Archive | March 2011

Mermaids versus no mermaids.

If you’ve been around here a while, you probably know that I’m working on a novel about mermaids.  At least, that was my plan. Just Trust Me is the prelude to this novel and I started writing it this month.

However… I’m running into some problems. Mainly, mermaids are *2!%!%!%^! hard to write about!

This leads me to question if I should write it on mermaids. The reasons are as follows.

Why I want to write Mermaids:

  1. Mermaids are awesome.
  2. I’ve discovered a few twists with mermaids that I’d like to play along with.
  3. One of the main components  of my story is the fact that the mermaids are “rescuing” humans, and the humans are living under the sea as mermaids. I can’t figure out a situation that involves that.
  4. All of my houses and town arrangements involve a 3D layout of the towns. I’m not sure how to change that (besides making them able to fly.)
  5. I have heard rumors of mermaids possibly being the next thing after vampires.

Why I don’t want to write mermaids:

  1. One of my components is the fact that mermaids and humans can produce offspring. I can’t figure out how they could do reconstructive surgery and still keep the private areas in tack enough.
  2. I can’t figure out how or what they can eat or drink. Particularly eat. And while I’m on that, what about smoking?
  3. Movement is difficult to describe. Sitting, standing, walking, ect.
  4. I can’t figure out how to do furniture either.
  5. Sometimes too unique of an environment throws readers. I’m here to tell a good story, not show how good I am at creating an environment.

So, I have three options.

A) Keep it as it is and figure all this out. After all, I’m a writer. I should be able to.

B) Create an air pocket under the sea, so they generally walk around on two legs, like the Irish mermaids can, add extra buoyancy which not only allows them to have a 3D movement but then they can jump up, and, if desired, they can swim  through the water well and rescue humans. Then also, they can eat easier.

C) Create a world that involves flying “mermaids,” so I maintain the 3D movement aspect, make it easier for them to eat, keep the legs, so  we have no problem with reproducing, and movement is the best. The problem with this is: what are the humans in this scenario?

Any thoughts?

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Three stories, five books and not enough time

I realized today that I have actually started three separate books. I’m stunned. And worse, I don’t know what to write.

  • Mermaids: This story revolves around a political turmoil in a mermaid world. Nessa is the youngest daughter of the king but wants to be queen. Under their government, she can be elected as queen.  However, it is only through the Adamahs, humans who have been changed to mermaids, that she can do this.  In this I have the election, and the result afterwards, and it’s really awesome. :)
  • Intentional Accidents: This story revolves around two characters, a pirate and an assassin. They’re stories  interweaves into smiliar threads and storylines but I only know about the pirate. She is feeling lonely, hurt and wants off the pirate ship but doesn’t see a way to get off. A police man unknowingly gets on the pirate ship and encourages her to find her own way. The assassin is also tired of her life, wants out, but doesn’t know how to leave. I haven’t dealt with the assassin much, focusing on developing the pirate story, then the assassin, then merging them at the end.
  • Mindskill: In mindskill, a doctor develops telepathy as an implant. He implanted his daughter without her knowledge, understanding that soon it would be a necessary skill to survive. He dies though before he can tell her, in an “accident” and she must discover the truth for herself, along with a plot to take over the world and a plan to keep those with this skill safe. This was going to be my shot at writing a trilogy (Which is a huge task, let me tell you.)

I’ve written 36 words of Intentional Accidents (9,455 words), 93 pages of mindskill (25,000) and 61 pages (16,000 words) of mermaids.

Here’s the problem: I like them all. I stopped mindskill because I needed to develop it more. I stopped Intentional Accidents because I needed to skim and I didn’t know how to. (I’m playing around writing the ending scene to that.) And I’m currently writing mermaids (which may not end up being mermaids, which makes me sad, but that is fact.)

I have every intention of finishing all of these. All of them are probably good. But how? I’m mean, seriously, I probably have enough to write about for three years (at least), not to mention that I  need to write synopses to send these books out, and I want to write Sagi’s tragedy (short story), and I’d really like to write one of the stories my friend and I write out (novel), and I’d like to edit Hope (or at least make a logical decision whether to toss it), and edit Giant’s Wife and–

*stops for breath*

I just have too many ideas I think. How do I choose?

