Thursday, 30 November 2006

POV (Point of View)

I was following links through various blogs and came across the blog by Yvette Lynn, who is a publisher for Amira Press. She has written a great entry about POV and the importance of not "head hopping" within a scene too quickly as it can be very distracting to the reader.

More she stresses the importance of that old ooooold adage, "Show, don't tell." The short version is don't flick back and forth between two characters in a scene talking about how they feel, the thoughts they have, the emotion in their head. Instead stick to one POV and use the actions of the other to show how they are feeling, and if you do it well it can be contradictory to what they are saying ie: "No, I'm not angry, I'm fine. Nothing wrong at all," she said as she smashed my Mother's priceless heirloom to the floor.

For the long version lick this link to have a look at Yvette's great post on Head Hopping.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Where Did the Ending Come From?

What the hell? I'm writing away tonight, struggling a little with the next scene, when out of the blue I know how the book is going to end!

I don't know how the book leads up to the end, or even the pages immediately before the end, or how everything is going to tie in at the end. Only that the final page of the book hit me and I had to write it down immediately.

I'm exhilarated, I wasn't expecting this, I was figuring the end would eventually work itself out, somewhere near the end. But to have the finish of the book pretty well tucked away, it's a final roadblock I may not have to worry about later. I say may not because who knows, the end might change, except this has hit me with such clarity I don't think it will.

I'm also disappointed in a way. Where's my surprise end, where is my moment of, "Oh, so that's what happens."? But what am I going to do? Piss and moan or just get on with the job of writing the next half of the book?

I suppose I should be happy I got the first part of the scary scene done, the final page of the book, and another 2,100 words all in one evening. Well, I am :-)

Got Past the Ceremony

Just warming up before I start tonight's writing, kind of like a limbering exercise I guess...

Anyway, last night I sat at the keyboard with no idea how I was going to kick the ceremony off, or what it was going to entail, or how it was going to segue into the next bit. So I just started writing, let my mind wander, and then a few thoughts came to me. Banged them out, got inspired, check the web for some technical information (Wikipedia for the win), yup that might work and VOILA! I am past that bit, something I thought was going to be a real barrier, but with the basics I have down it might just work.

At 1,200 words last night it's really thin on the ground, make no mistake, but when I come back to it in the second draft I'll really flesh it out along with some study resources I bought from Amazon.com the other day (should be here mid December).

Well that's enough flapple from me, time to get writing for tonight. Hopefully I can write something a little dark and scary (post ceremony consequences doncha know) so I'll be putting on some Tool "10,000 Days" to assist the mood.

Sunday, 26 November 2006

Another Milestone - Book odo reads 40,700 words

Another weekend gone and another weekend with a good amount of output. The novel is over 40,000 words now which is four times larger than anything I have written on a single subject to date. Dialogue seems to be flowing easier, ideas are coming to me readily and tonight my guy got a bath, lucky devil.

I don't think he will be so lucky tomorrow night.

My fingers are now at the threshold of the dreaded ceremony. Dreaded because I'm still not sure what is going to happen but the door is shut, the bolts are thrown and the three protectors are in position waiting for the next thing to happen. After pushing out two back-to-back 3,000+ word days I'm calling it quits for the night and will see if anything stews in my subconscious in the next 24 hours.

I still have a very long way to go and I'm even rethinking my word target for the first draft. But rather than strain my brain about it tonight, I think I'm going to pour a nice glass of Jack Daniels, on the rocks if you don't mind, and congratulate myself on another good weekend.

Cheers.

Saturday, 25 November 2006

Constant Reminder

I need to keep telling myself that even though sometimes it feels like I am spending way too much time (days writing) on a particular scene. What I need to keep remembering is that twenty pages, about 5,000 words, can be read in about ten minutes or so! This isn't to say that you can't spend too much time on a scene, we've all seen some really long winded books that spend thirty pages just getting the protagonist to go through a door into a new room. But honestly, when I start to think, "I've spent the last five days working on this bit, I've been here too long," like I have today, I then force myself to think about how I started the book originally.

When I first started the book I wrote about twenty pages to begin with and was pretty chuffed. Thought I'd done well, introduced my guy and moved the story forward about three scenes in that time. Then I read Stephen King's new book "Cell" and in the first twenty pages the protagonist has only walked a short way down a street, is buying an ice-cream and then the world starts going to hell. Barely anything has happened yet and its twenty pages already! I read that in about ten minutes! And I've got THREE scenes in my first twenty pages?!

Damn.

So I went back and re-read my start, and to be brutally honest with myself it had no substance to it, no depth. So I re-wrote just the beginning scene, all on its own, and it went from a mere four pages to twenty! It's much better, really sets a tone for the rest of the book and I am much much happier with it. In the second draft it may even grow beyond that but I'm not thinking about that at the moment.

