Silent’s March Musings

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Silent’s March Musing

reportCaution.

Authenticity.

I brushed my hair back, and smoothed my skirt.  Actually, I was wearing  tights.

I almost lost my mind in February.  I turned 31.  My cat died.  I feel older, no, vulnerable, in a way I never did before.  Will my Grand Parents finally go home?  Will I be entrusted with a little soul to watch over for a time?  Will I continue my journey as a writer, or will I set it aside, as I have so many other things?  Life is many things to me now, but easy is not one of them.

I started March, and my reading pace slowed a little.  I targeted parts of the craft I wanted to know more about.  I became more serious about writing exercises.  However much I might soak up in reading, it can’t stick until I apply the lessons.  Having completed Tavern Girl, a 6,000 word short story, I edged into my next project, Blossoms In The Snow, thinking it might be a 30,000 word novella.  I finally forgave scribophile for their cavalier treatment of this newbie, and took advantage of some very sharp minds on that site.

What did I fill my empty little head with?

My reading included two books I blogged about, Steven King’s On Writing, and Chris Baty’s No Plot? No Problem!  Stephen King’s book came in two parts; the first half was autobiographical, and wonderful; the second half of his book had many helpful how-tos.  Chris Baty’s book, surviving NaNoWriMo was entertaining.  Now, I appreciate the “write it all down as fast as you can” approach that most writers, whether they are plotters or pansters advocate.  NaNoWriMo temps me, perhaps in November, 2014.

I also read to fill holes in my writing craft.  I read Noah Lukeman’s The Plot Thickens, hoping to better understand character arcs, and connect character’s to plot.  I transitioned from writing to editing, helped by two more books, Renni Browne and Dave King’s Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, and Michael Seidman’s Complete Guide to Editing Your Fiction.  The first of the editing pair was more useful than the second.  I began applying the lessons.

Exploring genre’s, I also started Leigh Michaels’s On Writing Romance and Orson Scott Card’s How To Write Science Fiction and Fantasy.  I am still reading both books.  I intend to complete them before diving into my next project, Blossoms In The Snow.  Don’t read too much into the choice of books.  I also have T. Macdonald Sillman’s Writing The Thriller on my shelf, waiting to be read.

What did I work on?

I focused on five things.  I began the first work on a new story, Blossoms In The SnowMy characterization of three of the four major characters is well advanced.  I experimented with Scene-Sequel constructs, using my only completed novel, Forbidden Footsteps, figuring the manuscript was too dreadful to it harm it.  Working on characterization, I delved into notes written as I observed people.  I fleshed out their descriptions as part of an occasional series.  I honed my editing skills with exercises in Self-Editing for Fiction Writers as part of another series.  I readied Tavern Girl  for scribophile critique.

As it turned out….

I was ready to press enter on scribophile, but decided to create a logline first.

What is a logline?  Loglines came into being as a tool for the movie studios to sort through manuscripts.  Most manuscripts never get beyond the logline look.  Authors have 27 words to hook weary, jaded readers.  The logline observes a specific format:

When incident, occurs character with role and motivation pursues goal, only to discover that opposition threatens disaster.

I assumed the challenge was finding 27 words to describe a 6,000 or 160,000 word manuscript.  (Impossible task?  Ruv Draba shows examples of Schindler’s List, Raiders of the Lost Ark, When Harry Met Sally and The Hangover.)

I did not know my story!

In chat-room like exchanges with three people, I realized I had the wrong story, and it just lay there, doing nothing

I pulled Tavern Girl back and questioned every aspect of the story.  I strengthened my First Plot Point, the one that changes everything, and added in a mounting series of troubles for my protagonist.  Six more characters appeared, most of them minor but needed.  Three minor characters got a lot more speaking lines.

I used the checklists in Self-Editing for Fiction Writers and scrubbed my story.  When I got to the second chapter, I tried to answer this question:

Look back over a scene or chapter that introduces one or more characters.  How much time, if any, have you spent describing the new character’s character?  Are you telling us about characteristics that will later show up in dialog and action?

The answer to the question required building real character arcs, not only for my slave girl, but for her unexpected rescuer, her closest friend, her Master, and the evil slave girl who hates my protagonist.

My 6,000 word short story, still incomplete, stands at over 15,000 words.

Believing I was ready, I went back to the logline group.  In the space of one day, two beautiful people helped me realize I do not understand my story.

  • The story starts too late.  I need to begin earlier in the story (most authors have the opposite problem).
    • The story ends too soon.  I need to let it go further.
      • My First Plot Point, the one that changes everything, is wrong.  What I thought was a follow-on disaster is actually the thing that changes everything.  This means pulling a lot more of what I thoughtwasback-storyintothestory, and drawing out the relationship of the protagonist and her best friend.
        • My protagonist’s goal of freedom or death is too vague.  And, with the ending I had on paper, the protagonist is rescued.  She needs to be allowed to grow to the point where she is capable of rescuing him, instead of him rescuing her.  What I thought was the end, might be either the Second Plot Point or the Mid Point.
  • And this all happened this morning, in the space of about three hours.

What does this mean?

My second edition is not nearly ready to go.  Again

A third edition my easily take this story into the 60,000 – 100,000 range word count.  This has the makings of a series.  I wonder if there would be five stories in it.

Blossoms In The Snow will have to wait.  Who knows, maybe it becomes the NaNoWriMo project, instead of Illusions of the Soul.

 

What did I write this month?

Awed by Stephen King

Soft As Stone

One Lump of Snow, Or Two

Slip In Time

Confessions On “No Plot? No Problem!”

Sergio – A Character Study

Write What I Know…or Make It Up followed by Stalking My Thoughts 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Dream of Schemes, Scenes followed by Schemes and Scenes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Six Word Flash Fiction 1 and 2

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