New Habits

This week has been all about new habits. For one, Mother Hen and I just started a Candida diet. That means no yeast, no sugars (or at least, as much as you can). It's been challenging, to say the least. Yeast is in so many things you wouldn't think it would belong in. This is a hard diet to stick to and since Mother Hen needs to go on it, it's easier to do it with a buddy. Besides, I did have it myself a little over 15 years ago and I just went through an antibiotic run, which can re-trigger it. It could also be part of the cause of so much exhaustion lately…

Which, ironically brings us to the other habit…

I'm now getting up about 20 minutes earlier than before. This gives me 20-30 minutes of writing time before going to work, depending on how slow I'm moving and how many walls and doors I ricochet off of. It has been difficult to get used to, and some mornings I'm rather tired, but I've been impressed on how much planning and plotting I've been able to get done in that short amount of time:

Monday: Had day off and wrote about 4,500 words
Tuesday: 700 words
Wednesday: 625 words
Thursday: 725 words
Friday: 900 words

Not bad for still being half asleep. It's funny how coherent and creative the results have been, too! I'm wondering if by getting up that early the internal editor is still asleep. What a nice bonus! Although I'm a little jealous of the little bugger, getting to sleep in while I'm hard at work…

As November comes closer I intend to expand that morning time by another 20-30 minutes. For now, though, this is enough of a jump to get used to. I didn't want to put my whole body into shock by suddenly getting up 40 minutes or more earlier than usual. I'm not a morning person!

Upshot of this is that this week has been a break-through in several areas including the emotions of the heroine at various stages of the novel, her relationship with Ariana (not always pleasant) and a key phrase that I knew needed to be near the beginning but until today had no idea what it was. Kinda like George Lucas not knowing exactly what Darth Vader needed to say to set Luke off until the last moment.

Plot outline and universe/character workups now stand at a little over 17,000.

Heh, and this doesn't even include a fanfic I started editing while on my breaks at work. Yep, I think the 'writing muscle' in me is stretching and coming awake.

Horrah!

We have a Title!!!

Geez, it took long enough! I've noticed that either the titles come fast and easy, or they are agonizing and painful. This one definitely qualified under the later. After a few hours with my nose in several thesaurus and reviewing the plot notes so far, the title slowly began to form.

So here, with much trumpeting and fanfare…and great relief…

The Phoenix Enigma: The String Weavers

The first part of the title is for all the books in this series (yes, I already know it's going to be 4 or more books). The latter part is the title of the first book that will be written in November. All subject to change, of course, but I'm pretty happy with the title. 🙂

I've been putting together a Novel Profile and here is what I have so far:

Summary of plot: Megan Hale thinks she’s just a typical mixed up teenager who doesn’t know what to do with her life. Everyone feels that way, her teachers assure her. Yet, strange things happen to her, like food that disappears before she can eat it and hearing music no one around her seems to be able to hear. Then a giant flaming bird arrives and drops an alien at her and her Fathers feet. Well, good grief, how can you ignore something like that? Soon afterwards a group arrive at their house that includes 2 other aliens who then proceed to take them captive. Soon Megan finds herself lost on an alien world hoping to survive as well as find a way to rescue her Father without becoming a captive again herself.

Tagline (a one-sentence slogan that sums up the tone and premise of your novel): Megan always thought of herself as a typical don’t-fit-anywhere teenager with no ideas about the direction of her future, until she found out that the truth about herself was stranger than she could ever imagine.

This weekend I had a 3 day weekend, and it was wonderful! All notes from the previous week have been sorted, organized and typed in. In all I typed in about 6000 words. Right now the planning notes sit at 14, 007 and that's after deleting a whole bunch of old stuff that no longer applies. We are definitely making progress!

Yep, definitely a productive weekend. May get a little more plotting done tomorrow night, but first I'll be posting the new page of the webcomic Dreamers Cove.

Dear character, we hardle knew ye…

Oh, dear character, you were one of the shining stars of the plot from the very beginning. Although you had no name, your personality was clear, your fate already written down. Many were to be your deeds, how great your accomplishments. Your friends adored you, even though you occasionally irritated them. Your enemies respected you, even while hating your guts. Integral were you to be in the plot, moving it forward and helping the grand climax reach its peak…

Then the story changed…

I'm sorry, dear character, but the story has taken another sharp turn. Alas, you were not able to keep up. With the pieces of plot left behind, so were you. With the pivotal changes in the plot, others have taken over. And yes, even new characters have risen up to accomplish events that once belonged to you. Your laughter will no longer be heard, your lows will not affect those that were once your closest friends. Your former enemies will not know you, their attention will be on others. The final climax must build without your help.

Please do not hate these characters, whether they be old or new, former friend or enemy. Do not mourn the story that once was. It is building into something even better than you were once apart of. Someday you may surface again, but in another time and place, among new friends and foes. Look forward to that day instead.

Farewell lost Character.

