Saturday, June 30, 2007

Imagine all of These Combined...Your Head Would Explode with Cool

I was tagged by Crystal to give you Eight Random Things About Me.

1. I like ancient history and the Great Men who got what they wanted because they could. No red tape and bureaucracies. They wanted to do something, they did it. That's why I admire MacBeth more than Hamlet. Sure, I understand that in reality, these Great Men were violent and cruel - but I can't help but admire their focus, persistence and ruthlessness. It makes for a good story.

2. I have a tendency to cry at beautiful things. Very rarely do I tear up if I'm sad, but when I see something lovely, hear a piece of music that pulls at my heartstrings, or read a story so heartbreaking it's beautiful, the waterworks begin. Loveliness is here:

3. I still read comic books. I'm not sure why, but I still enjoy the overkill in Batman, the nostalgia of The Spirit, the philosophy in Alan Moore's Promethea and the great story telling of Brian Vaughan's Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina. Maybe I like the idea of heroes, maybe I just like the art. Who knows. But they are pretty, no?

4. I am a Texan. That's right. By birth and choice. I would post a picture of my state, but it's too awesome.

5. I had a cat named Vito Coreleone. That's right. The Godfather.

6. My VW Bug was named Ophelia. And she was totaled by an old man. The car stood up on its nose and the engine moved forward about four inches and blew out the dash. I walked away with no broken bones and no injury save bruises. Ophelia will be missed.

7. I am addicted to HALO and HALO II and I play under the name of MOUSE. When the third game and HALO WARS comes out, I will not be able to help myself. If you could be a nine-foot-tall Spartan badass killing alien scum, you know you would. You know it.
8. I like peanut butter. A lot.

And I don't have eight people to tag, but here goes! Annie, Staci, Joely, Jaye, and Garrett.

So say we all.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Friday Snippet: Baseball at World's End

After trying to get the Snippets code to work all day, I sort of wanted to punch it in the face; I say thankee sai to Meryl for showing me how to get the autolinks to work. But as far as the snippet goes, here is the first of the post-apocalyptic-chick-lit. Any ideas for a title?

Copyrighted, do not reproduce, material liable to change. You know. Etc.
On the morning before the nuclear bomb went off over Columbia, Dell called in sick to her office. This was her ritual, every autumn, just before the first serious frost. The World Series was done and Dell and Daniel and the neighborhood boys would troop out to bid goodbye to the season.

With her voice still thick with sleep, it wasn’t difficult to convince the secretary of her sniffles or the gravel in her voice. When the girl, some intern they’d picked up from Mizzou, repeated the message and hung up, Dell bounded out of bed. Throwing on jeans, long sleeves and a jersey, she stumbled into her shoes. As she passed Corleone asleep on the counter, she ruffled the heavy tabby’s ears and tossed last night’s leftover fish into his bowl.

Ducking around the small herd of Tailor children as she stepped out the door, Dell called good morning with a glare. The oldest two swallowed snickers, having delighted in stomping on the floor above her room just before the alarm. Before their mother could ask her to watch the unruly brood, Dell swung into the stairwell. She breathed deep, tasting the frost. The chill snatched the last warmth of bed. As she stepped out into the back alley lot, she saw Daniel wave from across the green. Tossing her the catcher’s mask and shin guards, he slung his bat over his shoulder.

“Couldn’t find first,” he said, scratching at the blue shadow of his beard.

“What?” She smirked, fitting the mask over her face and flexing her fingers in her glove. He kicked the bag at his feet and home, second and third, a few mitts and a tattered baseball rolled out into the sparse grass.

That was when she saw it. Like a flare of sunlight, like dawn, except in the north of the city. Dell shielded her eyes, pushing the mask back. Daniel stared up at the sky, still clutching his bat. Mrs. Tailor paused on her balcony, a sheet draped her arm, her youngest clutched against her. A heavy shadow fell over the back alley lot. The city flinched, bleached white.

