Yes. I did just use a smilie face in my title. Because I’m happy with myself.
Here’s some background: Sagi, a character in my mermaid novel, has some serious relationship issues involving some serious wife betrayal. He’s been angry at her and kept that anger for much of the past twenty-some years since her death. He’s done is best to avoid any relationship in that time, focusing instead on getting himself into a position that will permit him to be elected when the time comes.
Here was my problem: Within the matter of about a month and a half I think, he meets Chava, begins to have a serious relationship with her, and proposes. For someone who wanted nothing to do with marriage or a family or relationships at all, that seemed really fast. (Okay, maybe I really shouldn’t be writing about any complicated relationships since I haven’t ever HAD one period, but oh well. They demanded it and who I am but the writer to argue with my characters? )
No matter how I looked at it, that seemed FAST for Sagi to move.
Then I came up with a brilliant solution. What if the mermaids don’t really date? They meet someone, go out a couple times to see how things are. Probably at this point in time, there are some good personality tests they take to see if they would be compatible (that’d be basically what people would call “the next step”) and if so far there hasn’t been any major problems, they are engaged.
I don’t know if an engagement would be long, like the idea that we are still learning, or short, since most non-religions people seem to be under the opinion that you should live together for a while to fully get to know the person before marriage.
I also would need to create into this society the fact that divorce is frowned upon. (Society drives a lot of what people do after all.) Possibly even highly taxed.
However, if I have it set up so that Sagi’s relationship with Chava before she even mentions that maybe they should take a test has been going on for a long time, then that would explain more with Sagi. (It also would explain why he married his first wife even better.)
Overall, I am very pleased with this plan. Obviously, it needs some ironing out, but not only does it solve some minor plot issues I’ve been having, but it creates the mermaid world as a world separate from the human world, which I like.
Now I just have to write today. Haven’t for two days now. :(
EDIT: This also fixes my problem of why it is culturally acceptable to have a wedding within a week, though the forcing part is still a bit vague. I must work on that. (It’s a political marriage, if that makes any difference.) Oh, and I did write today.
Have any of you ever changed a part of your society to make your plot work better? Did it work for you?
I started my spring semester this week. I’ve also wrote this week. That’s a good start.
As I said earlier, I’m working through all of my Avi chapters because my mermaid book has multiple POVs and this is the best way to keep them all straight. So I get to this scene where (Yes, I’m spoiling the story. But this won’t be published for at least two years so I doubt you’ll remember it.) Avi is sworn in as the monarch, much to her dread, she meets this diver we’ve been following named Matthew and he tells her her boyfriend is a spy and her father offers to help her rule. Yeah. A lot happen in this chapter.
It’s also a pretty big chapter for me. Right now about 5,000 words. So I’ve been working on that chapter all week.
And it’s still flopping.
Now, this is the chapter that gave me writer’s block for about two months and I finally just said forget it and moved on. I actually just finished writing it this week. But still!
I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. It might be because i don’t understand Matthew and I don’t understand Avi’s father. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to get inside Avi’s head in this one. No matter how much I try, she is still insist that Matthew has to stay in the prison (she was freeing them in the prelude. Actually, she frees Matthew’s son.) Matthew is coming out as whiner because I can’t get inside the head of a man who is being threatned to being held prisoner under the sea for the rest of his life. And Avi’s father is coming across as a very nobel person, which he might be. I don’t know. I just can’t get in anyone’s head.
On top of it all, my sister is talking. And talking. And talking.
I am on the computer. I am trying to edit this chapter well. And she is wanting me to pay attention to the hat she just knitted for air 1. Sure, I want to be a nice sister, but I also want to write.
I did end up finishing the chapter. I do kinda like how it ended. I’m tempted to go back and see about editing it yet again. (making it time number three) But, part of me is saying that I should wait until Matthew and Ber talk to me more. And Avi too.
Which, this is totally off topic, but talk about character change. Avi started out in my head as an impulsive, reckless, brave girl and she is turning to have a very timid part underneath her thick outer shell. I love it when characters do that, though as I write that, I’m wondering if it reflects what I feel right now. Could characters reflect what is currently going on in our lives?
I bet so.
Anyway, I get to move onto my really bad chapters. I think it might not be all that bad once I fix them up though. (Except for Nessa’s story. She needs a lot of help.) I really need to figure out a more effective way to write but until then, I’m just going to have to go with this. (I keep threatening to share how I write. Maybe I should do that tomorrow.) It just means a LOT of rewriting.
