Naming Dillema

Another week of plot-planning, and another weekend of fixing problems. What problems? Glad you asked!

As the plot planning progressed, Megan Hale's personality was becoming more and more defined and refined by her deeds, actions and reactions, not to mention the inter-relationships she was have with various characters.

Around Wednesday I became suspicious that the main heroine's name wasn't quite right. By Thursday the feeling was even stronger. Megan was just too soft of a name for this heroine. By Friday morning, I knew the worst: the name had to change.

This was rather depressing. The time it takes to find a name for a main character is usually very time-consuming. Rarely does it come fast and easy. It took almost 2 days of research to come up with the name of Megan.

So, instead of continuing on the plot-planning, Friday night and most of Saturday were spent going back to the research, hoping to find a new name. Gobs of baby-naming websites, looking at books and articles on character naming (which only gave me advice I already knew), and lists and lists of potential names.

Then one jumped out, and even though I continued making lists of potential names, this one kept rising to the top…

So, goodbye Megan Hale!

Hello Kelsey Hale! Nice to know you! Welcome aboard! Have a look at the plot…

…Why do I get the feeling Kelsey might not be so glad to be on board after reading it? 😉

Hours spent in researching names: 10-12 estimated
Word count (actual writing on the plot, mostly accomplished Saturday night): 4,200 Words

The Plotting Weekend…

Friday night:
Okay, time to get this mess organized! The goal this weekend: to work up the entire series in this ‘universe’ so that I could be sure of what details needed to be in the first book that I plan on writing in November for NaNo. THEN I could finish the plotting outline for this first book.
As I worked Friday night I realized several problems as I was typing my week’s worth of sticky-notes and odd notes on scraps of paper:
First big problem: I had no idea how long this series needed to be. All I knew was that it needed to be more than 2 books. This is a serious problem as I have no clue when certain plot points need to be introduced.
Second big problem: As there are several mysteries running through the storyline, I needed a way to keep track of each and make sure each are wrapped up appropriately by the end.
Third big problem: I knew that if I didn’t solve all this now, I risked making some huge mistakes in following books, knowing that many later plot points inspire earlier ones as foreshadowing and set-up.
It looks like I need a template to help organize this mess into something cohesive. Friday night I went to bed thinking about all this and making notes on what this mysterious template needed to include.
Saturday morning:
No alarm, this is my day off! Fortunately, I really didn’t sleep in too badly. J The moment I was awake, I jumped up and immediately started research. First off: the template…
….and I quickly came to the conclusion that there are very few templates out there in books or on the ‘net that are designed to be used for planning series!
By Saturday night I found one: a template posted at Forward Motion by Sheila. She has some lovely templates, but as any writer knows, every writer works differently. Not long after I started using it, it quickly became apparent that it wasn’t working for me. The details were spread out in a way that was driving me nuts, and too many times I found myself putting the same info, only with a slight deviation, in answer to too many of the questions. It also wasn’t helping me plan out where the subplots and details to the mysteries needed to go in a way that I could see very quickly visually. That last part is very important as I’m a very visual person.
Saturday night: After starting to fill out Sheila’s template I’m guessing the series needs to be about 6 books. Right before I slip into sleep, I’m thinking maybe 2 books need to be combined and it will turn into a 5 book series.
Sunday Morning:
Time to get up and solve this template problem! Bringing out my first ideas for a template and then using Sheila’s template to be inspired with, I started putting together a new template.
By late Sunday morning it was a success! Sunday afternoon and evening all the little notes I had were transferred into the new template, and guess what?
The silly thing wanted to be a 7 book series!
Personally I think it just wants the extra attention. 😉
P.S. Thanks to everyone in the Forward Motion chat room who had advice on all this!

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.


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.