November 2, 2008 § Leave a comment
Hello, nanowrimo. Are we going to be friends this year?
The only thing he perceived upon opening his eyes was the blinding white light. It bored into his retinas and seemed to continue its burning path through the optic nerve and into, no through, his brain to pin the back of his head to the…floor? Ceiling? Every nerve ending was commandeered to ensure he was aware of nothing except the light. He could not distinguish the texture beneath his hands nor the smell of the air. Every memory was crowded into a damp dark corner of his mind so as not to distract him with trivialities like his name.
Seconds, hours, days seemed to pass through his eyes until, as though using the muscles for the first time, he forced his eyelids together, slamming a door on the uninvited light. Abruptly the world came back into focus. This time it was not a single sensation that paralyzed him, but thousands.
A harsh buzzing filled his ears, although he could not be sure if it was from outside or in his own head. He lay outstretched on a bed of dirt, he clenched his fingers around the warm clay, though the gritty texture could not tell him any more than that.
Memories emerged hesitantly, wondering if it was safe to come out. Names and faces floated briefly in front of his closed eyes. Which one was his? At this point his involuntary functions peered around the corner to remind him that he needed oxygen, no rush but sooner would be better than later. He took a deep breath which turned into a hacking cough as the layer of dust that had accumulated on his lips flooded his lungs.
He rolled over on his side and nearly vomited as he tried to move his leg. The rush of pain ripped warm and cold from toe to head and back again, knocking the dusty air from his lungs. He was barely aware of a hand gently but firmly guiding him back to his prone position while something damp wiped the grime from his face. He didn’t dare open his eyes, but gagged and chocked and tried to find his voice.
“Don’t move,” a muffled voice commanded. “Don’t talk, and for god’s sake don’t be a baby and open your eyes.”
He squeezed his eyes shut even tighter; aware he was being as petulant as a child. The hand hadn’t seemed unkind, and he slowly allowed one eye to open. Only darkness met his squinting gaze, and he cautiously opened his other eye to take in his surroundings.
September 28, 2008 § 1 Comment
I’ve thought a lot about what I’m going to write next, and logically that will be my nano novel since that is the next thing coming up. Last year, I used an idea that was already developed and I knew where it was going to go.
This year will be something new. I may stick with the same genre (minus vampires, I’m completely done with them), but I’ll be stepping out onto untested ground.
One thing I learned in my writing class over the summer was the fact that I have a hard time coming up with a story. I know some stuff I want to have happen, where I want it to happen, and how I want my characters to develop and grow, but when I think about it, the hardest thing to come up with is the story formula. My instructor described it this way:
What we want, as storytellers, is to understand and use the driving energy of story, which comes from a character who wants something. When that character is in some way sympathetic to the reader and when that something, that goal, is represented tangibly in the story and beyond the easy reach of the character so that there are obstacles along the path to the goal, then we have a story. The resolution of the story comes when the goal is either attained or it is replaced by something unforeseen and more important.
His first response to me when I turned in my story idea was something along the lines of “Yeah, great, but you’re not following the formula.” I got a little huffy at that until I realized he was right. And when I rewrote my proposal with something more along the lines of what he was asking for, I found that it became much easier to write now that I was aware of what the character wanted and what her goals were.
Situations have always happened to my characters, but this new way of looking at things allows my characters to take control of their story and opens up new channels of ideas. It’s a formula, but one that seems to work.
I’ll be trying to focus on this during Nanowrimo, and hopefully it will be another successful year!
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!