Character Development

Writing Update

I haven’t gotten a ton of actual writing accomplished lately but I’ve done a lot of world building and character sketching. One of my characters informed me the other day that she is the granddaughter of a demigod. Suddenly she went from boring and closed off, to cool and intriguing. The cool part is literal. Now I just need to figure out if freezing a pirate ship, then super-heating it, would make it explode.

The writing class I’m taking is going well but I’m a little impatient. I can’t access next weeks lesson until Friday and I’m the type to do pretty much everything quickly. It’s actually good for me to be forced to slow down and take my time.

I haven’t written any flash fiction since Celyn’s Tower because the lesson I’m on has to do with coming up with ideas. I’ll put those ideas to use next week. After that, I’ll have a bunch of leftover stuff to work with. Maybe you all should be prepared for an onslaught of short stories from me at that point.

I’ve had almost no motivation today, which is a direct result of me adjusting to a new allergy medication, but I intend to write something (other than this post) today. Perhaps I should write about how much new meds suck! The last time I was unmotivated I met up with some people from my writing group. That helped a lot with encouragement, ideas and research possibilities. Thanks to Michelle and David! Hopefully I can manage something like that again this week.

The kids are home for spring break so I will be quite distracted. Actually, since they have been marathoning Steven Universe, I’ll probably close my door, stuff a towel under it and put on headphones. I don’t think I’ve despised a show they watch this much since Ed, Edd and Eddie. I also hear the season premiere is coming up with a crossover with Uncle Grandpa. You know, suddenly spending eight hours at Starbucks is sounding pretty appealing.

For fans of the aforementioned shows, don’t be insulted. I have no clue if the plot is any good because I can’t get past the voices to actually watch an episode. Let me also add that my daughter has this tendency to watch the same episode repeatedly. By repeatedly I mean several times in a row, with the loudest most annoying parts being rewinded and replayed TOO MUCH! No really, 8-10 times!

A minor update on the latest book I plan to review this month: I’m struggling. It’s not bad, there are definitely interesting parts, but it’s not keeping my attention. I’ve been very busy and I’m trying to be fair but I don’t think it’s my life that distracting me from it. There is some intangible thing that holds your attention in a really good book that this one seems to be lacking. I’m barely halfway through and normally I read books in a day or two, maybe four if I’m busy. I’ve been trudging through the current one for much longer. There are two characters that I truly don’t care about and one that I am curious about so we’ll see.

The last little update is I’m learning to use Reddit. I’m so lost in it, but I figure if I could learn Twitter, I can learn anything!

Now that I have all of that out of my system, I’m going to go make myself write something creative. Wish me luck!


Sidenote question: Am I the only one that doesn’t like the changes to the screen where you make a new blog post? I liked the panel being on the right! I love using WordPress but I wish they would quit messing with my ‘creature-of-habit’ issues!

I feel like I abused punctuation with this post. That’s what happens when you sit down to write something with no plan.

Oh No, Not Again!

Is it crazy that I have a new idea for a story and I’m going to go with it? Yes, absolutely. Well, I’m not truly going to switch to it but I’m going to make an outline and write up some character sketches. I made a Scrivener project to work on it, which translates to it interests me a lot.

Camp Nanowrimo is coming up in two months. I’ve never done it but I’m thinking about it. If I get all the pre-planning complete on this story by then, and I’m still wanting to write it, I use it then.

I don’t think I could handle using any of my current projects for the nanowrimo thing. I feel a little stuck on one, burned out on another and the one I’ve been concentrating on, well I simply don’t want it to be a nano project. Plus, I think doing something new works better for me when I’m doing a fake competition with myself.

This new story is a little odd and I honestly don’t know if it will be a longish short story, novella or a novel. It involves a female anti-hero and there is a lot of violence — two things I don’t normally write. Oh and it’s not fantasy. We’ll see how it goes.

Writing Update

The roads are covered in ice and we have two winter storms moving together. I’m not going anywhere today. I’m going to take advantage of this weather-induced house arrest and write all day today. Everything in the middle grade story is plotted out. All I have to do is write from slightly past the middle to right before the ending. Since I have all this time today, I wish I was Stephen King. If I was, then I would have the thing written, edited, put aside and be working three books down the line. I am close though. I have the bones of the story, and a lot written. It needs a lot of setting work and I need to cut out half the dialog. I’m one of those writers that ends up with 90% dialog before writing settings, descriptions, etc.