 

Things to remember while writing my first draft:

As I work on my first draft of my mermaid story, I’m find myself having to remind myself about how to write. As this is only my second or third novel, I want it to be just like the novel I already finished. So here is a list of things to remind myself as I write.

  1. This will not be perfect.
  2. Write first; edit later.
  3. Your characters talk to you more while you write than when you plan. So write already.
  4. Facebook and wordpress are only there to distract you.
  5. As related to number four, facebook and wordpress do not need to be checked every five minutes. They can live without you.
  6. Mail doesn’t need to be checked either.
  7. Facts about how much caffeine a dog can intake doesn’t need to be looked at.
  8. It’s just ones and zeros. Ones and zeros are cheap and easy to change, so keep writing.
  9. Your perceptions of how good a section is  aren’t reliable. Just because you think it’s boring doesn’t mean that it’s boring. Wait a little bit.
  10. Sometimes character histories have to change.
  11. Sometimes it’s best to wait until later to look up a small bit of factual information. After all, the internet will then distract you.
  12. Be open to change.

That’s all I have at the moment. Do you have anything to add?

How do you write?

So here’s today’s fun survey. How do you write? And by that, I mean do you write one book the whole way, edit it, and then move on to the next? Do you write more than one?  Do you write in forward motion or do you write each section as they come to you?

Moreover, why do you do it that way?

Personally, I write in chronological order, but much of me thinks that I shouldn’t be doing that all the time. I always gets stuck when I need to move from March to April, and nothing really happens. So then I postpone the writing. I think if I realize that the things I want to write are the really interesting things, well, then, the things I don’t want to write are obviously boring. Maybe?

Don’t know. Just a thought. The one time I did write out of order, the characters were completely different and I kept very little of it. I’m having a harder time deciding how to balance everything that I want to write.

New York Times Bestseller–NOT!

I had this thought recently and I am using this as motivation to submit my work. Basically, I can tell in a second what book will never make the New York Times bestseller list: the one not submitted.

I know, duh, but I think we still need a reminder. We may have written the best novel ever, but the fact comes down to it that if it just stays on our computer and we do nothing with it, nothing happens. We never become that famous person.

I’m thinking, as motivation, I need to make this into a poster and frame it, because I’m much too slow at doing anything so far.

Getting Better

So my school last a writing contest every year. The first year, I really bombed it. My story wasn’t really that great (I didn’t realize that at the time.) and much too long.

This year I worked even harder, because I wanted to win something. I submitted Just Trust Me into the contest.

And I came in third.

Now, you may think that, “Abigail, seriously, that’s just third. That’s–$50. If you’re lucky.”

I’m thinking, “Abigail. You got in third. That’s better than last year. And you still have a couple more chances.”

Moreover, I suspect Ariel, who won, is actually a more detailed writer than I am. Not sure if that’s good or not. Just a fact.

Anyway, that’s my life. This is awesome! Now you have a reason to go read it.

Oh, right, and this is the prelude (I think) to my new novel that I wrote 40 (font size 18) over spring break.

 

The work of a writer.

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he’s staring out of the window.  ~Burton Rascoe

Apparently, it’s not about knowing; it’s about doing.

Almost always, I find inspiration at bookstores. I walk through one, browsing the numerous titles, thinking about how much I’d love to see my own book(s) there, and eventually end up at the writing books. There, I pick up some books, browse through them, and find some glimmer of wisdom to enhance my writing and motivate me to write on the way home.

For the first time in several months, I finally had a chance to go to the bookstore today. No, it’s not for lack of not trying to; I live an hour away from anything decent. And don’t get me wrong–I found several good books–but I also came out rather depressed. Why?

Because every mistake writers make or every “rule” of writing that I read today, I either know about and follow, or haven’t written anything that requires me to followed them. Basically, I know a lot of it.

