Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cue Evil Laugh

I've done it! Fifty thousand words. Best of all, I'm rather pleased with the story--except I'm feeling a little guilty. My characters are very nice people and I've chased them up trees and thrown rocks at them.

My hero and heroine just got to their wedding day and I had twinges of guilt the whole time I was writing about their bliss. Their anticipation was so intense that they started getting it on in the carriage when he stopped her. After all, their marital bed was waiting for them and they had the rest of their lives.

Oh, I'm sorry. Did you think you were going to consummate your marriage tonight? Pwned!

What I knew and they didn't was that a man with a gun was waiting to ambush them. There would be no connubial bliss. The scene turned out much darker than I originally intended but my heroine surprised me with her strength. She started out this novel crying at the drop of a hat. I think she's grown quite a bit through her ordeal. :sniff: I'm quite proud of her now. Still I felt sorta bad about the whole thing. It was supposed to be her happiest moment and I made it hell on earth, but hey--who said growth was easy?

So, what's the most evil thing you've done to your characters recently?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

La La La! I can't hear you!

So, I'm fighting the derail in my story right now. I've been hit with the new project bug, a shiny new virus determined to suck away productivity from my current WIP. It beckons to me with seductive new characters ripe with promise and free from the taint of convoluted subplots and unexpected plot twists. It won't hurt at all. Sooooooooooo easy to give in.

No! I must fight it! I must not allow the infection to take hold. There is no antibiotic, but I've done what I can to plump up my immune system. I've outlined the new story in order to purge it from my system. It has not been effective.

This isn't the first new product virus to attempt invasion during NaNo, but it has been the most successful. The characters whisper to me in my dreams. I picture them as I'm shopping in the grocery store. They pursue me with shamless intensity.

But I shall prevail. I have a new strategy. This is my carrot, my reward for finishing this novel. When I am done with Death by Scandal, I'm allowed to write the Ruination of Prudence. (And give it a better name too.)

How about you? Other projects trying to get a little me time and steal your attention? How do you fight them?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Three cheers for stupid!

Like the picture says, sometimes success means fail and sometimes fail means success. What I'm trying to say is that sometimes it is more interesting to see our characters make poor decisions than good ones, just as long as they feel the consequences of their actions.

What makes TSTL characters so maddening is that everything turns out okay for them. Someone bails them out. The hero rescues the heroine from her stupid decision and no one calls her on it. She never realizes the error of her ways. Even worse, her impetuous and foolish behavior is praised as brave. This makes me want to leave a permanent forehead impression on my desk.

In real life, people do make bad decisions or act without thinking, but they have to live with the consequences. Failure can lead to personal growth and for characters, that leads to win and awesome! Isn't that what we hate the most about Mary Sue characters? If she is beautiful and sweet and a rocket scientist who speaks seven languages and knits blankies for orphans in between composing piano sonatas--well, where is the drama. Of course she will succeed. Ho hum. On the flip side is someone so flawed that I just can't bond with her at all, but that's another rant for another day.

In my current WIP, my heroine makes a bad choice and conceals information in a murder investigation. She thinks she is simply protecting herself but it becomes harder and harder to maintain the falsehood. The small bit of information she hides becomes increasingly important to the investigation. Finally, she must own up to her actions and live with the consequences. She finally triumphs by making smarter choices.

So lets hear it for failure and stupidity. Huzzah! Don't they make life grand?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two Steps Forward...

So, I had this great idea and tinkered around with my plot this morning. I started the day with a bonehead move. I left my laptop at home. DOH! It was an odd day without email or teh intrawebs. This gave me a chance to pull out my handy, dandy notebook. Fortunately I never travel without.

I noodled about and then had one of those glorious heavenly choir light from above epiphanies. :cue sparklies: This was followed by more brilliance and suddenly I had this awesomesauce plot twist and it worked perfectly...except...except...oh crap. It required my heroine to do something TSTL*.

Dang it. I hate that. It sounds like a good idea at the time but when you look at it under the lights--not so much. Very deflating.

But!!!!! But the first part of my uber wonderful idea? Still greatness.

Now if I can only pull it off! What false steps have you made in your WIPS?