So I will write as long as I can in that story, and if I get tired of it, then I’ll work on my flash fiction issues. Maybe the fantasy story. I’ve been letting that one simmer in the back of my head for a while. I may wait until tomorrow for that one because in the morning I plan to write the back story for a sea dragon. She’s an important minor character.

I know I probably shouldn’t switch back and forth between books but most of the time it works for me.

New Year’s Resolutions and Goals

There are millions of resolutions being posted today. Here is mine anyway. I have a couple of resolutions and some goals.

Resolutions:

  • Write more. Write everyday, no matter what, even on my husband’s days off.
  • Get organized. This does NOT include my desk but does include my closet! Mostly I need to organize my tons of books and office supplies.

Goals:

  • Finish first story in my middle grade series, and revise it.
  • Write the rough drafts of the second, third and fourth in that series. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds. I have the bones to the stories already.
  • Finish rough draft of my fantasy story. This is your typical fantasy thing. Ensemble cast.  A few dragons. Good against evil. A long quest to find important artifacts. Magic. Awesome locations.
  • Figure out if one of the characters in the fantasy story will keep the name Zanne or if I need to rename her. Same with Darian.
  • Come up with a solid outline for a YA project. This matters because I’ve been writing it with no planning. I don’t want to lose where I’m going with it.
  • Join and participate in a critique group. I’m being pressured to join now (in the best possible way), but I’ve been too chicken to do it. This should probably be a resolution.
  • More flash fiction.

I have other goals that have nothing to do with writing but I left them off this list because they are only of interest to me and my family. Good luck with your goals and resolutions. Happy New Year!

Writing Update

I got some writing in yesterday but not as much as I wanted. I’m trying to come up with reasonable writing goals for this week. I want to make them reachable but effort required. At this point I’m unsure if I should use word count or chapter or scene goals or what. Maybe a bit of all those. Word count makes me think of nanowrimo and makes me shudder. However, I got a lot of writing done that month. I would like to have the rough draft complete within two weeks. Another writing goal is to make my main character NOT a Mary Sue. Wish me luck. Happy writing everyone.

Side note: I did write for over an hour yesterday. I may just change my Saturday challenge to an hour permanently.

Re-plotting Update

I’ve been writing out notes but today is the day I buckle down and really get to the business of re-plotting the middle grade story. I already have the beginning and ending (hopefully) that I want. It’s the middle that is giving me so many problems. This is the beginning of a series and there is a lot to introduce. One of the things concerning me is that I’m afraid I have too many characters. It’s pretty much an ensemble but one is The main character. The first story is about her but includes three new friends she makes. As I’ve been working on this even that is making me unsure. There will be one or two new characters in each story. I want to have Tommie the fairy be the common thread. This started out as her story. The problem is as I have written scenes and snippets as they come to me, I keep wondering if she should really be the main character in each book. No matter what I’ll use Tommie to tie everything together but we’ll see what happens. The whole thing could change after today.

Nanowrimo Interruptions

Have you ever had a new character harass you until you write about them? That’s been happening to me on a regular basis this month. These characters don’t have the decency to show up before November starts. Nor do they have the patience to wait until it’s over. I tried to ignore them. Jotting a quick mini character sheet about them didn’t shut them up. One I tried to incorporate into my current story but after 500 words it was clear she belonged in another book. So I gave in and wrote all about a tall garden gnome. She was a foundling and had no idea where she came from. She only knew she was two feet taller than the people who raised her. It turns out she’s a mountain gnome. I found that out when another new character snuck up on me today. The new one was particularly persistent. This one I knew belonged two or three books down the line so I wrote down the basics and tried to get back to work. I couldn’t stop thinking about her so I decided that I might as well get what I had out of my head. This one is a gorgon. She wears a beanie to hide her ‘hair’ and specially spelled goggles so she doesn’t accidentally turn anyone to stone. She’s a healer who wants to make a name for herself so she leaves her home in search of a new one. She runs into the gnome, who happens to be practicing her garden gnome skills and thinks her curse turned the girl into a statue. She recognized the gnome for what she was. It went on and on.

