Writing process

Character Building

Terrible news, great news, but it’s all one in the same news…  I am still fang-deep in that vampire story that I mentioned in my last post.  The great bit is that I’ve spent a lot of time butt-in-chair, words-on-page.  Unfortunately, I can’t seem to re-vamp this story into something that doesn’t involve blood-suckers (obvious pun intended).  So vampires it is.  At least I’ve avoided capes, widows peaks, men dressed in velvet and lace, Elyria-esque females, and sparkly baseball players thus far.  If any of these do make an appearance, it will likely be as punchline to a bad joke.

In spite of my complaints, I am actually enjoying the writing process with this particular story.  The last two larger works that I produced were both done for NaNoWriMo and were excruciating to write.  In looking back, I realize now that neither of the novels had good character development.  Both had male protagonists who seemed to move through life simply because they were both too unmotivated to lay down and die.  Both lacked any real passion about anything, with the possible exception of self-preservation.  Even in that aspect, they were dull and unappealing as day-old dishwater.  There were days that I wanted to take a match to those manuscripts (and probably should have!), because writing them bored me to tears.

Not all of my NaNos have felt as flat as the last two and, with twenty-twenty hindsight, it’s clear that the interesting ones were the stories whose main characters I wanted to know better.  For me, the process of creating a character is like getting to know someone new.  Even though I am technically the one who decides what a character likes and dislikes, what motivates and stresses them, and what ultimately they do and do not do, my favorite characters to write are the one that surprise me.  Characters that I think I know who pull some ace or joker from their sleeve when I’m not expecting it.

The protagonist of this latest work is such a character.  Looking back at the short piece where she originally appeared, she had a lot of potential to join the ranks of the dull main characters described above.  Fortunately, characters sometimes  have a way of telling a writer “No, you’re writing it wrong.  This is not who I am.”  In the case of this female protagonist, it was the other characters who informed me that I wasn’t writing her correctly.  They pointed to little hints that she wasn’t exactly who I had originally created, that what lurked beneath the surface was quite another person entirely.  She has become, in fact, far more interesting and complex than originally envisioned.  Writing her is a joy.  Daily word counts that were agonizing during last  year’s NaNo are flying off my fingers easily now.

I don’t know how long this particular enchantment will last, but I hope that it continues through the duration of the novel.  I’d like to continue to be surprised by this character and what she chooses to do.


In Which A Little Story Devours My Brain

In an effort to kick-start a more regular pattern of writing, I recently picked up a short but incomplete piece of fiction with the thought of finishing it up.  The story was nothing more than a scene of conflict between two life-long friends as they discovered themselves on different sides of a clash between humans and vampires.  It was not intended to be anything more than a brief piece written for my own entertainment.

As occasionally happens, the story has plans for itself that I did not foresee and the characters have taken on a life of their own.  The single scene has turned into a nearly novel-length plot that is presently threatening to be book one in a series.  From two characters have sprung two armies, complete with internally feuding families.  While I’m thrilled to my toes that writing is currently not just a regular habit, but an outright addiction,  this was not the story I had intended to tell.     Still, the story demands to be written and who am I to question my (slightly deranged) muse?

Check back next week.  By then, I may have my brain back again from the vampires.



For My Next Trick…

… I will be pulling a novel out of thin air.

Ah yes, it is that time of year once again during which otherwise sane and rational people attempt the superhuman feat of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  My intent was to begin posting updates at the beginning of the month with all kinds of interesting tidbits about the writing process and how this year’s novel was progressing.

After consulting my calendar, I’ve come to the realization that one-third of the month has already trickled by without  so much as a thought to this blog or my intentions for it.  It would appear that some updates are in order… and here they are in no particular order:

Writing Software

I’ve tossed aside Write Way in favor of Scrivener.  My only real concerns with Write Way were that it wasn’t aesthetically appealing to my eyes and that it didn’t feel particular intuitive as far as how the program flowed or where things were located.  I’m sure that it’s wonderful software, just not quite right for my particular tastes and needs.  So I’m trying Scrivener as my writing platform this year.

My plan was to use Scrivener to outline the novel and organize the character sketches.   These feats were accomplished.  Then I started playing with the idea of using it to actually write the first draft, which brings me to this…

How I’m Writing

I cannot recall if I mentioned this previously, but I am a pen and paper purist kind of gal who has steadfastly refused to play fast and loose with digital platform boys.  Even my blog posts are usually being life as a real world piece of paper complete with scribbles, scratch outs, and red edits.

For expediency sake, I am trying something new this year and forgoing the handwritten first draft in favor of typing it out.  With a average typing speed  of 60 WPM, I’m certain that I can compose much more quickly by typing.  I must admit, though, that I prefer the scratching of pen on paper to the clatter of my keyboard, so I’m afraid that headphones are required if I’m going to survive this experiment.

What I’m Writing

After much waffling, I final made a final decision about which novel to write this month.  The winner is Saligia, Inc.  The other two novels that I’d seriously considered were both giving me difficulties – one had no plot to speak of and the other had some character development issues (as in the characters decided to strike out on their own without me and were up to some strange things).

This year’s novel is a mystery that has, for its backdrop, a lingerie manufacturing company run by the personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins.  Each of the sins is embodied by a sister who responsible for a certain aspect of the company.   The novel follows an investigator as he tries to navigate through the various personalities in hopes of finding a missing man.  I think it’s going to be deliciously fun to write.

Progress Report

As of this moment, the official word count is just over 13,000.  I have time set aside later this week for an all day writing marathon, so that should help in the way of getting caught up.  In the meantime, I’m pecking out a few words here and there in between real life obligations.  Speaking of which, I do believe that I have a sweet potato pie that needs to come out of the oven before it becomes a charcoal briquet.
Until next time!