So, I’ve been working on the mermaid novel. There’s two things that make this a learning experiance for me.
1) My first novel I planned for a year before I wrote it. This one, I started planning for it about a year ago.
2) Multiple POVs.
I didn’t expect multiple POVs to make a difference. Boy, am I wrong!
The biggest one that it makes a difference in is AVi, because Avi doesn’t have a consistent appearance. I have about 45 chapters and of those, she only gets about seven. I need then to still be consistent but even when editing, I see her so inconstantly that I don’t get a good feel for her character.
Last night, I figured out the obvious solution. I edit them in order of character’s POV. As such, because I like Avi right now, I edit all of the Avi scenes. Then I move onto another character and another until I’m done.
I got this idea because while I was editing a scene involving Ronen intentionally ignoring her, I realized that when Ronen decides he’s going to actually show he likes her, he’s going to kiss her. This makes me really excited. Now, normally, I couldn’t do anything about that until I go from chapter 8 to chapter 25. Instead of having to wait that long, I now get to jump ahead and edit chapter 24 and 25 where that happens. Then I get to jump ahead to when Avi discovers that her real boyfriend betrayed her.
For once, the story doesn’t seem so completely overwhelming. And though I know that I used future scenes to motivate me to write current scenes, I have a new plan for the boring scenes. I ask myself a few questions.
This scene is boring.
1) Is this scene needed? Why? If no, delete and move on. If yes, go to question 2.
2) Would it be better to rewrite the scene how that I know the point or try to salvage what I wrote?
Typically, I find that if I’m finding a scene to be boring to edit, it’s either so badly written that I should just restart or, more likely, it isn’t even needed or can be combined with another scene. (I did that with Shad and the resulting scene was sweet!)
It’s funny, because even though I can skim the books in Barnes and Noble and say I know most of it, I can still discover things that I still need to learn. It’s partly what makes writing fun. Maybe that’s actually why I like it so much.
Subtile information in stories is good. That’s how I like giving information in fact. I hate telling the reader flat out that such-and-such is going on. It’s much more fun to make the reader guess and think that it’s happening.
However, just because I like doing it doesn’t mean I’m good at it.
Especially with it comes to romance.
In my mermaid novel, I have two possible romances. Okay. Forget possible. I have two real romances.
Romance one is between Nessa’s bad/evil/corrupt brother, Sagi, and a woman who helps him win the election, Chava. Somehow, I need to make it seem perfectly understandable both why Sagi likes Chava, when he’s avoided all other possible romances for the last twenty years, and even more importantly, why Chava likes Sagi, all by the halfway point of the book. The Sagi one is going to be particularly hard considering that he has been basically breaking the law, been a jerk to his sister, cheated on the election and poisoned his dad. (Though I don’t think the reader will know for sure that the dad is poisoned until after they get together, and Chava knows none of this.)
All this when I haven’t really had any real relationship ever. I can’t imagine it’ll seem that realistic.
Yet, that’s the easy romance.
The harder romance is between Nessa’s half sister, Avi, and a lawyer, Ronen. if you haven’t read Just Trust Me, you should, but besides that, you would know that Avi is considered a huge shame upon her family because her mother had an affair with an Adamah, what would be pretty equal with the blacks of the South in the 1950s. (Keep in mind, Nessa’s family is royal.) Ronen, on the other hand, hates Adamahs because they killed his best friend when he was younger and then basically got off the hook.
However, he starts to like Avi. He doesn’t want to like Avi so he promptly tries to be curt with her. (In the mean time, Eyal starts to woo Avi but that’s for a completely other problem I’m having, also involving hinting, but I won’t put it here so I don’t give out too many hints.) So, I need him to somehow be mean without being too mean and I don’t know what to do about that!
This all comes because I’m working on fixing up this chapter that invovles an argument with Avi and Ronen but I don’t have any basis for the argument. As such, it seems awkward and uncertain in my mind. I’m not even sure if it is needed. But if I can properly set the scene, perhaps I can make it needed.
Which sounds horrible. But I don’t think that I can just drop it. Otherwise, I do this huge jump from a debate and Sagi’s reaction to the debate to Nessa’s seating. Okay, maybe I could jump that much. But I really want to get some Avi/Ronen action.
This is why I should have properly listened to myself and sworn off love stories. Because then I wouldn’t have this issue at all.