Dell gasped. The heat seared past them, blowing them back. She tasted dust and ash and blood. The glass walls of skyscrapers and apartment rises rippled, exploded, filling the air with what looked like starshine. The dew sighed into steam.

She felt herself screaming but she couldn’t hear, so it was hard to be sure. Silence roared through the city. Cars and buildings caved and crumbled. And then God exhaled. Sound thundered over them, the force crushing them flat. The grass hissed and bowed low.

Dell O’Sullivan lifted her eyes and saw the slow roll of smoke. The blast hurled the clouds back and spewed lightning in rusted forks. The sky seethed mercury gray. In fire and smoke, the ringed mushroom cloud shivered the color of boiled blood and copper.

So say we all.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Day 28: When You've Give a Grendel a Cookie...

I've been tagged by Crystal and will post 8 Random Facts about myself tomorrow...BEWARE!

I took a break for a few days from worrying about the dreaded Plot-Monster but yesterday, I pulled off its proverbial arm and hung it from the proverbial rafters. After talking to Martin and Joce about a few particular points of interest and possible scenes, a few very pretty conclusions for the story presented themselves.

1. CALLING THE BANNERS - Mostly, I developed one of my nations into more a loose affiliation of tribes to give them more of a flexible structure in warfare like the Manchu bannermen, and the Celtic and Germanic tribes who swept through Europe, sacking Delphi and Rome.

2. MY HERO IS A JANUS - I also worked on characterizations, and found I love creating an image of the hero - then revealing how he's not exactly who he portrayed himself to be. Unreliable narrators are so intensely enjoyable to write.

- I've decided to pick up illustrating XIII again. So you all get to look forward to sketches and Photoshop delights in the weeks ahead.

The post-apocalyptic chick lit will be written as a short story and possibly, at a later date, be illustrated to create a weekly updated comic. So far, there is no definite title or time frame, though I do think excerpts of it will becomes available on the Friday snippets.


I've got a few ideas of how I would want to do a comic, mainly because of a little comic called LAST BLOOD, a gory but spectacular project, and Dylan Meconis' weekly Family Man, involving vampires and folk of other were-like tendencies. And speaking of were-like tendencies, give Alina Pete's Weregeek a look-see.

So say we all.

P.S. I missed it...but Happy Browncoat Day! Can't stop the signal!

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Day 24: Post Apocalyptic Chick Lit

Down in Shreveport yesterday, inspiration struck. A few posts back, I talked about the five writing projects I would most want to write, one being a story about my longstanding friendship with Jocelyn. But I didn't really have a plot for it. I've also been reading up on survivalist theories and the Zombie Squad with the intent on creating a story around a nuclear holocaust/plague/apocalyptic cataclysm thing, but I didn't have an actual emotional or personal plot. And then I saw it. As I sat in a Barnes & Noble yesterday, nursing a cold Jones and the beginning concepts of an-end-of-the-world novella, inspiration thundered down.

I could write the story, centered around two friends trying to find each other across a nuclear wasteland. The present nuke story line would parallel their past friendship experience. And after reading The Stand, The Road, Oryx and Crake and watching Jericho I figured writing one of these stories solely from women's POVs would be interesting. So I ran it past Joce: she loved the idea! So there you go. Post apocalyptic chick lit!

Has anyone read any other fiction in this vein? Any post apocalyptic suggestions? Here's something pretty and full of fluff.

So say we all.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Day 22: Ex Machina is Good...Just Not in Plot

Things I Find In My Not-Spare Time

Plot problems plague me (and I like alliteration). For the past few days I have decided I would rather bum around than write and I figure maybe a few days furlough couldn't hurt. I find strange things to do with my time, like read obscure books and find even more obscure comics (see below). I've tried to focus, but with the weird weather and any number of other usually insignificant things, it's been difficult. I talked to Joce today and we came up with a few solutions.