All of that brought me to the point where I’ve written about 10500 words that have nothing to do with nanowrimo. Part of me feels like I should be upset with myself for allowing other things be a priority. But the other and more reasonable part of me says: Whatever, I’ve been writing, that’s what matters. It’s been years since I wrote everyday. Now I know I can keep up a fairly steady pace. That’s what I’m taking away from nanowrimo. I didn’t know if I would be able to win when I started this journey. Who knows I still might, My word count is close to 28000. Maybe I’ll have a day where I have writer magic happen. It doesn’t matter. I need to work on my staying on the correct task restraint but my write as often as I can discipline is fully active.

Last year I gave up on nanowrimo. This year, even though I probably won’t finish, at least I was merely distracted, by writing. I guess that makes me a happy loser.

What If?

I don’t know about the rest of the writers out there but I find what if questions extremely helpful. If I’m trying to figure out a character, or I’m struck with writer’s block that kind of question is my go-to first step.

I’ll give an example of how it’s helped me. About a year and a half ago I decided to write a middle grade fantasy story. I had this random idea for a story about a fairy that didn’t really fit in with other fairies. I don’t normally like fairy stuff but I went with it. Maybe she would suck at magic or maybe be clumsy when flying. I didn’t like either of those so I started with the what-if’s.

What if she wasn’t good at magic because she couldn’t do magic the way the other fairies wanted her to because her magic worked different? What if all she wanted in life was to become a fairy godmother but failed to achieve that? What if she had no idea if she could fly because fairies didn’t fly anymore? What if she looked different than all the other fairies? What if she made some friends that also wanted to be fairy godmothers but couldn’t for some reason?

I somehow came up with hundreds more. Each what-if made me think of another. Eventually this turned into my nanowrimo project for this year. The idea wasn’t new but I had been working on other things. Plus I was too scared to write it because I had never written something like that before.

So a story idea about a fairy who didn’t fit in turned into more. It is about a fairy named Tomorrow (Tommie) who wants to be a fairy godmother more than anything. In the Fairy Godmother Academy, she learned that magic had to be carefully controlled. Creation magic was forbidden. For centuries the fairy community had used creation magic to change themselves to look more human. They got taller and their wings got smaller until most were born with no wings. No fairy alive could fly. As a whole the fairies were less powerful than that had been. No one remembered why, but everyone agreed that creation magic had been depleted and it was dangerous to use. Then Tommie was born. She was like the fairies of old. She was small, about four feet tall when the rest were near five feet. She had wings that were larger than her body was. She had huge purple eyes. But the biggest difference was that she was more powerful than the rest of her community. A lot more powerful. Controlling her magic only caused chaos and using it the way that came natural to her only got her in trouble. Eventually she has her final exam to become a godmother but failed. Various adventures ensue. Along the way she makes some friends who want to become fairy godparents too. Not one of them is a fairy and each of them is a little different than their families and peers. They start a campaign to change the rules when a bigger problem occurs. The gates to the fairy realm are failing.

Not too bad a base to start with. All of it started with the one what-if question: What if there was a fairy that wasn’t good at magic because hers worked differently than everyone else?

I still have a long way to go and I’ll keep asking my what-if’s until I don’t need them. This is only the beginning of a series. What tricks work for the rest of you? I hear people say ideas are cheap but I’m always looking for new ways to generate them.

Now I know I said I might talk about minotaurs in my last post. That one is in the next book. As I was researching him and making a character sketch, I realized I haven’t quite figured him out. What I know is that he is not evil. He might have evil urges but he’s choosing to be good. He’s got perfect memory. I mean he lived in a labyrinth, he had to be able to find his way around. I think instead of it being just one guy from Greek mythology, he will come from an actual race (maybe a created one). There aren’t that many around though and they are all bad. He might be a vegetarian. Tommie and her friends will meet him in their travels along with a really tall gnome, who was raised by garden gnomes.

Random Clara hating

I can’t stand Clara, does that make me a mean person?

I’m not trying to be mean, I’ve been studying characters in shows and books that I like. It’s so hard for me to see her as anything other than a place holder.I feel like I have no idea who she is. Maybe it’s just me.

Don’t hate me!