The benefits of creating my own world. :D
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?
What to test for DNA?
So, I don’t know how accurate this website is, because it is a giant ad for DNA testing materials. However, it’s fun, so I’m posting it anyway.
This is a chart of all the possible ways to get DNA from someone who doesn’t want to cooperate. I’ll give you a hint. Hero walks into the bad guys office and gets a chance to snag cigarette butts or an envelope he just licked, smoking works for the hero’s advantage here. :D
On that same note, the heroine doesn’t need to try to get semen from the bad guy if the bad guy happens to have a cold.
The art of hinting
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. :)
So–tell me about your character?
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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:
- 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?
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.
- This will not be perfect.
- Write first; edit later.
- Your characters talk to you more while you write than when you plan. So write already.
- Facebook and wordpress are only there to distract you.
- As related to number four, facebook and wordpress do not need to be checked every five minutes. They can live without you.
- Mail doesn’t need to be checked either.
- Facts about how much caffeine a dog can intake doesn’t need to be looked at.
- It’s just ones and zeros. Ones and zeros are cheap and easy to change, so keep writing.
- 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.
- Sometimes character histories have to change.
- 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.
- 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.
Learning to Love Your Hates.
I’ve talked before, extensively actually, about editing. In short, I didn’t do it much as a beginning writer. I’d go from first draft to second draft and that then declare it finished. (I edited on the computer moreover.) When I made a list of the common mistakes new writers make, not editing was on the top.
Then I read a post about someone who hates outline. I do believe he called it the evil of evils. Albert proposes that we need to do the bad stuff along with the good stuff. That even though I love the ability to create a world, and the characters, and the plot, and write it all together, in order to be a good writer we need to do the parts we hate.
Which started me thinking: What do I really hate about writing?
• I love developing characters and worlds. Although recently I’ve been doing more developing characters than worlds, I love both parts of that.
• I love the ah-ha! moment that comes when I realize the full impact of something, say, how the elections beginning will rip power from Sagi’s hand, and Sagi’s reaction. Or that this one seemingly nice character is really a spy.
• I love writing it all down, watching the characters and the world evolve into something beautiful and yet simple at the same time. Of interlacing the plots together and finally finishing it.
• I really like going back, revisiting the story, and fixing the problems along the way. For those of you who don’t realize it, that is editing. There is something really fun about adding detail now that I understand the characters, their motives and all that.
In reality, that’s all I’ve done. This makes me sad but I can’t say about writing synopses or cover letters or anything of the like because I don’t really know how to do that, and as such, I haven’t done it.
Now that I’ve thought about it, there’s very little I dislike about writing now. The only time I really hate editing is when the story seems too bad to finish. But overall, I have come a long way from doing one computer edit to doing one to two paper edits per book. Hopefully, it has paid off.
What I consider before writing any story.
I’ll be presenting a workshop on creative writing at my school in about two weeks, so I came up with these things that I always look at before I start writing.
What is the goal of the character?
I don’t say plot because that implies that I know the plot. I’m finding that I typically cannot pinpoint a plot until I finish and I can look at the whole picture. But my character needs an initial goal and a plan.
How does goal and plot differ? In Shad, one of my stories, his goal was to win in the intragalatic race. As such, he worked towards that and kept struggling to make it through the race. However, the plot actually turned out to be Shad trying to break away being a sweeper and establish himself in the real world, something I didn’t even realize until I looked at the finish product and saw that, based on where the story ended, that had to be it.
What is the ending?
I will not start writing a story until I know the ending. Period. Because either a) I’ll never learn the ending or b) it’s not a good story. Either way, I need to have a clue on the ending.
Now, sometimes for me that ending is vague. Like, I know they are going to run the aliens off of earth, but I’m not quite sure how. Sometimes it’s quite concrete, like, the story will end with Kayla comes to the new home and Shad meets her.
Character’s Point of View (POV):
That seems strange. Well, of course I’m going to tell it in the character whose story I thought of. However, when I began to systematically think about the POVs, I realized that sometimes the obvious character isn’t the best.
For example, I’m going to post a story this week where a mermaid (Avi) has to convince her sister (Nessa) to join an underground liberation movement. Instead of writing it from Avi’s POV though, so Avi keeps having to tell Nessa everything that Avi already knows, I wrote it from Nessa’s POV, which ended up making a very interesting story.
This time also makes me realize whether I really need to tell it in one or two or five people’s POVs.
This goes slightly into the POV, but something I sometimes decide later and sometimes I don’t even decide until after I pick up the story. In general, I will write in third person. However, some stories call for first.
(Then you have the annoying stories that you write that you intend for it only to be a short story and so you write it in first person only to have the characters tell you its a novel, but you don’t want to write it in first person the whole way, so you need a new way of presenting the information without rewriting the whole short story/prelude.)
I think this aspect is a fundamental part of any story. However, I have discovered through a long and tumutious road that a personality doesn’t just come usually. If it does, it is usually perfect. As such, I automatically want to have a clue about how this character acts, is she/he shy, determined, stubborn, brave? And what is the character’s weakness?
Where is the story best told?
Generally, this is obvious. However, not always. And sometimes the setting doesn’t make a difference. But it is something to think about.
I should probably mention that I don’t look at tense. Typically, I’ll write in past tense. If I happen to start writing in present, it’s by mere accident but usually because I hear the voices so well that I just write as they tell me. (No, I am not schizophrenic.)