Worse, one of the “rules” I wasn’t sure about, the author says she doesn’t need to explain it. Moreover, she skips possibly the most important “rule” in that all chapters should end with a question.  (That I consider to be a practical explanation of how to build tension and suspense, but that’s another post all together)

I was reading Thanks but This Isn’t for Us, and as i went through each of the suggestions, I found some interesting things. (Like with romance stories it is good to have at least one character who has some reason why he/she can’t be in love.) But almost all of her common goofs, I sat  there and explained to my sister that yeah, I know this is a problem for this and this and this.

So here it comes down to it: I apparently know how to write. I need to just sit down and write. After eight years of skimming writing books (I only own two.), writing a few stories, editing my few stories, working through problems and everything else involved with writing, I realize that I know enough I can practically write a writing book.

So in the end, it all comes back to the fact that to be a writer, a real writer, I need to write.  Starting tomorrow.

Follow the rules… or not. Whatever.

As part of a critiquing website that I occasionally take part in, we are told to make recommendations. Dont’ slam the person in the critique  and realize that grammar rules are meant to be broken. They are more guidelines .

That is all fine and good, until I critiqued  a story for a guy who could not get his quotations right. It drove me insane. He sometimes had the punctuation on the inside, sometimes on the outside, sometimes he didn’t even close it.

Because of time, I edited one chapter, sent that to him, and then edited the other two later on in the week. In the between time, he made a comment that caused me to think he is still maybe late highschool or early college. He writes a lot–yes!–but I think I misjudged his age.

As such, at the end of my critique, I sent him a quick summary of quotation rules, and phrased it as, If you didn’t know these, well, here go.  Soon afterwards, I wrote a post about quotations as an FYI.

This may seem like a side note, but my brother is going to school for graphic design. He is so good at what he does that he is making things like videos and ecards for the school.  He gets frustrated though with video tutorials that say something along the lines of, “Here’s the rule of thirds. But you know what? This is art. Be creative.”

This is his opinion, and as such, I think it very much applies to writing.

Follow the rules of grammar, unless you can give me a good reason why you aren’t.

So I’m not saying that you can’t be creative with how you present information. Writing is creativity. But make sure you have a good reason why you don’t follow that rule before you decide to break it.

Writing Reactive.

I have talked some about reactive writing. In short, reactive writing is where you don’t let things wash over a person, but instead have the character react, or something bad happen, at every possible moment. This takes a lot of work and a lot of skill, but it is effective at writing a really good piece eventually.

Yesterday, I watched an episode of Caprica, which you can find here, The best thing about it is that you don’t really need to know what is going on in the story to see what I mean, except that the holobands (the bands they have around their head, brings people into a virtual word. Zoey, the daughter, is really a computer generated representative  of their daughter who has a personality of her own.

What you really need to look at, however, is Clarice’s rule in the story, along with the two guys. Here you find a good example of how many things can go wrong.

  • They have a plan. Break in, block transmissions out, cut power. No big deal. In and out in no time.
  • They break in. Discover a robot servant. They shoot robot servant but robot servant calls 911.
  • They head towards where Greystones are, only to have a security door fall in place.
  • They try to bypass the security door,  but the genius person is having some problems since it isn’t like he’s ever  experienced before.
  • They open the security door, only to find another door.
  • Guy starts to bypass second door, puts in some kind of explosion and gets his hand caught on fire.
  • They get the door open, and capture the people. Finally things are looking up. However, the robot comes back to life and takes a swing at the people. The people run. Plan fails.

Now, as I’m writing this I’m realize there isn’t a lot of reaction on the robbers part, but there is still a lot of reaction or things going wrong.

My sister commented on that with one story I wrote called Miles’ Love. No. It’s not here. I haven’t edited it enough yet because I don’t like it. However, in it Miles gets captured and escapes with his girlfriend. However, nothing bad happens once they escape. They walk a lot, yes, but that’s it. No last minute chase. No need for Miles to shoot someone. Nothing. They just escape and live happily ever after.

BORING!

Hopefully this helps point you in the direction of how to get a clue about writing reactively. I could give you some more examples from my own writing, both how it works well and when it hasn’t worked out well, but a) a lot of them come from my mermaid novel and b) I don’t want to bore you.