Archive | May 2011

Land formation and drawing maps.

As I start another fun summer of roleplaying (figured out that I’m excited about that yet), I find myself drawing a map. For the longest time, Alyssa and I have used the same world, Isrlan, but now we are moving on and creating another.

Since she is much more busy than I am, I drew the map. But instead of drawing random things, I did a few specific details. In order to explain why this matters to you, I need to explain South Dakota to you first.

See the pretty river?

South Dakota is literally divided by the river, namely, the Missouri River, but since we abbreviate everything, we just call it the River. That makes East River and West River. For a traveler, that means mainly that when you cross the river you change time zones. For us in South Dakota, East River is mainly farming and baseball caps and West River is mainly cattle and cowboy hats.

But why?

In general, our weather moves from west to east. All our storms come from the west. To the farthest west point is the Black Hills (were Mtn Rushmore is). Mountains cause the clouds to rise, rain on the mountains, and give all the prettiness found there.

However, the clouds run out of water as soon as they over the mountains, so then they hit the Badlands. Personally, I find the Badlands incredible, because the dirt there is basically clay and there are many, many ridges, valleys and storm formations. I could spend a whole day there. (Or hide there with my secret organization that is taking down the government.)

Before too long, however, the clouds hit the River.  This is where it is important, because the river fuels the clouds. The clouds suck up all the water, then move along across South Dakota, raining from the river onward and giving us our lush farmland. However, since we don’t get that much rain, we typically have hot, dry summers. (Expect for last year, but last year we broke record rainfalls.)

With that in mind, I made my map, keeping a river near the mountains to fuel the clouds, so my country doesn’t become a desert. See?

On another note, and I don’t know how this really plays into things, but if you look at my map, you can see a little river about half way between the border and the Missouri River. Besides the fact that “river” floods every year, a lot of weather alerts are determined merely by whether it’ll happen west or east of the James River (Or, since we abbreviate everything, The Jim.)

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Life is happy.

I just realized I haven’t written here all week. Bad, bad Abigail. (Nor have I found a job.)  MOving on however…

Facebook status last night:

Today is a happy day. My characters FINALLY started talking to me. Only took them until Chapter 35. I so did not want to start my first draft without them talking though, so we are good now. :D Thank you, Sagi, Ber and Avi! Now Nessa… about you….

Now, besides the fact that all my friends now know I’m crazy, this is really good news.

See, I’ve been having a problem connecting with characters in the way that I need to connect in order to write a good book. The last story this really happened with initially was Shad, and I think that had to do with the fact I thought about writing it for over a year before I actually wrote it.

Instead of trying to force my characters to talk to me, I turned back to how I learned to listen to characters and began writing in a modified role playing format. I call it my pre-first draft and you know how bad first drafts are suppose to be? This is worse. :)

In short, I only add the details I know. I put in dialogue as I feel it works, some emotions, indications that the character speaks, but nothing extra. I’ve been doing this since March and just now I’m figuring out how the houses look.

The problem with this is that if the characters don’t start talking to me by the end of this, it’s really hard for me to edit and typically I toss the story before I finish it, putting a good two months of work to waste.

However, since this is the first time I’ve done it with a novel, I can say  I do believe that this is going to work. Three of my main characters are finally clicking with me, and really giving me a clue about themselves. The only problem I have is actually my main character, Nessa, but she’s a little more complicated than my other characters so I think it’ll be fine.

As for weekly word count, I’ll post that tonight because I’m hoping to finish my current chapter before tonight. (I don’t write from Friday night to Saturday night, since someday this’ll be work, but that’s another post.)

Oh, and right now I’m toying with the idea of naming mermaids “For Keren.” It’s not a very strong title I don’t think, but it’s  a common theme that a lot of the characters say. Just a thought. Maybe “Avicherfa” would be better though, since she is the real motivating factor behind a lot of things.

Edit:

Mermaids last week: 30,470

Mermaids this week: 37,584

Total this week: 7,114

However, I did not finish my chapter. I perhaps wrote… 100 words today. Bad Abigail.

Another productive week.

Mermaids:

Word count for last week: 24,985

Word count for this week: 30,470

Total for the week: 5485

The only problem is that I discovered I’m on Chapter Twenty-Eight. That, in itself, isn’t bad. However, I estimate only forty chapters total. Which means I am basically 3/4 of the way done.

Well, technically, because looking what I have coming up, I know I’m missing things, and I also know these chapters will be on the larger size. I’m also writing a very rough draft, to the point that if I don’t know something, I just skip it. The idea is to get the story on paper and come back to it. So maybe, just maybe, I can get it up to 120,000 by the end of my first draft. (This is a pre-first draft as i call it. So bad that no one should see it ever.) From there, I can then drop it to 100,000. Either way, I’m not going to worry about it yet. This story should be solid enough as it is.

Sending off the babies.

If you don’t know, I’ve been working on writing a synopsis off and on for Shad over the course of the semester. I start thinking that I’ll probably be done soon, especially since I finished my semester today and school won’t start again until at least May 31st.

As such, I started looking for information about how to work on synopses. Unfortunately, they all say the same, obvious tips. Keep things basic. Don’t do anything stupid. Include only what’s needed. Ect.

However, I found this great blog post that summarizes all this rather well.  The Basics: Standard Manuscript Format and Mailing. The synopsis I skimmed, but he also included information on a cover letter.

Hopefully, this will help you all as well as it helped me.

Novels Versus Short Stories

I’m not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn’t take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.”

–Cormac McCarthy