Thursday, May 20, 2010

Third 'Class'

I didn't actually make it to today's class, but I did get my assignment in on time :) It was the 'first page' of the novel which she scrutinized for content and character development. Aaaand aside from a few minor tweaks, she really liked it :D She said I had a very well developed character in Nis'ku and interesting backstory that can be peppered throughout the story.

So I'm happy :D Now my new assignment is to create a character chart, outlining my main character's 'Goals, Motivations and Conflicts' that will carry the story. I know all of these, for sure, but wording them right will be a challenge!

I'm up to it though! I will prevail :D For now, here's the 'First Page' I submitted that she liked (except for a few tweaks that I'll add later).

“My name is Nis’ku, and I’m an alcoholic.”

The room around her was quiet, but restless. Some of the others were giving her their full attention, staring at her in a way that she’d hated since the first time she spoke at a meeting, and others were looking away, staring off into space or sitting with their eyes closed, listening blindly. She looked back down at her hands in her lap, watching her thumbnail scrape back and forth across her palm in a slow, steady rhythm.

“I’ve been sober for three years and five months,” she said, tempted to add in the days, hours, minutes, seconds. She was proud of each one of them, because even now, after so long on the program, they were each their own tiny battle. Some of which she’d lost.

“That…that’s not true,” she sighed, looking away from the others, unwilling to see whatever expressions they may be showing now. “It’s actually been six days.”

The very first meeting she’d attended, then a strung-out twenty year old angry at everything, she’d used a truly anonymous name. A mask she wore at all subsequent meetings until she’d constructed a completely false self that had been safe to share. She’d construct stories about a fictional family and a fictional father who beat her, when in reality it had been her addict boyfriend who had put her in the hospital the week before. She couldn’t give him up even then, even when the police had tried to drag out of her what had really happened. She couldn’t admit to what he’d done to her, any more than she could admit that she, Nis’ku, was the alcoholic, and not the anonymous ‘Sarah’ that she had created. She’d loved him too much. Loved it too much. She still hadn’t come to the point of letting go, and so Sarah got the help and not Nis’ku, and it was a simple matter for Nis’ku to return to the bottle when Sarah finally crumbled under the weight of her own lies.

Now, five years later and sitting under the weight of accountability and her own failed confession, she wished she’d just stuck with Sarah. Or Jane. Jane was a nice, nondescript name.

Until next time! Let me know what you all think, I love feedback (good or bad!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Second Class

So I sent in my prologue and 'first line' to Nancy last week, and got it back yesterday. I'm quite happy with what she said about it, despite the fact that she said it wasn't needed. The prologue, while it was good and interesting, is kind of superfluous. When I sent it to her I told her that I was dubious about including it as a prologue, and listed my problems with it (like it's from the wrong POV, I'll be going over the same information later in the story, etc.) and she pretty well agreed with me. I liked it because I think I wrote it well, but it just didn't belong. It's back-story that should be cut.

So that's great. And she liked my first line, and I like it too, so it stays ^_^

My assignment this week is to write the first page of my novel. This will be the official start of my writing of the novel, for me, so I'm going to write as much as I possibly can. She only wants the first page though, so I'm a little nervous.

One page, double spaced, 12pt font, Times New Roman.


To me, that's like...a paragraph *lol* well, maybe three. She said that it will 'force you to be concise in your writing' and I'm all o.o thaaaat's juuuuust great. I get one double-spaced 12pt page to wow her with. Great.

On the up side, she did like the prologue I wrote (the prologue that's being scrapped), though she did have a few notes about style that I'll be paying attention to. She's also going to be watching that we take her 'show, don't tell' lesson to heart. She said (and I heartily agree) that the best way to tell a story is by not giving away EVERYTHING. Let the reader deduce things like emotions and thoughts from a character's actions. For instance, if someone's angry, don't say 'She was angry'. Instead, say 'She slammed the door, stalking towards the kitchen and ripping open the fridge door' or something like that. The reader gets it. She's angry. We don't need to become Captain Obvious ^_^

Did I mention I love this class?

We also spoke about character archetypes and how each of them behave. I discovered that Nis'ku is a blend of the Spunky Kid (Girl Next Door) and the Crusader (Rescuer) archetypes. Max, however, will be a progressive archetype: she will begin as a blend of the Boss (Trailblazer) and Seductress (Dark Lady) archetypes, and end up by the end of the novel, as the Nurturer (Caregiver) archetype. At least, that's the theory ^_^ I've already decided Rory is the Best Friend (Confidant) type and Stephen is a blend of Bad Boy (Rebel) and Lost Soul (Outcast), but haven't gotten to Holden yet. I'm thinking he will be 'book two', so I have plenty of time to figure him out ;)

All of these archetypes are outlined in a book 'Heroes & Heroines - Sixteen Master Archetypes' by Tami Cowden, Caro LaFever and Sue Viders. I wanna see if I can find it somewhere 'cause it sounds awesome. There's another she recommended that I want, 'Goal, Motivation & Conflict - The Building Blocks of Good Fiction' by Debra Dixon, but she thinks it's probly out of print o.o (I just looked for it, and it's about $200 on amazon. I kid you not)

So I have writing to do :)

...I also I have to put the garbage out. And it's midnight o.o

More later ^_^

Monday, May 10, 2010

Back to the Writing!

I started my writing course 'Crafting a Novel' last week. (I am now finished work, so I actually have time to write now!) I'll be taking it every Thursday until the second week of June. I've only been to one class and I'm already inspired by it! It seems to me it'll be a good course for guidance and such. The teacher Nancy, is a published author who is willing to share with us the tricks of the trade that us budding (hopeful!) novelists need to know about the industry and the actual writing of a novel. I am most excited that she will be reading some of what we write and providing feedback on style and other things that editors and publishers look for when picking up new authors.

I'm. Very. Excited.

I am on the fence about a prologue too. It's a piece I'd written many many moons ago (in 2008 I believe) as a 'flashback' for the character Nis'ku. I have several of these snapshots of her life before her work, and I was thinking I could polish/rewrite them so they can be...perhaps interludes between crucial sections of the story. I like the way Jodi Picoult does that...her stories aren't always completely linear, she sometimes sets separate chapters in a different timeframe (orienting the reader with the date at the beginning of the chapter, I include the exact date and the age of the protagonist). They're scenes from the past that have direct influence on what's happening in the present and...I have them already written :D I'll wait to see what she says about it though, but I'm tipping towards the 'use them' side of the fence. Before that class I hadn't even thought to include them in the novel.

Sooo starting this week I'm going to give myself a daily word count. I'm thinking of starting off with 1k per day, and moving up to 2k or more depending on how well I do. I want to wait for my first 'assignment' to come back with comments (she wanted the first line of our novels) but I know that's a cop out, and I can always rewrite, so I will just write.

So that's where I'm at :) Today I had an outing of a lecture at the college, dealing with social media types and their application in the college environment (Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Alexa, etc.). It was quite interesting and I had a great time learning stuff I didn't know before :D Buuut now I gotta get to work on writing :P I'm gonna aim for 1k or 5 pages, whichever ends the thought first ^_^

Behind! Always behind!