Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting inside their heads.

I have stated earlier that over the past two years I have read countless books on the subject of writing. Many of the books offer various tips on how to develop one's writing skills. One such tip I found interesting was to write a biography of sorts about your character. But the twist was to write the biography from the character's perspective. Until yesterday I had not tried the technique. I was finding it difficult to get into the mind of the Queen from whose POV begins Chapter 31. My experiment resulted in unexpected success.

The intention was to write from her POV to get a better feel for how she would think. I achieved that goal, but I also had a interesting byproduct. Several of the lines that I used in my 'doodling' found its way into the actual story. Concepts and phrases that I had used in the blog fit perfectly into the exposition of the Queen in the story. An additional byproduct was a clearer understanding of the Queen as a three dimensional character.

I had been worried that all my antagonist characters were forming to be carbon copies of one another. Granted that they all have similar objectives, but their 'personalities' sort of blend together. I was finding that phrases I used with the Ace found it's way into the mouths of the Hatter - or Pepper - or the Queen - or the Six. I needed to further seperate the emotions, motives, and morales of each character. The challenge of having so many antagonist characters (even as secondary) is to make them uniquely individualistic. I think that by writing the mini-bio on the Queen helped me achieve that for her.

I think that I may want to do that for more of the main characters. It'll help me get into the 'mood' of that character. I also think that when I go back over the different sections I can read the bio to ensure that I am on the proper wave length. A method to make sure that I am staying true to the character's profile.

The fact remains a story is about the characters. A good book has a cast of characters that are unique individuals. As a writer it is our job to develop the separations.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Queen of Hearts

Truth be told I am the most powerful Queen in all of Wonderland. So why should I have to stoop so low as to create a synopsis of myself. Honestly, who would not know me? But on the gentle persuassions of our author I am inclined to acquiesce to his request. Still, I am apalled to learn that the subjects of your realm do not know enough about me. Seriously, I would have their heads for not knowing.

I have been the Queen of Hearts longer than memory serves. Long ago I learned to be a just, but stern Queen. Consistancy is the key to ruling. Every subject of the realm are held to the same standard, regardless of their station. Ask any of my former Kings. Scandals are not tolerated, no matter how pleasing they are to the eye. I'll have the heads of any scandalous vermin.

What? The author asks that I talk more about me personally.

Like what? My favorite hobbies, likes, and dislikes?

Fine. I dislike scandals. I dislike treachery. I shall have heads!

My likes? Fine... I like to have the heads of trators, blasphemers, and those that dare to upset the Queen.

Other than beheading? Well I like being the most popular Queen of Wonderland. I enjoy presenting myself amongst the commoners and the court favorites. The look of envy in the eyes of women that behold me is most exotic. The look of lust within the eyes of men that want me sets my blood tingling. Why else would I subject myself to the hours of preparation? Presentation is everything. Any person can be ruled by lust or fear. Those that do not lust - must fear. All others - Off with their heads.

I tire of this questioning. The author has lied. This has been no fun. Where did he go?
Find him!
Off with his head!

Monday, December 28, 2009


For the past two years that I have been working on this book I have found points where I seem to get stuck. Like a mental barrier stops me from proceeding further with the story. Some of these points are caused because I was unhappy with the way that the story was progressing. Other times I find that I am delaying from moving into the next section of the story. I think that my block now is more of the latter rather than the former.

I am pretty satisfied with the way that the story - this chapter specifically - is progressing. There have been points in the past when I forced my way through a chapter only to find where I was unhappy, find a resolution, then go back and rewrite the whole chapter. This point is not like that. The next chapter of the book will begin the climax of the story. I am nervous about rewriting that chapter. In the first draft the climatic chapter lasted for 20 something pages. I kept it all from the point of view of the main character, but there was so much happening that I think it needs to be done from various. I have an idea of how to do it - shifting the POV (point of view) from each of the characters involved. This will give me the ability to provide plot closure on each of the characters for this book. It will also set the reader up with the story lines to be carried over into the next book.

My fear is doing it justice.

There is so much that needs to happen and the climatic chapter(s) are what will snare the reader into wanting to read the next book. I think that as a writer you want the reader to WANT to come back for more. If you can snare the reader they will want to buy the next book. That demand will have the publishers wanting you to continue with the story. I have read somewhere that publishers are more likely to buy a story if there are sequeals planned. So much rides on the climatic chapter(s) that I have a tinge of fear to move into that area. But it has to be done. I have to move on. I have to do what needs to be done, trying my best as I move forward.

- Can you see that this is a pep talk to myself to get moving???

Well time to write. Until next time.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Reading for Writing.

It's been a few days since my last post. During that time I have had a safe flight to Florida where I began my vacation with my family. My mother being the person she is has kept us busy since our arrival. Most of it related to the Christmas shopping ritual. Not being much of a shopper myself I find alternatives to keep entertained. Most of it involves either reading or people watching.

Reading is another tip I have read about countless times during my research on becoming a better writer. The two secrets to becoming a good writer - or so I have read - is too read and write. A lot. All the time. So I have been taking up the advice. Within the first day or so upon my arrival here I located a few books to read. Two of which are written by Patricia Briggs. They are the first two books in her A Mercy Thompson Novel series. Though the books are not generally located under the "Young Adult" sections, the main character is a female, which resonants with my Alice character - a little. Perhaps an older version of Emily would be more like it. One of the things I like about the book is that she keeps her character moving. The story moves along from the second chapter onwards. The first I thought was a little slow, though necessary.

