Sunday, April 13, 2014

Writing Partners

Writing partners are lovely to have in your life. They spur you on and encourage you just by them being around and writing. That shared understanding of living a writer's life and struggling and still pursuing this passion sure helps during those doldrums and dry spells. And it takes away my excuses not to write. How can I justify not writing when my friend has three times the workload but is still finishing novels and networking and meeting agents and submitting to contests and all that?

I can't. Seeing all that get done turns my "I can'ts" into "I can and I will and I already haves"--without a single Hallmark card exchange. It's a marvelous thing.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Developing Characters: Occupations

I usually think up what my characters do for a living as the very last thing about them. What does work have to with who they are? And their occupation won't necessarily tie into the plot, like Indiana Jones'.

But of course, every choice a character has made reveals a piece of their personality. And a job can be added conflict and pressure on characters as they pursue goals.

I also like for occupations to reveal story themes and secret unfulfilled dreams that I would otherwise need to tell instead of show.

So how do I choose a character's occupation? By their circumstances and personality and history. Just like in real life. Also, what's interesting to portray factors in my decision. Lastly, I consider what will bring the most plot relevant conflict into a character's life.

Artists and architects may have fun careers, but they have been done in too many stories. Also, the typical artist as done a lot of stories work freelance out of their homes. There can be conflict in not having enough work or in meeting deadlines or having to balance life, but I feel a more dynamic conflict would involve interactions with other characters. Bosses, co-workers, clients constantly pressuring the character and reminding him or her of the stakes.

These are some of my considerations when choosing occupations for characters.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Description Mishaps

For the story I'm pretending to write this month, I've decided to do a prologue. Not sure why, other than just to practice doing one in case I might need to later.

Well, it seems to rely on a lot of description. In the first few pages, there are no characters, just an event that sets up and creates the catalyst for the entire story. It's kind of weird, kind of familiar, but I've had to write some paragraphs over and over again because I'd get to the middle of a sentence and get stuck. Then I'd realize that I began it wrong and start a different way.

I'd visualize something and then write a completely different description. Don't know why that happens, but it did. Frustrating is a understatement here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Didn't Do Much Writing

I will put fingers to the keyboard (or pen to paper) and just write tomorrow. It may not be on my current projects, but I need to write. I'm growing restless.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Brainstorming for Two

I'm in the brainstorming process right now, and I'll be doing this with a partner. This doesn't usually go so well.

One person will usually have "control" of the idea process, which leaves the other person to develop an idea that doesn't feel "owned" by that person. Then every time "no" is said to a further addition or subtraction from the original idea will just feel like a power play to keep the idea from being equally both people's.

This leads to resentment and bitterness, blah, blah, blah.

So...I guess trust should be there from the beginning. Also, taking elements from both partners lists and putting them together would probably be beneficial, and create better ideas.

Anyways, I've just started, but I'm already nervous. I hope this goes well.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Need to Write Something

I haven't wrote anything in three days. I've been busy. Busy, busy, busy.

I don't regret it, though. I wouldn't have been able to write anything worthwhile if the things I needed to take care of still nagged at me. Yet I want to get back into the groove and wonder when that's going to happen. Tomorrow should be a thing, but I can't be too sure.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Case of the Not-Good-Enoughs

Sometimes it's difficult for me to write, not because of writer's block. I could write if I ever started, I just get...insecure and discouraged. I feel that even if I hone my talents to the best that they could be that no one would want to read/view my work. There's always the possibility that I'm just not good enough.

Then there's the more horrible possibility that I'm decent enough, but life says I'm doomed to be ignored anyway and that my time to shine will be long after I'm dead.

That's a terrible thing for me because I write for people who live today and their current experiences. I'm not writing for my legacy or for future people. This is blasphemy, but I don't care if my work doesn't live on if people right now get as much enjoyment as they can out of it.

This has nothing to do with how 'intelligent' my work is. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the ability of my work to resonate with contemporary people. Those who live and dream and cry and work and fight and love and laugh today. That's who I want to reach.

Yet what if I can't.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Not writing today

I need a break. I'll pretend to write tomorrow.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Learning from My Peers

I'm trying to give feedback as much as I can. It helps me to see mistakes that I make in my own writing, but from a more distant perspective. I feel the effects of those hits and misses instead of just assuming that a particular attempt works.

Today I learned the importance of having a full story, one that isn't too thin. I guess this is where subplots and plot layers come in to give a story some heft, and also help to turn things in new directions. If everything hurtles toward the end in a straightforward path, there's nothing much to engage me.

So, I'll keep that in mind when I'm thinking that the plot I have is "enough."

Friday, April 4, 2014

Long Scenes

I knew this would happen, but I guess I was hoping it would magically be different once I began typing the screenplay.

My scenes are too long. I've thought each one over so carefully that they are all jam-packed with setups that I'll pay off later and foreshadowing and characterization and a little exposition sprinkled here and there. How do I cut all that out?

Do I write a two and a half hour script and then chop it up later? Do I figure out what can be dropped now? It might be a revision thing, but... I'm going to be letting people in my writing group read this. I cringe at handing them a script that long.

But we're showing each other our stuff in parts...I'm worried about things I shouldn't be right now, I know, but I should probably learn how to write concise scenes at the beginning so there's less of this. Because I'm going to need to cut many scenes later on just because I cut one line of dialogue here and there in these earlier scenes...they're jam-packed, I tell ya.

However, for right now, I'll just write and enjoy the ride. I can always worry when I'm about to hand my pages over.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

When Plans Change

So I start typing out my story, just winging it, trying to get a feel for what I'm doing, where I'm going, and whom I'm I'm writing about when it hits me.

I'm writing about the wrong characters.

What do I do now? I close the document and write down about these new people and their issues and what they want. And it's totally different than what I'm doing. I can't just keep writing and plug in these characters; it's going to take some rethinking.

Or is it? Maybe these are just secondary characters, or the ones I started out with are the secondary characters. Whichever the case, I might not have to start completely over.

But I'm not afraid to, if I have to.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Reacting to Others' Writing

...When what's written is one mere step above baby gibberish...

I don't know...Should I ignore it? Should I be helpful and comment? But then I know I wouldn't be able to keep the snark out of my feedback so I'd hesitate to say anything.

The best thing I know to do is to look the other way. Yet being in the same social sphere as the writer can be daunting. There will be times when simple communication becomes daunting because this message has been garbled and I don't know if I'm supposed to be insulted and angry or sympathetic and pitying.

I'm being random.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


Sometimes it's difficult for me to remember to add strong opponents to my protagonist's goals. I just don't like 'villains' in the kinds of stories I'm writing right now. However, I know I need to remember that antagonists don't equal villains.

These characters are in conflict with the protagonist over the same goal; that has nothing to do with their moral alignment or personality. The antagonist can even be a hero in his or her own right.

I have to remember that.