1. THE END IS NIGH - I wrote the end of the book a very long time ago and maybe I feel trapped in that ending. She suggested I stop worrying, and write what felt right, and let the characters take over for a few scenes, just to see where the story would go. I agreed.

2. TAKING A BREATHER - I have always felt as if each scene should further the plot. As we talked, we discussed one of our favorite books: The Time Traveler's Wife. Several scenes in that book-of-wonderful don't seem to drive the plot. Rather they allow the reader a chance to breath and see the characters in a less stressful situation. They probably also help the author not stress out while writing. So I'll probably add some of those.

Things I Find In My Spare Time

Ex Machina is a series about Mitchell Hundred, a civil engineer, who gains strange powers to speak to machines. In the comic universe, Hundred becomes a hero on 9/11 when he saves the second World Trade Center Tower by guiding the plane to land in the streets of New York. After unmasking, he is elected mayor of New York and the comic follows his political career and the further development of his powers. The series is clever and well-written by DC's Brian Vaughan (Runaways, The Pride of Baghdad, and Y: The Last Man), with ever single issue beautifully drawn and colored. This series is probably my very favorite (and the best) of all the comics I read.. If you get a chance, definitely try to get a copy and give it a look. I promise - you won't be disappointed in the least.

Speaking of Y: The Last Man, I also picked up the first volume this weekend. Y is the story of a worldwide tragedy in which all men die - all men, that is, except Yorick Brown. While it's sort of a tongue-in-cheek commentary on gender, Y is probably one of the more inventive comics as far as storytelling and concept goes. I loved.

And then after watching the first four episodes for free online, I decided that apocalyptic tv-drama Jericho is up there with my other very favorite shows - Battlestar Galactica, Lost and The Office. I was also thoroughly impressed that the fans of the show fought to save it from cancellation by pelting CBS high-ups with 20 tons of nuts. Bravo.

So say we all.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Day 18 & 19: Love is a Many-Splendored Thing

Today, two of my very favorite couples in XIII finally saw their "love at first sight" moments, though neither couple knew such a moment had just passed them by. Oddly enough, my favorite love story is not that of the hero and his oracle lover, but rather is that of his younger sister and her dangerous envoy from the west. Reason?

The sister and the envoy are so incredibly different. Age, race, religion, beliefs, even suspicion of murder - all stand between these two and blood and death follow like a pack of wolves. Sure, my protagonist and his lady have a love of tremendous awesomeness, but their bittersweet story is not, nor intended to be, as much of a hurricane-romance as that of his sister and her envoy.

I guess one of the things I've been working on is subtlety in plot, character and romantic development. The first two have helped take care of themselves, while the issue of romantic subtlety has raised its ugly old head and caused me trouble. So here's what I figure:

1. FLOWERY LANGUAGE IS A SILLY PLACE! RUN AWAY! - Here's the thing. No way will a couple describe each other in (full-of-evil) flowery-love-terms on their first meeting. Usually, the scene will pass in a thundering rush, with the characters focused on their original goal. Only later will each realize they are thinking of the other. I try to have them recall small, seemingly insignificant details they found charming/annoying etc. This cuts down on the potential for cheesiness/syrup-ness in any love story.

2. LAY YOUR LINES LIKE A NINJA - I try to lay hints of a romance fairly early on in the story. These don't need to be signs that scream, "Their romance is very fracking nigh!" These hints need to be unnoticeable, possibly forgettable. When I decide to reveal that a couple is in the loves, I want the reader to be pleasantly surprised and to smile, not to feel that the romance was unheralded or an unplanned cop-out.

3. WOAH, WOAH, FEELINGS - Sure, my characters have feelings. But usually my scenes are written from a very limited third person POV, which means I can record only one character's emotions at once. Sure, the POV character can notice the other's facial expressions and interpret her feelings. By limiting POVs, I also limit the amount of cheese/syrup from my romance story lines. The reader is not overwhelmed by being dragged between two characters' POVs. He is able to be content and enjoy the story at a safe vantage point from a designated POV.

