Day 6 – je pense

November 6, 2009 § Leave a comment

I broke the 10k mark a few minutes ago. I was in the middle of a flow and so I barely noticed it go by. Up until then the writing was like pulling teeth out of my own brain. It’s especially hard when the family is watching a movie in the motel room I’m staying in. So distracting!

I wrote the second time jump of the story. Right now it goes future-past-future-past. The future sections are much shorter than the past ones. I think they will jump all over different years, since there are about 10-20 years that are a part of ‘the future’. The ‘past’ is pretty much set in no longer than a 5 year span.

The future is written in present third person tense, except for a few paragraphs when I forgot and started using past. The past is always written in past tense.

Present tense is probably my favorite one to write in. It keeps me focused on where the character is in time and space, and really helps with describing places and thoughts and feelings. Someday I want to write something entirely in that tense, because it is fantastic.


I think about voices

November 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

We’ll just say I found this link during completely relevant research. Yes, I wasn’t procrastinating at all.

There is an article here that talks about how to make each character speak differently. Not think differently, speak. This was very interesting to me because  it was something I noticed after starting to re-read my last nano novel. I get the feeling that my characters all do sound alike (they all talk like me).

Now that I’m not feeling so rushed, I have time to think about something other than “oh god, gotta get the word count!” The characters have always been the most important part of the story for me, because they are the ones who will carry the plot. We’ll see if  can use some of these tips to give my characters their own unique voices.

Excerpt (written on Day 4)

November 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

This is an example of something I find hilarious in my head. I don’t know how well it translates.

He knew every building and every car parked along the street. Except for that Mercedes parked along the curb just outside of his building. The sleek black car clashed painfully with the rusted out white Cadillac and Honda civic that flanked it. As he came nearer, he saw the figure of a woman slumped back against the driver’s seat. A quick glance up and down the street showed no movement. His footsteps quickened and he burst into a jog, sliding between the cars until he was looking in through the side window. Pulling the sleeve of his shirt over his hand, he tested the door. Locked. Locked?

At once the body behind the wheel jerked up as though attached to the hands of the cruelest kind of puppeteer, and began to scream.

“Jesus Christ!” Dunn jumped back from the car. His eyes quickly narrowed as he looked closer and recognized the driver. “Michelle?” The dark-haired woman’s hands had come up in front of her face, a tiny can of Mace poised to strike. Her mouth opened, the dark red lips forming a small ‘o’ of surprise. His sister rolled down her window and glared up at him.

“You nearly gave me a heart attack, Oliver! What were you thinking?”

“I gave you–? What was I–?” He managed to stop himself and took a deep breath before he went off the rails completely.

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.

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.

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