To chapter 4!

This past week has been a bit unproductive writing-wise because both my best friend from Arizona and my father’s family came to town for a visit at the same time. I had a great time, but I unfortunately had very little time to write, though I did my best when I got the chance. I also finally got an iPhone (the 4S model) and I’m absolutely in love with it. <3

I’m back now, thank Buddha, and I’ve reached chapter 4 of my novel, in which my main character…okay I’m sick to death of saying “my main character” (it’s such a mouthful for me), so his name is Dastan. Anyway, Dastan’s father is captured, and I’m excited but at the same time dragging my feet again because I know the first time writing that scene is going to be hard and probably not that brilliant, but I just have to get over it, don’t I?

I’ve also seen three very inspiring movies that I highly recommend (well, Pitch Perfect wasn’t really “inspiring”, but it was pee-in-your-pants funny), Les Misérables and Perks of Being A Wallflower. Neither are necessarily writing-related, but they have given me some really great ideas that I could work into a future novel. Les Mis is a movie that I have been obsessing over since I first heard about it, being a huge fan of both the musical and the book (though the movie was not all that special), and it did not let me down; in fact, it went beyond anything I could even imagine. The cast was just brilliant, the music gave me goosebumps like every two seconds, and it is simply one of the most incredible musical films ever made in my opinion. Go see it. Now. Then you can come back and finish reading.

Perks of Being A Wallflower was at the dollar theater, and all I knew about it was that it had a cool soundtrack, Emma Watson (my ladylove), and drugs. I didn’t expect it to be what it was, and what it turned out to be was unforgettable. I just ordered the book off Amazon, and I will without a doubt be buying the movie the second it hits stores. It’s not a movie for everyone, but if you have an open mind and you want to be inspired, then this is a great one to see. I absolutely loved it.

Now, last thing (my God, this is a long post). I went to B&N Thursday and picked up another writing book/guide/instruction manual shindig called 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet. I’m on page 56 so far, and I also read the end (because I fail as a human being, yes I know), and so far it’s a great read. Domet is very frank and no-nonsense (like a good deal of college professors), and pretty much a badass sassbucket, if you take my meaning. She had me laughing from the first page, and she has a very set way of approaching the novel-writing process, which may not be for everyone, but I’m certainly enjoying the read. The book works like an actual lesson plan, with first a prologue, and then actual day-by-day assignments that help you build both an outline and a completed rough draft. I love outlining and writing exercises, so I’m looking forward to trying out her methods, perhaps over the summer when I’m less pressed for time (and energy).

Hope your New Year is going well!

 

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The Writer’s Memoirs 4-6-2012

So in the past week I’ve been getting quite a bit done as far as outlining. The plot has definitely grown and filled out, and thanks to one of my new favorite techniques, the characters have come a long way as well. The technique I’m talking about is interviewing my characters.

I first found out about this technique (though really, it’s not exactly unheard of) in the book Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K. M. Weiland, which you can read more about in https://thenighttimenovelist.wordpress.com/2012/04/03/what-im-reading-4-3-2012/. I started out with the basic “What is your name?” and look what happened:

Name?

Anna. Anna Clark.

Do you like your name?

I suppose so.

What does your name mean to you?

I don’t know. My mother chose it; it was her sister’s name. She died as a young girl.

Really? How?

I’m not sure. Mum mentioned something about a disease of some kind. Cancer perhaps.

How did this affect her?

She was my mother’s only family other than her grandmother. I know from her stories that they were very close, so I imagine it was very hard for her. Whenever she talked about Anna, Mum grew very…She seemed far away, as though she were with her sister instead of me.

So when did Anna die?

Well, I know my mother was sent away to boarding school when she was thirteen, and Anna was a few years younger than her. I think Anna died while my mother was away.

That must have been very difficult for your mother to deal with.

It was, I think. She was always very protective of me, and I’ve always thought that had something to do with the guilt of being away when Anna died.

What was her relationship with her grandmother like?

Mum rarely talked about her. I don’t think they got along very well. I know her grandmother died a few years after I was born, and I’ve never seen her. I think Mum cut off contact with her after she left school.

Where did she go to school?

A Catholic school in Spain, I believe. She hated it there.

Why?

Well, she didn’t really believe in God to begin with. I wouldn’t either if I were in her place. And she sometimes spoke about the corruption of the church; the nuns and priests must not have treated her kindly.

So what happened after she left school?

She didn’t go to university. I think she started working at a bookshop in London. She stayed there for a few years and then quit to work at a flower nursery. It was always her dream to be a florist.

Originally, I’d planned out all the questions I was going to ask, but after the first three, I was too intrigued to stick to them. Anna was opening a whole new treasure chest that I never even knew existed. Her mother’s past, which I’d never really considered before, brought on a slew of explanations for why Anna is the way she is, and the impact her mother had on her.

I’m still not done interviewing Anna. Each question I ask fills in another plot hole, another blank, and I’m really loving how connected I feel to her now. I’m beginning to understand her on a far deeper level, and the effect it’s having on the story is truly amazing.

What I’m Reading 4-3-2012

With my recent dive into outlining my novel, I’ve decided to start reading some more of those how-to-write-a-novel books that might help give me some ideas. The first book on my list was Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K. M. Weiland, and I must say, it’s chockfull of great ideas. As a very lovely bonus, it also only costs $2.99 if you buy it in e-book format. The author also has a free e-book on her website about crafting characters which I’m really looking forward to reading once I’m done with this one.

K. M. Weiland has a lot of great advice tucked into this little book, and she guides you from the beginning to the end of outlining. The first chapter focuses on misconceptions about outlining, how it supposedly “limits” your creativity (which, by the way, I’ve discovered is complete nonsense), and she takes off from their, showing you how to craft a premise, character sketches, and a load of other things to help you with your outlining. What I’m really enjoying about this book is how customizable her ideas are. It’s not a rigid plan that you have to stick to every second of the way; I’m free to utilize some techniques, tweak others, and even completely forgo a few. Weiland gives you the foundation you need, but she lets you do the building on your own, which pleased me quite a lot since this means I can really make the outlining process my own while still using a lot of her (very useful) methods.

Though I finished the book a few days ago, I find myself going back and reading various sections that I’ve found especially helpful. I’ll probably be re-reading this book a lot throughout my own outlining process.

If you like, you can check this book out on Amazon.com, and while you’re at it, take a look at her website if you’re interested in that free e-book. You’re required to subscribe before downloading the book, which bugs me just a tad, but from the few pages I’ve read, it looks good, so I’ll quit muttering about it sooner or later.

As always, have a great day!