I found this animation clip courtesy of a great and valiant friend named Jocelyn Howard. She knows of my enduring love of all things comicbook. So this fit. For those of you who have read Astrocity, you know how delightful this style of storytelling and drawing can be when done well. If you want, visit Chris Applehans' Site and look around. It's impressive.


Yesterday, I read through the entirety of The Road, a book by Cormac McCarthy which won the Pulitzer for Fiction. That's right. I read the whole book in one day, if that gives you any measure of how powerful the story is. The book follows a father and his child struggling to survive a nuclear holocaust in a dead world. As a novel, it was incredibly beautiful and touching, but some scenes were so entirely disturbing, cruel and completely awful, I still feel sort of distraught. A few details about the story, including the tone of the end, considering the post-apocalyptic genre, irked me. But it didn't irk me enough: I would definitely recommend The Road for McCarthy's portrayal of human nature and the relationship between father and son. Definitely give it a look-see.

Our blog, Written (R)evolutions has launched! A group of writers, artists and true believers have come together to discuss and create fiction of the fringe nature: fantasy, science fiction, horror, macabre, apocalyptica, cyberpunk and other whimsical and terrifying sundries! Visit us and tell us what you think!

That's all I got.
So say we all.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Day 16 & 17: I Could Be A Legend

Today, the first day after our personal storm, I got back to writing. At first, the scenes spilled out without reason or rationale, and I thought I somehow lost my voice. The story was scattered, the characters strangely aggressive or weak - and I knew, I knew! Something was terribly wrong! My voice was gone! My voice was off! But, after three or so pages, I fell back into the rhythm of the plot. It was hairy there for a little, though.

1. START MID-SCENE - I write out a scene, making sure I have memorable characters and settings. And then I stop. , mid-sentence. I have to remember where the scene is supposed to go, because I'll pick it back up when I lose the story.

2. STASH O' SCENES - I think of all my scenes that will make readers bite off all of their fingernails, hide under the blankets with a flashlight way past bedtime, or sob into their pjs. When I forget where I'm going or where I've been, I pull out the stash o' scenes and write one up to help find the story again.

3. THE RED TELEPHONE - I write a version of the end. This is cheating. It is only to be used as a last possible measure. It's like nukes in the Cold War. Don't pick up the red telephone unless you mean it.

1. I AM LEGEND - I read the book (a 1950s sci-fi novel by Richard Matheson) about a year ago, and knew a movie was in the works. And then I saw the link to the trailer and my head almost exploded. Robert Neville is the last man on earth, but he's not alone. Vampires stalk him as the last prey they can find. Every night they come to his house to try to kill him. Every day he hunts them down and stakes them out...literally. Look at the trailer - I promise it is fairly full of awesome.

ORYX AND CRAKE - Written by Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake is novel about dystopia and cloning and what it means to be human. On recommendation from my cousin, I picked it up and am already thoroughly in the love.

3. DAEMONS AND MY SOUL - How awesome is it that my daemon's name is Leonidas?

So say we all.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Day 14 & 15: I Look at All the Lonely People

In a few hours, I will drive to my grandmother's funeral and in a few days, life will resume its normal and peaceful routine. Yesterday, my mom and I went out to the cemetery to get the gravestones ready. We took flowers for Nana and my grandpa, Mickey and their son, John.

I never knew Mickey, but I've heard only great things about him. He played ball all his life - in WWII he lied about his age, joined the Navy and played baseball on the destroyers and with Japanese children after the surrender. My grandmother loved butterflies and the color purple - she even had this hideously huge purple table that terrified me as a child (don't ask me why it terrified me - the table defied the laws of physics it was so monstrously gigantic).

So yesterday, we put out purple and yellow flowers with a baseball and a butterfly in the arrangement. Hopefully, today will go smoothly, with no drama by out-of-town aunts and uncles. I'll see you on the other side.