Then again, I still would, because I have the problem with Eyal’s background, Sagi remember Gilah, Itamar changing against Nessa, and hundreds of other little things to sneak into the story.
And did I say before that I like writing novels? Maybe I should change my mind on that one. :)
I took this out of my textbook for creative writing, then added a question to handle the science fiction / fantasy character’s that I typically deal with. It’s actually kinda cool how it comes out. I did it for two characters so far and it was rather fun. Especially for the one chararacter that I just randomly started writing for.
What is your character’s name? What sounds right for this character? What fits? What does this name suggest about your character’s personality? Does your character use his/her given name or a nickname? If so, why? Has your character ever had a nickname?
If you were going to buy a casual outfit for this character, what would you buy? What image does he/she cultivate? What does this image say about him/her?
If your character could have three wishes granted, what would they be?
Likewise, what three things does your character most want NOT to happen to him/her?
Does this character have any special skill or ability; if so, what? How did he/she discover this ability? How did he/she train? What limits does he/she have on this ability?
If you were to enter this characters’ bedroom for the first time, what would you notice? Name four objects that immediately stand out. What are the dominate colors of the room? What sounds do you hear?. If you were to spend an hour snooping in this room, would you find anything hidden? If so, what?
What obsessions does your character have?
Describe your character’s belief systems–or lack of belief system–and sketch out how he or she came to believe these things.
Your character is in an uncharacteristically honest mood. How would he/she finish these statements?
To understand me, you first need to understand….
I don’t usually tell anyone this, but when I was a kid…
If I had a million dollars I would….
Where does your character work? What specifically is his/her job? How does your character feel about this job? How long as he/she worked there?
Describe your character’s average Wednesday? Where is your character at 8AM, 10 AM, noon. 3 PM, 6 PM and 10 PM? How does this compare to an average Saturday?
How much money does your character have in the bank or in investments? Where did this money come from?
What are your character’s most substantial character flaws or shortcomings or personality? Does he or she recognize them?
What are your character’s most significant character strengths?
Does your character have any brothers or sisters? If so, which one is his or her favorite and why? If your character only has one sibling, what does your character like best about this person and like the least? If your character is an only child, did he/she ever want another sibling? Why?
How many closes friends does your character have? Name them.
Who is your character’s closest friend and why? Describe their history as friends.
What is the worst thing your character has ever done? What is the worst non-illegal thing your character has ever done?
Describe your character’s relationships with his/her parents.
If your character were in to die today, what would he or she be most like to be remembered for?
List three things about your character that will most likely NOT be included in your story.
Note: I’m writing this on Monday the 29th, which is why I’m still at home.
The majority of my readers live in America. Being in America, especially regular, middle class America, means that we have little true experiences with things we routinely put our characters through, like getting beat up, stabbed, kidnapped, creeping along dark hallways and shot. As such, we need to put the few experiences we have together in order to piece a coherent picture of what Jane feels when she is kidnapped and held for ransom.
Or we end up experiencing them.
Now, I am not saying that the story I’m about to tell you in any way resembles what a kidnapped victim would feel as they return to the scene of their assault. Or that it compares to any major trauma, even if the police did get involved. This is a small, small fraction of what these people would feel like and, based on this recent experience, I don’t think we can ever communicate how that would feel realistically enough to fool someone who was in that situation.
That being said, here’s the situation where I proved that I am not as brave as I thought I was.
See, I always thought I was brave in emergencies and level headed. After all, when the tissue box caught on fire, or the french bread wrapper, I knew what to do. (At my house, we have somehow caught a boiling pot of water on fire on an electric stove. Even the firemen say that is impossible. So don’t ask me what happened there.) I always imagine that if a plane crashed, I would be one of the 10% of people who would be able to pick her way among the wreckage, help passengers who are panicking and get my mom out (she’s legally blind) without breaking down until we are safe. I thought I would make a good ER nurse, just because I am that kind of person who can tell myself to think, stop panicking, and my mind usually listens.
Now, the other bit you need to understand in this story is that we live in South Dakota, in a 100 year old house, and a typically thing that happens during August is that bats get into the said house. No, none of us have had rabies shots just because a bat is in our house. They aren’t rabid. They just want a warm place to stay and see the brightness and so they wander in. Then they can’t find their way out. My brothers and dad hit them with a tennis racket and either kill them or stun them enough to bring them outside. We average about two a year.
