National Novel Writing Month and National Blog Posting Month start today.
I’m not doing NaNoWriMo. The current WiP doesn’t have another 50,000 words in it. I’m still slightly stuck, so the word count isn’t moving very fast. And I really don’t want to start something new.
If I were on schedule, I could have and it would have been so much fun! (I actually have ideas for several novel -length ideas!) But I’m not so . . . No.
But I thought maybe I could do National Blog Posting Month. You have to post something each day of the month. The closest I’ve come to that is the A-Z Challenge, where you post every day but the weekends. Me, I barely managed it this year. I used the weekends to write some of the week’s posts.
I’ve been blogging for 4 years how and I’ve never managed to blog everyday for a month, weekends and all. I may, however, have gone for a whole month without blogging.
So I’m not really very confident about my ability to do so now. But I suppose it will be an interesting challenge.
I haven’t written a word in nearly two weeks. The book is half done.
I have heard that the middle of the book is the hardest bit to write, the most common place to get stuck. How do I get out of it?
I have some idea what the next biggest scene will be. I even have some idea what my character needs to do – he has a to do list! And he’s sorely behind in the list of the things he needs to do. (He was derailed by the plot bunny!) Poor guy.
But I don’t know the next immediate step. I don’t know how he gets from here to the next biggest scene and he can’t just skip from here to there. I don’t even know how he gets from here to the next thing on his to do list.
I’m stuck and it’s unpleasant. Very, very unpleasant.
Loril Maclaughlin tagged me in a writing blog hop. I am supposed to describe my writing process. I am also supposed to nominate three other people, but that feels like too much effort right now. So I am skipping that part.
This is difficult for me, because I don’t have much of a writing process. There are probably only two similarities for every story I’ve ever written.
1) I am a panster.
2) I need to have some idea of what the ending will be, at least for anything over 500 words.
I know from past experience I have difficulty writing stories when I don’t know the ending. They have a tendency to meander.
So . . . My Writing Process
I usually start with the idea for a setting or a character. Plot comes third, if it comes at all. Sometimes I will know
For novel length or almost novel length fiction, I do prewriting first. For me, prewriting consists of short scenes or stories. This lets me get to know the character, explore the world and maybe figure out major events in the story itself. It fills in background, lets me know what sort of childhood antics my character got up to.
I prewrite until I have idea what the ending will be and until I feel I know the character well enough to pants my way through the whole book. I cannot begin to emphasize how important that is, because I usually have no idea what the plot is.
I have tried outlining and I’ve blogged out about it before. But my outline is basically a timeline of events, and if I don’t know what the events are, well, they don’t exist on the outline. Which makes it less than useful. I mean, it is a good way to keep track of events. I thought it was working, but eventually, I found that writing from the outline does not work for me.
So back to how I write. Sometimes, usually, most often I will know some of the main events. I write to those. I write from scene to scene, aiming to end up in the nearest main even.
Lots of times I stop mid-scene when I reach the end of my word count for the day. I have never done it on purpose, but I am thinking about it. It hasn’t hurt me any. And I think maybe ending like that makes it easier to pick up the next day.
So that’s it. I write from one scene to the next until the reach the end I had in mind before I begin.
Mind, this doesn’t include chapters. In the first draft I don’t know where one chapter ends and the other begins. That’s something to figure out after I finish. Is that strange? Maybe it is. From what I’ve read of other people’s processes, a lot of other people have chapters from the get go.
If I don’t know what the character is doing next, I go back and reread, and find a missing thread or take another look at the character’s motivation. You know, look for where I went wrong.
This post is a little weird. It comes at the end of a spectacularly shitty week. At first I wasn’t even going to write one, but it is Friday evening and I thought why not? It’s mostly incomplete sentences and almost random images. It is a little strange and a new thing for me to do. I am not sure it works.
Arms raised. Turn. Turn the other way. Look up. Look down.
Gentle fingers probe a soft, flabby stomach, move up to bare, sagging breasts.
Avoid the large protrusion on the bottom left joint. Wipe off yellow pus and red blood.
Get up, dress in a hospital gown and clutch the back with one hand. Lie down on a hospital bed. Get wheeled to a room.
Smell disinfectant. Finger is pricked. Swallow pills. Watch blood fill three little tubes.
I was reading Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell and it talks about the three structure act. It talks about moving from Act I to Act II through a doorway.
The key question to ask yourself is this: Can my Lead walk away from the plot right now and go on as he has before? If the answer is yes, you haven’t gone through the first doorway yet.
Further, the book says this should happen at or before at the 1/5 point of the book. This is an interesting way to look at transitioning from the beginning to the middle, IMO. I hadn’t considered the transition like that before, but more like the number of pages from the beginning of the book.
And, you know, if it feels like middle. But that’s not a quantifiable feeling. How would you quantify it anyway?
I have never really paid attention to when I feel like I’m in the middle of a book as opposed to the beginning. But according to this definition, it should happen when the plot feels inevitable. Like, something has happened and nothing will ever be the same.
Do you agree? Do you this doorway separates the beginning from the middle? And does it usual happen at or before the 1/5 mark?
I suspect this is something I’ll be a lot more aware of when reading now. I was rereading Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K.
Hamilton and you know what? It is true. In Guilty Pleasures, this doorway happens when a close friend of the main character is harmed/threatened by the vampires. This happened pretty much when 1/5 of the book was done. So it works in one book.
But Guilty Pleasures is structured like a thriller. Question is, does it work for other thriller style books? And other non-thriller style books?
Stuff like this comes out of my keyboard when I don’t feel like writing. ;)
She leaned close to the mirror and examined the tattoo. It covered up the scar very well, distracted the eye with intricate whorls and angles of black ink.
Her man appeared in the mirror, right behind her shoulder. His tattoo was white, bright against the inky darkness of his skin. It made a pretty pattern of slashes and dots on his throat and arms.
He put both hands on her shoulders. “Ready?”
She turned, met his red eyes. The eyes of a hunter; the eyes she would soon have. “Yes.” This had been decades in the coming, but she was ready now.
The room was prepared, clean, the knives sharp and the drains cleared.
She stripped and lay down; the paper crinkled under her.
Her maker ran his fingers over her throat. She tracked the movement of his hands when he stroked his knuckles down her arm.
She gasped when he slashed her wrists open. The wound hurt. He held her down, pinned her arms to the table so she wouldn’t move. She flexed her fingers against the steel of the table, trying to block the pain. But soft whimpers escaped from her.
Warm blood gushed down the drains. Her vision went black at the edges. Her last sight was of her man being led in and lying down in the table next to her.
The web is a giant pile of quick sand. First, I was reading responses to Junot Diaz’s essay on how white the MFA program is. (I was a little shocked at how dismissive some of the comments.) Than I found myself reading other things, like stuff on spring allergies.
2) Candy Crush, and its close cousin: Pet Rescue
This could be worse. I could lose hours and hours playing this instead of only an hour or two. That’s because it comes with five lives, and once those are gone, you have to wait a while to gain more. Though I also have 2048 Puzzle now, so we shall see.
Music videos and other stuff.
Then I thought enough is enough. Time to write. There is still time to post a blog post today.