Oops. My Bad

Sorry. I didn’t do my book review this weekend (I will try to write and post it tonight, instead). I haven’t written almost anything.

In fact, the only writing news I have is that I’ve started a second blog. It’s a little more focused on everyone’s favorite subject, which is of course, their selves. Anyway, it’s just about adjusting to my new city and, well, the mess that my life seems to be in currently. Check it out, if so inclined, because the only people reading it are, like, my aunts… possibly my mom.

As for my book… well, I’ve been killing my darlings… I’ve slaughtered the poor things, even. In my head, there are almost no details which I haven’t changed. I’ve even changed the age of my protagonist. I’m about to sit down and re-write chapter one. I think, in all honesty, that I will be re-writing the whole thing. Every. Last. Word.

Color me daunted.

I once read that J.K. Rowling had to type the first Harry Potter ten times. In a way, it may have been a brilliant, albeit accidental, editing technique. You’d have to really consider the importance of every little word when typing it out so many times.

So, structurally, the book is getting a makeover, but I think the story will remain almost entirely intact. The school, though, is about to be town apart. I really messed that up and, after all this writing, am returning to an earlier version of the structure of the school, which I’m actually very happy with. It’s a lot closer to my original vision of the story. No one wants to read a book about something boring.

So. Shall we do what writers do best and make a hella great story?

Back to the drafts.

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I Started Writing Again

My friend invited me to her restaurant today and plied me with coffee while I perused my writing again.

It’s been a long month. As it turns out I left off at a much better place than I’d remembered… A bit of tweaking and I think I’m almost set to finish chapter 18.

So. Close.

I think tomorrow I’m going to duck out on all my friends and hide in a coffee shop all day until I at least finish 18. I can’t sit on this for another month. The future is lingering sadly. I fear between my three pending jobs, I’ll have little time to write outside my degree (if even that) so the goal is…finish this damn book by September!

Back to writing first thing tomorrow. I’m actually excited to get back into it.

In the meantime… I ate too much cake and too much coffee.

Day Sixty-Nine: Let’s Think Bigger

Over the weekend I was discussing the first four chapters of my novel with a friend. She told me that a character of mine was heavily cliche in that she just seemed like almost a stock character… Snotty, Tennis Club Bully.

I love when people say things like this because I can just shout, “You are absolutely right!” and fix it. It’s a first draft. You’d have to be stupid to not think a first draft isn’t a work in progress.

But this got me thinking… well, this is a very small-time character. She is written currently as a 1-D Bully, but I only have about two scenes (maybe 500 words) with this character so time is not on my side. So I started thinking about how to make her more than just that… I mean, look at Dudley. He’s not much more than a spoiled jock.

So I’ve decided that I’m going to up the ante. Don’t write about a silly, insecure girl that picks on a future protagonist. (Been there, seen it a million times. Wow that makes our protagonist a better person… Surprise.) Write the meanest, cruelest little girl that has ever picked on a strange child. Why not? Kids can be sadistically cruel. It won’t even be unbelievable. If anything, malicious creativity can make a character seem more real (Hannibal Lector?).

Let’s think bigger.

You need two characters to have a talk about how incredible the world is. Don’t just put them on a mountaintop. Put them on the most spectacular, breathtaking mountain of all time. Why not? Trust me, there are way more insane sights in real life than there are in our minds.

Don’t let your character say something uninteresting. Don’t let them make the predictable choice. Look at every decision they make and ask yourself, would everyone do that? Because if they would, what makes your character extraordinary then? I once had a professor, when describing his favorite book (Rabbit Redux), say, “What I loved so much about Rabbit was that every time I thought he was going to do one thing, he did the complete opposite.”

We are not in the business of writing reality. We are in the business of writing Fiction. Let’s make Fiction spectacular. Let’s make the world as big and bold as we can. Up the ante. Put everything on the line. I mean, everything. Writing a book is like placing a bet and if you’re not going all-in then you’re not putting enough into it.

Let’s think bigger.