The important thing to understand from that is it is my dad and brothers. I am rarely involved in this. It began first because I worked while the bats were in our house, and then my dad’s fear of bats began to hurt me so that I was slightly timid of bats. I still teased my sister for her fear of bats, and would tell her that the bats were dancing in her bed, passing around a coke bottle.
Then came the day when my dads and brothers were both out of town, and I saw the bat.
I thought I could do anything I set my mind to. But bats are fast. They zoom and zip and disappear and reappear, all without making a noise. Moreover, I’m thinking about my sister, who is freaking out behind me, and my mom, and I’m terrified that the bat is going to sneak up on me or something. I don’t know what. But I didn’t want my back uncovered. Meanwhile, it’s dancing through our TV room, dining room, kitchen and living room.
To make a incoherent story short, my sister got escorted to the bathroom to hid; I made it to the kitchen, trying to pull up my courage. And while I’m waiting for the bat to come back into the kitchen, and yet ducking every time it comes so I never have a chance to hit it, a bat (I now think it is the asme bat but at that moment, I was thinking it was either #2 or #3.) comes up from the basement stairs and is about 6 inches to a foot from me.
At that moment, I lose it. I sink against the refrigerator and begin sobbing, saying that I can’t do it, I just can’t. (Basically praying, because I don’t know what else to do at this moment.) My mom, since she can’t see the bat and isn’t afraid of them, led me outside.
Here’s where the fear begins.
I stayed outside for almost an hour, holding a dog, and crying quietly. I saw everything that moved (including a bat) and would occasionally jump when I thought I saw a shadow that could or could not be a bat. I’d pace, or sit on the trampoline, and just wait. I would not go back inside, even when my mom told me that she locked a bat in the bedroom and there weren’t any others that she could see. (I said she’s blind (in love) and still refused to go in.)
We called the police to kill the bat, which he did. I could hear him upstairs, smacking and smacking. My hyperactive imagination told me my mom really locked three bats in the room, and I could just see him dancing around, trying to hit the bats swarming in our house. I couldn’t handle that sound and walked away.
When I came back, my mom said that the cop had killed the one, and saw none others. I still refused to go inside. I KNEW there to be more than one bat in the house and the idea of walking into the house, just to have the bat swoop across the house towards me, scared me terribly. I refused to go back into the house again until my brothers and dad showed up, finally, at around 11:30, a good three hours after the initial bat sighting. When the bugs touched me outside, I jumped.
Even when I walked into the brightly lit house, my skin crawled. I was almost about to cry, again. I forced myself to make coffee, because at least that would give me something to do. Even as I sat in the dining room, I would jump if I saw a fly that might happen to be a bat. I made my mom go upstairs to check on the bat situation, and then stayed in my bedroom for the rest of the night.
The next night, my arms were shaking with fear as sunset and the time of bats waking neared. (My arms shake when my body is stressed. Not visibly but that’s what it feels like.) I escaped and felt victorious when I made it out. When I came back home around ten, I both looked inside the house to see if there was a bat, and demanded confirmation that there were no bats. However, I still felt like something was watching me as I walked around our dining room, and spent as little time as I could there, escaping into the TV room as soon as I could.
TV distracted me against the idea of bats coming out, but as soon as the show was over, I was back to worrying about bats. I got ready for bed quickly, my dad checked the upstairs against bats, and I ran to bed.
Sunday, I escaped again to Walmart this time and did some needed shopping for college. I did ask about bats but I managed to walk into my house without feeling like something crawled over my skin. I even read until almost midnight. However, my dog, who thinks that bats are giant frisbees and plays catch with them, started barking in the basement. That scared me enough I ran upstairs, though this time without someone. And back downstairs because I forgot something. (Turned out my dad was in his basement office and that scared the dog.)
Monday, I didn’t leave. I’m still a little nervous. I keep glancing into the dining room to see if a bat has come out. I think I could stay in my TV seat if one did, but I don’t really want to try. (GOT THAT, BATS!) I also feel like something is watching me as I move through the dining room. But I am doing better.
I can’t imagine what I’d be like if something really traumatic actually happened, like I was attacked, because that what it feels like the bats did to me. I never thought I’d be that pathetically scared over a dumb little hamsters with wings, so to tell you all this is very humiliating. However, I think now I have a glimmer about how to create fear into a character, and maybe this will help you too.
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.
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.
I wrote this story last year called Miles’ Love. It came out to 34 pages, poor writing and too much dragging. I didn’t like it and left it on the shelf for some later date.