So say we all.

Day 13: A Death in the Family

Yesterday, my grandmother died. I mourn the loss of a human life, the loss of my mother's mother, and I mourn that I never knew her well: we were not friends, nor were we close. But I don't want to talk about it any more. Sometimes things are very, very sad.

I have continued writing, not nearly as much as in recent days. It's somewhat difficult to concentrate. I think the writing helps though, because it gets my mind onto other things. I'll be able to talk more after Friday.

So say we all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Day 12: The Bare Necessities

The Beast:
Today I have attempted avoid info-dumping as though it was a rabid dog. I've tried to find various ways to incorporate the info without overwhelming the reader, but none worked quite so well as what follows. Behold! I give you knowledge of info-dumping!

The Knowledge to Defeat Said Beast:
When I asked my friend to read something for me today, I followed with the question of whether or not I gave too much info at once. And his immediate response was, "Why MUST this info be HERE and not spread out elsewhere?"

I just gaped at the simplicity of the question. It was so obvious: the answer to my question was necessity. How much does the reader need to know in order to function in the world, and what can he pick up from more subtle clues, like religious rituals, sayings, landmarks, stories, and family heirlooms? That was the answer! And I could have run myself over with a bus for not seeing it.

What I Think Happened:
Sometimes XIII seems like an ocean and I seem like I'm drowning. Today was one of those times. The family relationships alone - blood, oath, adoption and fostering - combined with the politics of the world and the personalities of the characters sometimes tend to maul my umph to write. And, more to the point, I have the tremendously bad habit of getting so immersed in my world and characters that it looks like fun to get lost/drown, though finding/resuscitating me can sometimes be an ordeal. We're working on that...

After a few hours of editing here and there, something deliciously grand appeared on the page. It's nowhere near a finished draft, but I am actually very pleased with it.

So, Here's What We Learned Today:
Info Given Based on Necessity = Good Structure
Total Immersion Without Continuity Checks = Drowning in Plot

So say we all.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Day 10 & 11: MEME x 5

Here's the five things that I wish I would write! I picked up this meme from MerylF's blog Characterisensation.

1. Write about the top five writing projects you want to do. Books, short stories, whatever.
2. Post the rules and link to where you got the meme from in the first place.
3. Tag people.

1. XIII -- The first thing I want to write and finish is probably XIII. It's a horrid title I know. But it's what works right now. I've had this story since I was thirteen or fourteen, and only recently have I tried to write it in hopes of publication. The story is twisted and complicated and in the end beautiful and tragic. Dukes, bastards, seamstresses and queens, guardians, kings, Fae, and oracles all play out their parts in a massive civil war between worlds, and I think if I ever could work out the whole story on paper, it would be wonderful - if for no one else but me.

2. What is Now: Easter Sunday -- I would want to write this into a full length novel. The short story was incredibly fun to write. The reader moved backward in time and so knew the fate of each of the characters, but the characters were moving forward in time and so knew why they were about to make their decisions. The levels of "knowing" made the story especially interesting to write, and the idea of that as a novel is full of awesome.

3. Lucky #7 -- I want to write a short story that draws from my friendship with Jocelyn in VA. We've been friends now for seven years, and the strange happenings of coincidence and fate that brought us together and continue to help us along would definitely bring out a great story. I'm not sure if I would bring in the usual fantastical element that follows my other stories or not, but we'll see.

4. Apollo and Artemis -- I started a story a few years ago about a man who walked the whole world, keeping things in their proper place while searching for his sister. The world knows them as a race who brings light and fire and summer. While it's not a very well developed idea just yet, I really liked the idea. Mehbe...mehbe we could make a deal.

