one could make an argument for calling it “music for committing suicide” (Please don’t). My intention was to create a very dispiriting mood without hope to mirror the feeling I imagine one would have upon waking up to discover their world is gone.

I’ve included parts of lyrics that particularly struck me while listening, but for many of the songs, the words don’t matter, it’s the music and the mood it creates.

Clair de lune – Claude Debussy

The Times They are A-Changin’ – Bob Dylan

The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’.

The Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel

And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

Only Remembered – War Horse

Who’ll sing the anthem and who’ll tell the story
Will the line hold will it scatter and run
Shall we at last be united in glory
Only remembered for what we have done

Abraham’s Daughter – Arcade Fire

Boulevard of Broken Dreams – Green Day

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me and I walk alone

Here Without You – 3 Doors Down

Wise Men – James Blunt

But they couldn’t escape from you,
Couldn’t be free of you,
And now they know there’s no way out

Beautiful Lie – 30 Seconds to Mars

It’s time to forget about the past
To wash away what happened last
Hide behind an empty face

Adieu mon Coeur – Edith Piaf

Adieu mon cœur                     Good-bye my heart
On te jette au malheur.        We are casting you into unhappiness.
Tu n’auras pas mes yeux     You will not have my eyes
Au mourir                                 Until death

The Breach – Sunspot

The frailty that tore,
Still led us once more unto the breach.

Save Tonight – Eagle-Eye Cherry

Mad World – Gary Jules

No tomorrow, no tomorrow

(Don’t Fear) The Reaper – Blue Oyster Cult

Barely Breathing – Duncan Sheik

Bent – Matchbox 20

Crying Out – Shinedown

45 – Shinedown

Send away for a perfect world
One not simply, so absurd

Elegia – New Order

Dust – Royworld

All that will remain of us,
Are a thousand voices floating in the atmosphere,
Shadows falling in the dust,
And I hear your voice singled out and I want to say,
You and I will never die,
So don’t think about all the space in-between us,

Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden

2815 AD – WALL-E soundtrack

Setting the mood

September 24, 2012 § 2 Comments

Wind from the Sea

Andrew Wyeth – Wind from the Sea, 1947

The tone I’m going for in the story can essentially be summed up in Andrew Wyeth’s painting “Wind from the Sea.” When I look at this painting there is a calm bleakness and inevitability in the muted colors and path leading into the line of dark trees in the distance.

Despite this, the feeling of motion in the curtains hints at a more dynamic scene than would first appear, and brings a small ray of hope into an otherwise somber setting.

Where Am I?

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