That later date happened to be yesterday. See, I figured out how to cut out a good 10 pages from the story, and that’s just the beginning. It also made it ten times more interesting I think. The reason for this change is the story started much too slowly, because it had too much background.
Now, this does mean I have to change the story from third person to first person, but I kinda like it like that actually. We’ll see where it goes at least. I thought about doing this before type of introduction before but this is the first time I actually tried it.
So here’s the very beginning of Miles’ Love.
“Your father and I believe that the time has come for you to be married.”
“We have been told that you can help us with a bomb issue with are having, involving the SFFC.”
“Rachel is a nice girl. You will do well for each other.”
“I’m just here for therapy. Nothing more.”
“You weren’t really on guard duty, were you?”
“Three years is more than enough to be running around the world with the military. It’s about time you settled down.”
“I know I’m the eldest, Luke, and that my tradition my marriage is arranged. But I don’t want to be married, let alone to a girl I don’t know.”
“I can’t tell you anything. It’s classified. Mother can’t know either. If she knew….”
“You take care of Rachel, you hear?”
“Thank your for your help, Major Jospehson. We are indebted to you.”
“Don’t go to the mall–not until Wednesday at least. It’s not safe.”
“You should take her on a picnic. She would like that.”
“How much were you hurt when the bomb exploded?”
“What did you hear?”
“Stop playing games with us, Jospehson.”
“You used the bomb to lure me out.”
“We have our sources.”
“Don’t you dare hurt her.”
I was ten when I first heard about the Changers. These people would voluntarily removed parts of their body to have new, improved bodies, generally speaking for criminal purposes. The prosthetics had become so advanced by now that a person could sometimes move faster, quickly and more. Changers were the future of the criminal race, for they used these skills to exploit and steal.
accurately with one. By the time I was fifteen, everyone believed that any amputee was probably a Changer. Not that they could be easily recognized, since most artificial limbs looked normal. Still, people would see, or think they would see, the small metal band and know. As such, most everyone would do anything to keep a limb, no matter how maimed they were.
Except me. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I imagine I would become a Changer.
I didn’t mean for it to happen. I should have seen the bomb, realized the location, not miscalculated the time–anything to keep myself from being caught in the explosion. But it did explode. Before I could get out. When the pain cleared enough for the doctor to give me a choice, I told him to use his best judgment.
But I never thought he’d chose to remove my arm. And even then, I never thought I’d be pressure to opt for a millitary-issued arm. Nor did I expect that injury would encourage the military to select me to go to Bordino, a third world country who current sold telepathy to anyone willing to buy.
With an advanced arm and a telepathic ability to sense other’s emotions, I might as well be a Changer. I couldn’t tell my parents though. A lord’s son–without an arm? Even if that would be found out soon enough, no one could know about the telepathy. That was against the contract. Nor could they know that my expertise lay in bombs, both decoding Intel and defusing. I made too many enemies in the war zone to allow that to be known here.
And where did all this end me? My specialized skill set and training? A basement cell, kidnapped by the SFFC because I prevented a bomb explosion earlier this week. And my betrothed pretending to sleep against the wall, her dark hair falling into her face. Luke, my brother, told me to keep her safe before we left for the picnic, but I couldn’t have imagined this would happen. I couldn’t have known they would know about me, let alone go after me.
I took a deep breath. No matter. First, I would get free. Then, we’d deal with how they found out. But about Rachel… I had been in worse situations.
I shifted and stretched my legs. “I’m thinking it’s about eight.”
Rachel pushed herself up. She didn’t really sleep. Only pretended to. “I don’t know. Why does it matter?”
“It just does.” The sun set within the last hour, so we would have enough twilight to run and enough darkness to hid. I fumbled with the handcuffs behind my back. Rachel just stared at me, her large brown eyes not even bothering to hide her fear.
“Did–they say something? When they questioned you earlier?”
So, what do you think? Did it work maybe? What do you know about Miles (the person who is telling the story)?
Have you done any kind of unique beginnings like this for your writing? How did it work out for you?
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:
- Mermaids are awesome.
- I’ve discovered a few twists with mermaids that I’d like to play along with.
- 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.
- 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.)
- I have heard rumors of mermaids possibly being the next thing after vampires.
Why I don’t want to write mermaids:
- 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.
- I can’t figure out how or what they can eat or drink. Particularly eat. And while I’m on that, what about smoking?
- Movement is difficult to describe. Sitting, standing, walking, ect.
- I can’t figure out how to do furniture either.
- 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?