Day 4 – the head turns fuzzy

November 4, 2009 § Leave a comment

Today was a hard writing day. The words came in fits and gasps, completely ineloquent. There was a lot of narration, very little description. Also a heavy dialogue day, which is the most fun for me to write, because it feels as though personalities can really be felt out through interactions with other people. After putting in the dialogue, I went back in and added some description and gestures.

I have not been motivated to get ahead. I reached the word goal for today earlier in the afternoon, and then started to procrastinate. This last character is harder in some ways than the others. He isn’t a nice person, and I feel like my normal writing style completely clashes with his personality. I don’t even know if that makes sense, or if I’m just over-thinking things, as usual.

This month has been strange so far in that I haven’t had to scramble for the word count in the same way that I remember doing two years ago. It helps that I have several breaks during the day that are perfect for sitting down and typing 300-400 words at a time.

As of this moment I’m sitting on 6,805 words. I’ll shoot for at least 7k before the night is over, although I’d like to maybe get to 7,300 so I only have to do 1k tomorrow. I don’t know if that’ll happen. I’m feeling laaazy.

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Day 3 – let’s talk about characters

November 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

Taking a break from writing to…well, write some more, I guess. Today was a slow writing day. I have finished the 5,000 words needed for today, although I hope to add on a few hundred more or so before the day is over. The rest of the week will be a good writing time since I only have two classes each day and I get out fairly early. Mondays and Tuesdays are always the worst, but I made it!

What I mean when I say it was a slow writing day was that I slowed my writing down. It’s partly a defense mechanism, trying to avoid writing about this plot that is not even half-baked yet, but it’s mostly because I realized as I was writing that I have very little description, either of scenery or characters, in places where it really should be. So I’m introducing the characters, although hopefully not in a completely lame way. I just placed them in a location where they would likely go in the morning and just have them look around and notice things and just generally go about their day. Admittedly, it’s not the most riveting thing in the world, but it has actually helped me to develop my characters’ personalities.

I know that sounds like a completely elementary concept, but I’ve always believed that the personality of a character should be brought out in their actions, and not discussed. That has the unfortunate side effect of a completely cardboard personality until that happens. I’m trying to feel them out earlier in the story this time, so I can hopefully delve further into their psyches than I have ever gone before.

There are about three main characters who are the focus of the story as it stands right now. I’ve just finished following the first one around, and have moved on to the second. In my mind, it feels as though the story is dragging, but I know that it will read much quicker than it writes. It is also better to have to take stuff out than add stuff in. There is my wisdom for the night. This is 367 words that I should have been adding to my story.

A Month of Villainy

May 27, 2008 § Leave a comment

Month of VillainyThe month of June has been declared ‘Villain Month’ by elizaw. This sounds like the perfect way to kick start the writing process. Developing characters is by far my favorite part of writing any story. In fact, I often get more absorbed in the stories of minor side characters than I do in the actual MCs.

Villains are always a challenge. I don’t know if it’s just the difficulty of relating to them or the reluctance to think on their level. I know that a book is much more enjoyable to read when there is a complex and subtle villain in place. So why not strive to achieve that in my own writing?

I’ll try to come up with a more organized form as June draws nearer, but in the meantime, here is a list of some of the topics I’ll be considering (I’m having fun with this already!)…

  • Black sheep of the family: villains or just misunderstood anti-heroes?
  • How to develop the modern henchman
  • The Boss: make them live up to their reputation, dammit!
  • Villains as humans versus non-humans

I’m also trying to work on setting and description, so I’ll try to incorporate that into the writings. More to come as the date draws nearer!

First thoughts on Nanowrimo 2008

May 23, 2008 § 7 Comments

I’m going to try and do it again this year. I started re-reading my 2007 novel (which I still haven’t finished, although I know the ending). I really liked my earlier stuff, but I can definitely tell when I started to panic and put in stuff just to fill the empty spaces.

I also learned halfway through the month that vampires are some of the lamest monsters out there. I was annoyed with them even as I wrote them. Plus it’s embarassing when I’m asked what kind of novel I wrote, to have to say “It’s a vampire novel”, and then get those looks. You know the ones.

My 2008 novel will be entirely devoid of vampires, I’m happy to say. What will be in it? That’s a little hazier. My stories are built around the characters that are in them, and hopefully some kind of plot forms around that. I’ve had a couple of ideas bopping around in my head.

The strongest idea so far involves this tagline (it sounds like it came straight from Ellery Queen, but this is my rough beginning sketch).

Emelina/Emalina/Imolina/Imalina (haven’t figured out the spelling of the name yet) as an aging private detective looking to get out of the business with all her limbs intact, although the last case she takes before retirement proves to be anything but simple.

I’ve always been a fan of feisty old ladies, and so why not write one for myself? I can’t bring myself to leave the fantasy/alternate reality/scifi genre yet, so there will be some kind of magic or futuristic stuff involved. Because as a friend said: everything’s better in space!

Voice

October 31, 2007 § Leave a comment

Just as a side note, I’ll be writing from two characters’ perspectives in this novel. I normally don’t like to do that when I’m writing, because it feels like a cop-out when you can move between points of view. I don’t like reading books like that very much either, unless it works really well. But seeing as this is Nano, and my goal is to write like hell, I need to have a backup plan if my main MC deserts me. Also, I’m following the kind of timeline that has to be told from two different people’s points of view.

I’ll be focusing on Nina, my main character, and writing her as I always have, in first person perspective unless I decide otherwise. I’ll also write from Emily’s point of view in the third person. I think that will help break it up a bit and emphasize the difference in views. And it’ll give me something to keep my interest. I don’t want to become bored of my story halfway through November.