Reading for research I find is different than reading for entertainment and more difficult. Evaluating a book, the tricks the writer uses, and wordsmithing (using words to create visions or emotions) requires one to detach themselves from the story being generated so see the words, not what the writer is trying to form in your mind. The whole exercise gets more complicated when the story is intriging.

I hope that I can keep the intrigue up with my story. It is the thing that I look for when I am reading. What is it about the story that is keeping my interest. It's looking like the key will be to keep the character or the main characters constantly moving. Constant tension within the scenes. I need to remember this as I write.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Life or obstacles

Like most things in life, projects are put on hold by little things called 'life'. In my case it is not so little. There is much going on in my life which requires my attention, but I am determined to find an hour here and there to contribute to the story. This tactic may reduce the effectiveness of each entry, and I fear, will have a tendency to make a scene look fractured. This may be because it literally is. Each time I sit down to write my mind may be and usually is in a different state. The result is like having several people write the scene one taking over where the other left off. I'm hoping that during my editing and the editing by others I'll be able to parse the pieces together into a seamless story flow. Sounds easier on paper than it is in practice.

I did finish one scene last night as I had hoped to have done. I have also completed most of the third scene of the chapter. Will I be able to complete the third scene today with all that has to be done, well that remains to be seen. The scene is working out well, nearly what I had expected or wanted it to be. As for the fourth scene, I have not even looked much at it.

Tomorrow I travel to FL. That means a two hour plane ride. I hope that I'll be able to get my mind into the story to work on finishing chapter 29. If I can do that then I can work on editing the next chapter 'Pepper'. I'm going to use most of the chapter as I wrote it in the first draft, all I need to do is some editing. That'll be an easy 12 pages. Then it'll be on to the two climatic chapters.

That will be a major challenge!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Warm ups? For writing?

Not long ago while reading one of the many books on the subject of writing I was introduced to the concept of warming up. The idea is that prior to writing you start on a white sheet of paper and begin writing. What you wrote was not as important as the act of writing. The tip goes further that the writing exercise should be written as quickly as the thoughts came to mind and as fast as the fingers could translate the thoughts to words. Well, I have not really done this to any extent prior to yesterday. I decided to give it a try, the result of my ramblings was yesterday's post.

After finishing the post I moved on to writing in Chapter 29. I was quite amazed how easily the thoughts flowed, how easily the words came, how easily the story evolved. At one point I stopped mid-point in one scene and jumped ahead two scenes later - and mid way through that scene I might add - to complete the idea that I had on the original scene. It was quite an intense moment as I felt myself transported into the scene of my creation. I could vividly see the scene as it transpired before me. Then a new idea struck my crawl. To see if the idea would work in the scene I fast-forwarded and lo-and-behold the idea worked.

Prior to completing either scene my daughter called. My daughter never calls - unless... well... you get the idea. But she just wanted to talk. Wow! I savored each and every word as she talked. I will say one thing about writing. I've read and heard of many a writer that sacrafices time with family to work. I really don't want to be a writer that puts the story ahead of my family. Besides this novel IS for my family. It IS for my daughter. I will not sacrafice quality time with family to work on the book.

Now I say this while the first book is not finished and I don't have deadlines from publishers for the next installment. But if that was the case it would be a job wouldn't it? I would be getting paid? Nope - I'll sacrafice other things before I'll sacrafice the quality time with family. But I'll squeeze it in where and when I can.

So tonight's goal is to finish at least another of the four scenes in Chapter 29. As I stated earlier the second scene of the chapter is already wrapped up. I got two others in process. Let's see if I can finish both, but I'll be happy with one completed.

I wonder at what point writing for fun becomes an obessession.

Monday, December 14, 2009

And so it goes on...

One thing that I have learned from writing this novel is patience. It is now over two years since I started this project. It started off to be such a nice short piece. An easy 90 pages. Sometimes it's even difficult for me to grasp this epic adventure I am on. But everything I have read on the subject - and trust me I have read thousands of pages - the reoccurring theme is that a writer must have patience - and persevarence.

Oh hell, I just realized that this blog stuff doesn't have spell check.

I'm doomed.

Well I have Chapter 29 open at the moment. It's sitting there, taunting me, calling me names. It intimidates me, but I know that, like every other chapter before it, when I conqure it I will feel the accomplishment. Enthusiasm like no other is what is felt when I finally finish a chapter.

But I have to write to finish. I have to get in there, get into the mind of the characters (not an easy task let me tell you), I have to fight through my own mental blocks. Write is the advice that I get from all the writing books. Write as much as you can, all the time, whenever possible, on any subject. So here I am, writing in a blog that will probably never get a reader, but I am writing. It is my warm up.

On to the story now. I have already completed the scene with the Mad Hatter and Emily. I feel good about how it turned out. I have three more sections to write in the chapter. Each section - scene - is uniquely different from each other, so I am not having to worry about seques. My biggest problem is that each of these new sections have little to no dialogue. Dialogue is a tool that helps keep the story moving. Not having dialoge now means that I must create keep the story moving with action. Creating movements, action, can be complicated unless you have a vivid image in your mind on what is happening. Problem here is that I really don't.

So why not leave them out?

Well that is a good question. In the first draft I found gaps in why a character did what he or she did - or how he or she got to a certain place. Some gaps are okay. Allow the reader to fill them in. And I do use this strategy at the end of the story - big time, but here it won't work. I also can't use exposition this late into the book - talk about anticlimatic. So I must convey motivation through action.

Good luck to me. Time to write.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Chapter Added

I've finished Chapter 28 and in the process decided that I need to add another chapter before getting to 'Pepper'. I know that I am already well past my original goal of having a 140K word book, but the story requires it. One thing that I have learned thus far is that when you get the urge to change the story - make the change. So a new chapter goes in.