5. The Icarus Complex -- The last idea has something to do with a really awesome flying machine that the main character, a young girl, constructs to save a man she barely knows. I know there's a cat, a motorcycle, a mirror of great importance, and maybe some cool firearms and aerial theatrics. The story is mostly focused on the heroine's friendship/love of the mysterious man. But it's sort of nebulous...and by "sort of" I mean, mostly.

So say we all.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Days 7, 8, & 9: Yipee-ki-yay and the Deep Green

Sorry for the sudden lack of posts. I was determined that Saturday be a day of rest. So I worked all week to get the word count up so that I wouldn't have to worry about skipping a day.

Today, I went back over my outline, adding and taking out scenes as necessary and to my complete surprise, found that I am entirely in love with my story. It's like this: a few summers ago, I went to Europe and loved everything about it - but I was a stranger in a strange land. When my plane landed in Atlanta, I almost cried. I was home. So, yesterday when I stepped back into the world I created and found that I understood the direction of the plot, my characters, the mythology and the political situation, it was a great and wonderful thing.

Many of the places over the Continent are similar, if in very strange ways, to the places I grew up. When I was little, we lived in a log cabin my dad built for my mom before I was born, and when it rained, the smell of pine and resin filled the warm log rooms. But outside the house, woods spread out with their dark green secrets in the damp. I remember standing at the back door, just knowing there as some menace in that crush of olive and hunter. When I was too unnerved to look anymore, I would tear back to the front door, staying near my mom and obscenely fat cat for the rest of the day. All of that to say this: when I write about a lordling's home in the high forest mountains, those same smells and that same fear of the heavy green find their way into my characters and setting. And yesterday, it happened all at once and the writing life was good.

Now, to completely shift the conversation:

Today, I watched Die Hard for the first time and I think John McClane may be the best hero ever. Not only does he get shot, punched, rolled down some stairs, but he runs over glass, bleeds all over the building and blows up a bag of C4 fighting terrorists - and still manages to be the awesome that is Bruce Willis. That's all I have to say on that one. Tonight, I plan to watch The Prestige with my mom; I've already seen it, but I hope she enjoys it as much as I do.

The last thing: I have decided to put down George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. The book has come to fill my sleeping and waking thoughts, while the tragic events of the series actually affect my moods. So, I will be taking a break, to read something more like Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising, Garth Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy or his The Keys to the Kingdom. Any suggestions for lighter fantasy/scifi reading?

So say we all.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Day 5 & 6: I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing

With the word count proceeding smoothly on schedule, the different story lines established in the first scene continue to expand and work with the main story's goals. For this I am very grateful. Today, instead of proceeding with the established order of things, I wrote a scene from the middle and one from the end of the novel. Reason for this madness?

First, I have to have faith that I will finish the novel. When I write these out-of-order scenes, I inevitably want to fill in the gaps between what I have "now" to get to "there." While I am no Indiana Jones to take a leap of faith, I like to see at least a hint of a path before I hop off into nothing, dragging the story with me. Second, I like to know where my characters are going. By writing that middle and end scene early in the draft, I hope to sort of give myself a north star - a point of reference so I can be sure to guide not only the plot, but also my characters' development in the right direction.

Not involving the writing life, but still of (slight) importance is the following:

Comicbook Day: Alas, comics you have failed me. Three of the four were slow and tedious, dealing with horrid continuity problems or pointless dialog. I decided to shorten my reading list. These I will include for your enjoyment: Ex Machina, Y: The Last Man, and Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil, along with a few monthlies like Batman and The Spirit.

Mr. George R.R. Martin: You write entirely too well, ser, and your series The Song of Ice and Fire, being entirely too wonderful, is the sole object of my adoration.

So say we all.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Day 4: Again with the Peticoats

While writing a scene for one of my lead females today, I stumbled into an entertaining thought. I write Rei, giving her traditionally masculine characteristics - sparse dialog, cunning, rationale, strength. While tragedy forces her to grow up fast, her first act of adulthood is to cut her hair and prepare for war, both things that make her physically more masculine.