The Creative Rush

September 7th is the day I had the first visual to inspire this story. It came out of nowhere, and there was the intoxicating and euphoric rush of knowing, “I think I'm onto something!” Other writers, artists and musicians will know exactly what I mean. I could feel it right down to my toes: my heart jumped, I was light-headed for just one moment and my breath caught. What a rush!

That night was useless to anything other than research. I was lucky I went to bed at a semi-decent hour.

The next day, a Friday, continued the creative rush. Yellow sticky-notes being written on in tiny, barely legible handwriting, hastily stuffed in the pocket as I dealt with the 'real world' of going about my day-job which takes care of the necessities of life. By the end of the day the stack of sticky-notes was becoming quite impressive.

In the beginning the story revolved around an adventure on one planet, and I had it all planned out, right down to having it divided into chapters. After years of putting off participating in NaNoWriMo, this year I was going to do it! And I was going to write this book, get down that horrible first draft before my Internal Editor could take control and keep me from realizing the possibilities.

I have a rather nasty Internal Editor. I have so many novels in various stages of completion, all of which have been put aside as not being 'suitably realized to invest the time and energy into'. Anyone want to buy this little annoying joy-killer? You can have him cheap! Actually, just take him…

But back to the story… it was going great. Okay, time for character names. Oh yeah, I need a map of the travels….Then I realized the focus of the story was all wrong.

Oops…

This might have been a bad thing, but thankfully for me, that creative rush was still there. All last week the flurry of sticky-notes and ignoring my friends in the cafeteria to frantically write down notes continued. By the end of the week, I knew I was still really onto something! The story was better, the stakes higher!

The story is sooooo different now. Actually, it's practically unrecognizable. *BUT*, I had to do that first planning to get to where I am now. The time, effort and energy were not wasted, not in the least.

And the story? The silly thing has a mind of its own. I'm just some poor creature trying to read its mind and find out what it's up to. It's taking me on a ride, and I'm loving every moment of it. Maybe someday some of you can come along with the ride, as well. Just so long as someone helps me chain up that dratted, mouthy, know-it-all Internal Editor….

Novel Magna Cartas

For those who are interested, a new page has been put up on Dreamers Cove. Sorry about the delay.

On Thursday I picked up the book “No Plot? No Problem! A low-stress, high-velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days” by Chris Baty. Chris is the person who, with his friends, started the whole “National Novel Writing Month” way back when. It's filled with advice, inspiration and strategy for the craziness I have decided to participate in this year. It's darn hilarious, too. I was snickering like crazy about the 'guilt monkeys'.

One of the exercises he suggests in preparation is what he calls the Magna Carta I and the Magna Carta II, the formers evil twin. These are lists of what you personally enjoy  reading in a novel, and of course, those things that drive you batty. This is to help inspire you, but also to keep the sneaky little buggers in list 2 from creeping into your writing. And they are sneaky, slimy, slippery, tenacious, devious little things….

So, without farther ado, here is what I came up with:

Magna Carta I: What I like in Novels

  • Strong female characters
  • Characters who are at turning points in their lives
  • A good mix of physical ages of MC’s
  • Well-rounded antagonists
  • 3rd person limited omniscience (from one or more character POV)
  • Loyal friends
  • Ancient and/or lost civilizations
  • First paragraph hooks
  • Mystery
  • Strange/ancient/mysterious artifacts
  • Space travel
  • Mental abilities (but not overdone)
  • Aliens
  • Quirky characters
  • Feisty old people
  • People ending up to be more than they are at the beginning
  • Fun character interaction
  • Poetic justice
  • Foreshadowing
  • Concise scenery descriptions
  • Happy endings

Magna Carta II: The Evil Twin. Things I hate reading in a novel:

  • Omnipotent bad guys
  • Antagonists that don’t get their just-desserts
  • Perfect main characters (or Mary Sue/Gary Stu)
  • Young MC who have no guidance from adults
  • 3rd person omniscient POV (story feels too distant to me)
  • Fate as all-powerful (As in, don’t your choices make ANY difference?)
  • Lucky characters (i.e Gladstone Duck..KILL IT, KILL IT!)
  • Plot holes
  • Violence and/or sex with no point
  • Lots of swearing
  • Beginnings that take forever to get into the plot
  • Misunderstandings that exist only because people won’t talk to each other
  • Romantic attraction between characters that have nothing in common
  • Solutions that come out of nowhere
  • Magic
  • Witches/Wizards or the ilk
  • Demons or the ilk
  • Political Intrigue
  • Long descriptive passages
  • Info dumps (related to the above entry)
  • Too many names starting with the same letter or sounding alike (Can we say ‘confusion’? I knew you could!)
  • Unhappy endings

This weekend is for typing in all the notes I've made all this week. Choose what stays in, what gets thrown out. A new file has now been made for this project in the filing cabinet. Seems silly, but I actually stopped to think about what color the hanging file should be. In case you are curious, it's blue.

Yes, I know. I'm partially insane. 😉