Redoing the first scene will probably be the only re-write that will happen in this 1st draft. Because if I keep going back and fixing the things I don't think are working right I'll never keep moving forward and finish the bloody book.

I think I'm making sense...

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

A Milestone - Book odo reads 30,700 words

Have cracked the 30,000 word mark tonight with an easy 1,600 words written to get me over the line, much yay for me. I'm finding my "minimum" target of 300 words a day now incredibly easy to achieve. I'm getting better at filling in information that I wasn't including when I first started, such as a little more scene description, character interaction, more "thoughts" from my guy.

I'm tempted to up my daily target to 600 words, maybe even 1,000 words a day. But then I will have nights like last night when I don't really feel like writing much and instead just knock out a lazy 400 before sitting in front of Mythbusters and ER. I figure at this point I won't push my luck in case I hit the wall of dreaded writer's block.

That said a couple of ideas have come to mind of what is going to happen next so I should be good for the next 10,000+ words or so. I'm also happy that getting past 25,000 words means I am 1/3 of the way to my first draft target total of 75,000.

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Another good day - Book odo reads 28,700 words

Saturdays, Sundays, both primo days for writing. Just knocked out another 2,700 words and I might, just might have my ceremony issue licked. Not totally mind you, but I gave my guy a nasty dream and I have an idea of how I can work that into a ceremony style kind of thing. I'll see what the next few days of writing bring.

In my guy's dream he finds himself in a dark grove. The inspiration came from a lunch time walk the other day alongside a lake. I went through a particular group of trees, it was a bit damp, a bit chilly, a bit gloomy and I thought to myself, "Hmmm I wouldn't want to be walking through here at night, especially if there was a mist or something." Sold, queue up one nightmare for my guy. Seems to have worked pretty good too, although it will need a lot of tidying up in the 2nd draft.

Saturday, 18 November 2006

A good day - Book odo reads 26,000 words

I like writing on weekends, it just feels like I don't have as many time constraints as I do during the week. So today I punched out 2,600 words, before I started running out of impetus, and the book has reached a milestone of 100 pages. Very happy about that because it's barely 1:30pm.

I'm getting worried though, I'm fast reaching the point where I need to put my guy through some form of ceremony and I'm not sure if I can pull it off yet. See, he has something wrong with him, and the ceremony could/should/might fix him up. So it has to be cool and dark and hopefully a little scary but I'm drawing a bit of a blank what I am going to do.

Unless something hits me between the eyes soon I'll probably just gloss over it - put a basic filler mumbo-jumbo ceremony in there as a place holder - and move to the next part which I already have the workings of in my head. The second draft is where I'll attack those parts that are a little thin on the ground. Even though the book is fiction, and you can make any old shit up, it still has to have an air of realism about it so it's more palatable to the reader.

For me I feel it's critically important to keep this first draft moving forward as much as I can, if I let myself begin to agonise over what is supposed to happen or about what is supposed to come, well the book could grind to halt and now that it has some inertia behind it that is something I can't afford.

Overall though I am feeling confident I can push on with my 300 word a day minimum. Even last night, after I set up this blog, I was giving thought to skipping my words for the evening. But no, I tethered myself to the keyboard and hammered away until the book was 315 words fatter. I didn't have that sick guilty feeling later which was nice.

Friday, 17 November 2006

Status of the novel right (write) now.

What am I writing? Well unfortunately I am going to be very cagey about specific plot and content. The reason for this is I am concerned as hell about someone "borrowing" my idea. Call me paranoid, meh. These are the vital statistics I can give you if you're interested:
  • Started writing the novel 26th October 2006
  • Horror/thriller type of theme, first person POV, set in present day (although I might change that last part)
  • I set myself a daily minimum target of 300 words
  • Currently sitting at 23,400 words with a daily average of 1,063 words
  • 1st draft target of 75,000 words
  • 2nd draft target of 100,000 words+
  • MS Word says I have been editing my document for 1,600 minutes (26.6 hours)

MS Word Configuration is in a format most recomended by publishers:

  • Courier New Font 12pt
  • Margins 1" top, bottom, left, right
  • Paragraphs set to attached image below
  • With current format the novel at this time weighs in at 91 pages

Another would-be writer blog - geeeeez

Oh Christ, can you believe it? Yet ANOTHER person has decided to put up a bloody blog about their attempts at writing. Well don't worry, this is more for me than it is for you, but if you want to have a peek along the way then you are welcome to.

The reason I am doing this blog is so I basically have a personal diary relating to the blood sweat and tears of my first novel that I have started writing already. Will it ever get published (the novel, who cares about the blog)? Well I hope so, it's certainly the intention anyway. It's a shit load of work so I would hope I'm not doing it for nothing

Along the way I will post things that I think are helping me in my first real attempt at writing a novel. I say first real attempt because I have tried before but have never really gotten past 10,000 words. This time, this time I will finish the damn thing if it kills me.

Anyway that is enough of the introduction - next post: where the novel is at right (write) now.