The question I found myself asking was this: Are female characters respected in fiction because they act like men?

Starbuck in the new BSG fights, flies, drinks and smokes as well as, if not better than, the boys and for this we love her. But when she gets emotional as anyone in her situation would and takes on a feminine appearence, she gets offed. Arya in A Song of Ice and Fire keeps her hair cut short, looks like a boy, fights like a boy, talks like a boy, and for all intents and purposes, becomes a boy. Eowyn, in The Lord of the Rings, hides her femininity to ride into the battle and instantly becomes a reader favorite. Ellen Ripley in Alien, definitely masculine in appearance and attitude, is pretty much the most awesome badass in the movie. She takes out alien scum while any other man or woman fails. Are these female characters admirable because they act like men? Or because they cast aside their femininity, as though it were a weakness?

To counter this, there are shows like Firefly where each female character maintains her authority and feminine characteristics without coming across as a complete contradiction. Buffy the Vampire Slayer follows in much this same vein. Other more extreme examples include Xena, Trinity, Catwoman, and Molly from Neuromancer. I would argue though, that when taken to this extreme, the attempt at creating a strong female character becomes more of an attempt to exploit the sex appeal of strong and decisive women.

Just a thought. And the word count is coming along just fine.

So say we all.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Day 2 and 3: And I Had an Idea

At 7,668 words, I have moved well into the second chapter and the second POV character of the novel.

But after realizing that most of what I wrote yesterday and today came out badly rushed, I got call from Joce in Virginia. She related her adventures into the world of ceramics and pottery, including her process of carving and preserving her finished pieces. When we got off the phone I went back to writing and realized what I was doing was very similar. She starts by creating a rough outline on her piece, then gradually brings the whole thing to perfection as a whole rather than focusing on only one part of the piece.

To get a better view of my project, I looked at it with this sort of mindset. First, there was a rough outline in my little black book - notes, brief scenes and sketches of plot and potentially powerful POV characters. Then, there will be a very rough 60,000 word draft, staying as close to the outline as possible, while still allowing for some creative sidetracks. In the next few months, I'll adjust this draft, adding and editing down scenes as necessary. Only at the final draft will I begin polishing individual sentences and scenes to my satisfaction. Start rough and work toward polish.

While we ran through a similar exercise in Vanderslice's class this spring, I only applied it to short stories and had never taken the leap to practicing the same process on a novel. No time like the present, right?

So say we all.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Day 1: In the Beginning

In the beginning, there is a boy who learns some horrific news and takes his first step to becoming the hero we all know and love. And so begins the first 2,558 words of my novel! While this whole word count thing is at times stressful, the one beautiful thing I can say about it, without one single doubt, is that is makes the story move!

The story, when it all comes rushing out onto the page, may not be the most beautiful prose, but it does make characters DO things (imagine that)! It makes events occur and sets in motion greater purposes in the plot! Cultural minutiae cropped up through the characters' religions, traditions, laws, and thought, and while these pages definitely need to be fine tuned, I am very well pleased with the first day's results.

I'm off to read A Clash of Kings, but tomorrow, I have a few thoughts to share concerning the greater nature of things to come - in the novel and life.

So say we all.

Friday, June 1, 2007

The All-Or-Nothin Days, They're Back!

And so the chronicle of my journey into the proverbial Wastelands begins: today, the mad race toward a completed first draft of 60,000 words is on. Yesterday, I spent my time focusing on my main characters, the mystery of the novel, the inevitable progression toward greater and greater conflict and the major twists at the end, which lead to the next book. And now...

Now the bar is set for the coming month o' June:
1. 2,500 words a day with time to edit.
2. Adjust plot, if necessary, at the end of every day.
3. Eat.
4. Read A Clash of Kings.

I'll keep you posted with a daily count and how things progress/digress. Now, I head toward sleep and the last pages of Neuromancer. Godspeed and all that jazz, right?

So say we all.