Some more history notes

October 28, 2007 § Leave a comment

Here is the story of how Nina got turned. I got pedophile chills from writing this, even though there’s nothing overtly happening. It’s all in the undertones.

 I smile as I remember the warnings about getting into strange cars with strange men. It all seems funny now, but being a vampire doesn’t necessarily exclude you from the rules. I was taking a risk, allowing a strange vampire this close to my sleeping place. To Mathias, the only one who passed for family to me.

Family…I would be 40 years old today, had I lived. Had I not seen the gaunt, forlorn child standing along in a crowd, so close to tears, and felt the compulsion to help him. I was 20 and a naïve idiot, and never thought to wonder why his grip was unnaturally tight, how he seemed to know exactly where he was going, and why he smiled like that in the alley when he asked me to lean down so he could tell me something.

“Fool” was what he said as I felt the fangs sink in, and his hand held my head in an iron grip. I didn’t even struggle, didn’t make a noise, but just wondered stupidly, why? My vision was blurring, going red around the edges when he pulled back and smiled at me, a thin line of blood dribbling down his chin. “I like you Nina. Would you stay with me if I asked?” I tried to focus my eyes while wondering why he was asking such a stupid question to a dying person. Words wouldn’t come even if I had known what to say, so I just smiled back at him. He really was a beautiful boy.

Suddenly, as if he had come to an important decision, he clapped his hands in front of my face, and I fell back against the wall of the alley and decided that it wasn’t such a bad way to die, the pain was gone, replaced by a numbness that was almost pleasant. The boy appeared over me again and seemed to be gnawing at his hand until it bled and then bringing it to my lips. The first drops burned as they hit my tongue, but the suddenness of feeling was intoxicating, and I wanted more. I wanted to feel again. I bit down to make the blood come faster, and my eyes locked with his. They were brighter than any eyes I’d ever seen before. An old man’s eyes.

After a while he pulled his hand away, and when I reached for it again, he snarled and backhanded me sharply. I hit the pavement, but suddenly it seemed different than before. It seemed…more…

I turned over and retched before I could form a coherent thought. The blood rejected everything inside me, purging it into the street. I tried to take a breath, gasping, drowning…

“It’s all right, it will all be over soon,” a voice soothed, and a hand lightly touched my back. It was familiar, but something had changed. I sensed the power behind the words. Once the spasms lessened, I turned my head to see the boy kneeling beside me; only he was much more than that now. He brushed my hair back from my face and wiped his sleeve across my mouth.

Mathias was his name, he said as he rested his small forehead against my own.

“Mathias,” I whispered hoarsely.

“Yes.” He kissed me softly, swiftly, and told me what I was.

Mr HJ Weston does not approve

October 23, 2007 § Leave a comment

I loved this one character I made during the time of this roleplaying game, which is now the basis of my new story. I’m still not sure what kind of purpose he was supposed to serve, but it tickled me to make a CPA for the vampires of the city…

I’m posting some Very Old writings that describe him and his place of business, more as a reference for the future, so I don’t have to go rooting around in the LJ comm while I’m supposed to be typing.

We were in an area of the downtown district. I had been here several times before with Mathias, taking care of affairs. The storefronts here were immaculate and aloof. I was afraid to even let the man’s blood sully the street.

One store was not dark. It was a small, squashed-looking building crammed in between a boutique and a gourmet restaurant. I saw the faint yellow glow behind the heavy curtains and under the crack in the door. The sign read: “Offices of H.J. Weston: CPA”

Siren and I gently lay the body on the steps, taking care to make certain the blood was dried and would not stain. Mr. H.J. Weston hated stains. Siren looked confused, but said nothing as I climbed the stairs and knocked three times softly.

“Business hours are from 9 to 5. Please come back later,” answered the familiar, aristocratic voice. I started banging on the door loudly.

It flew open to reveal the severe figure of Mr. Weston himself, manager of the business affairs of half the vampires in Glass City.
“Ah, Nina. Mathias told me you might be coming around.” He glanced surreptitiously past me. “And you have brought a friend?”

“Two, actually,” I told him, stepping aside to reveal the body on the steps. He looked at it in distaste.

“I trust this is an emergency? My business does not exist solely to store your used carcasses.”

“It’s only temporary. I’ll have it out of there by tomorrow. You said Mathias was expecting me to come here?”

“Yes, to settle your accounts. But we should not speak outside, when your…friends…need assistance. Please come in, and mind the walls.”

Mr. H.J. Weston’s office was a thing of beauty. The dark wood paneling shone in the places you could see; most of the wall space was covered in bookshelves that reached floor to ceiling. The windows were covered with heavy drapes to ensure no sunlight would penetrate during the day. From all appearances, one could easily mistake Mr. Weston for a vampire. He went to great lengths to ensure that his clients felt at ease, and he had subconsciously taken on a pseudo-vampiric lifestyle himself.

The body was safely stored in the basement freezer, kept for such occasions. Mr. Weston liked to be prepared for everything.

“I have been informed of your…situation,” he said, after he had motioned for Siren and me to take a seat. The other vampire looked plainly suspicious, but reluctantly sank into a chair. “Mathias arranged for a substantial portion of his assets to be set aside in your name. Now, I will need you to sign—”

“No. I’m not signing anything.” The look on Mr. Weston’s face as I said it was the closest I’d ever seen him come to a real expression. He folded his hands on his desk, annoyed at my interruption and the potential paperwork I was going to put him through.

That guy cracks me up.

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