*Too Stupid To Live

Monday, November 17, 2008

Time to kill somebody

No, don't worry. This isn't one of those "mary goes off the rails" moments. I meant in my WIP. I hadn't really planned on more than one death (except the murderer who will meet a bad end) but I think I'm heading toward another dead body. My heroine has inadvertantly pissed off the killer and put herself in harm's way. I think the murderer will make an attempt on her life and kill the wrong person.

I was afraid I had made a bad move and resolved some of my conflict far too early, but I think this just might redeem it. I was losing my sense of danger to the protagonists. This should do nicely. Nothing like someone who wants to kill you to heighten the tension.

Then again, I don't want to rely on cheap plot devices to manufacture tension. Oh hey, story getting stale, time to kill someone again. It has to feel organic and necessary to the plot. I think it is. The killer has framed my protagonist for the murder. Now she's going to try and fake her suicide. Too bad she doesn't know my gal doesn't like chocolates and will hand off the poisoned present to someone else.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Turtling along

So, I'm still at it. Baking my Black Forest Torte one layer at a time. I should hit 20K tonight. Yay. But progress has been slow this week and I have violated the most sacred tenet in all of NaNodom.

I've been editing.

Yup. Several times now I have looked over my writing and started editing.

Even worse?

I've taken words out.

It goes against everything NaNo stands for and yet I've been unable to restrain myself. When I read and see words that don't belong--or even worse, entire scenes--it goes against everything I've trained myself to do as a writer to simply leave them for later. I must fix it now.

I'm not sure if this is growth on part as a writer or simply a dread of the inevitable rewrites that will fall my way. See, I've been down this road too many times now. I'm not a starry-eyed writer in love with her first novel. I have quite a few novels cluttering my hard drive now. (And one out a LuLu and one partial still in the hands of an agent) For me, the thrill isn't so much in the idea of finishing a novel. That I can do.

But I know how much work will come with finishing one. Writing is the easy part and editing is a bitch. Perhaps I am more cautious because of last year's NaNo project where I wrote with complete abandon. Dawg that was fun. But the edits...OY!

Will my rewrites be any easier for my more cautious approach? Check back in January.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Noms for Everyone!

So, I've already whined about how different this NaNo is for me compared to years past. Last year, Nano was a blast. I was done by around the 20th and just played and padded my wordcount for the remaining 10 days.

I easily breezed out 5,000 word days. No sweat. It was good fun. The words just tumbled out so easily.

2008? Not so much.

Methodical. Plodding. Deliberate. All those words come to mind. Now I happen to love this WIP and have hopes for it, but it is not the giddy delight of last year. The difference? I think it's the book.

Last year was a breezy paranormal mystery told in first person with a sassy chick lit voice and a snarky humor. It was so much that it ought to be criminal.

My current WIP's style of prose requires much more thought and precision. I have been unable to simply vomit on the page and let the ugly hang out. Oh, it's still ugly--damn ugly in places.

Last year was chocolate mousse, fluffy and light and delicious. Speed is an asset when making chocolate mousse. If you take too long the cream settles and you lose the whip. It's all a scurry of motion and rapid chill.

This year is black forest torte, dense layers that take time to craft. The secret to making a perfect black forest torte is patience. You need to cook the first layer and then let it cool completely before adding the next. If you put a cold layer on top of a hot one, the hot one bubbles through and the layers mix. It loses its texture. You need to cook the chocolate mixture. Let it cool. Fill the pie crust. Add the cherry mixture. Another layer of chocolate. Whipped cream. More cherries. Curls of dark chocolate. It takes time, but oh so worth it.

We'll just see if I can keep the thing from collapsing into a hot mess.

But whatever the WIP, however it needs to be written, we shall all nom.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Inching Along

I'm a plodder. I've come to this conclusion after seeing the massive word counts some people are posting for NaNoWriMo. I thought I wrote with decent speed, but I now see that I'm methodical and deliberate and kinda slow actually.

2K a day. That's me. I putz along at my own speed while others post 5, 10, 15 thousand words a day.

That's okay.

I don't mind be the turtle.

Just so long as I still get my share of the lettuce.