I spent some time today watching TV instead of filling my day with chores that never end and projects that no one cares about but me and got a fun-filled lesson on character development from one of my favorite shows, The Magicians (on syfy):
When you file people away as sidekicks you don’t realize their importance to the story, and this story belongs to a lot more people than you think. Where to shelve a book, it’s not a little thing. You’re telling the world what to value. Who to value. You get our responsibility here?
Awwwww shit, that’s how I solve the problem in one of my new WIPs of having the best friend/side kick dilemma. I have a perfectly good character that listens and gives great advice, and then disappears into the woodwork only to pop out again when the main character needs her? No. No, I will not Judy Greer this character.
And by the way, Judy Greer deserves better.
(Oh my God, she wrote a book about it! Go Judy! You go!)
I need to value my side character like casting directors need to value Judy. I need to shelve that book somewhere important.
Thanks Penny! Way to embrace your character arc and grow as a person!
It’s been a tough-to-get-going kind of month this… year, actually but I’m finally making some progress with my NaNoWriMo 2018 project!
You know when you get to the end of a story and you’re like, WAIT… what actually happened? Does this ending make sense? Did I contradict myself a few too many times? And when I’m writing with a deadline, the answers are No Idea, Not at ALL, and Absolutely. So down into the editing hole I go with a flashlight, some note cards, and a big ole red pen.
I’m not entirely unhappy with what I’m finding down here either. I am absolutely in love with my 13-year-old character, Amerie:
“Mara, I know we just met,” Amerie said in an excellent impression of maturity belied only by her sparkly rainbow journal cover. “But you have to know this about me: I am a feminist and I know some people are like, ‘feminists are terrible’ but it’s not true. Beyonce is a feminist and she’s like, American royalty.”
“Agreed,” I said because… truth. Beyonce is a queen. And if a girl’s gonna choose a role model, she could hardly do any better.
“So I’m not like, actually about to let a boy change who I am. I’ve seen Frozen.”
I hadn’t. So I … really didn’t understand the reference. Touche, child. Touche.
Here’s a little secret about this entire piece: Amerie is the hero.
Between finishing Camp NaNoWriMo and realizing that Wynonna Earp season 3 started a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t been writing much. Also, those children. Those children take ALL my time. And work, I guess. Not sleeping, so much. I don’t do much of that.
But I had an idea for a something new–which always happens before I actually finish most of the old–and since the process of writing is a lot more fun than the process of editing or self-publishing, I think I’d rather dive into that than finish anything else.
There was a guest post on Chuck Wendig’s blog recently about the thrill of a new idea and slowing down when you have no deadline. It’s good advice from someone who wrote/designed “Iron Edda” which, honestly I have no interest in other than it sounding like the me I imagine myself to be every time I do three push-ups. But it’s a good reminder to the self-published and the hobby novelist that if this writing thing is for myself then I should just do what works for me and to hell with all expectation.
So I’ll just let those other projects simmer, especially the two super personal ones I’ve written in the last year. Let’s start something new for funsies and see where it goes.
A long time ago, in a suburb far far away…
Now… time to research some weird shit like… who invented mowing lawns and why?
It was touch and go there for a while. Not lookin’ too good this mornin’ when I still had 4,000 some odd words to go and a To Do List a mile long but… you know… you dig down deep and just like, totally blow off your To Do List and here’s what you get.
It’s only 20,000 words (20,031 if we’re being accurate) but that’s more of this story than I had a month ago and that’s something to be proud of.
Happy camping, writer friends. Maybe all your mosquito nets be undamaged.
I am just over 9,000 words away from meeting my adjusted Camp NaNo goal and it… doesn’t… look… good.
Unless I can write half of that today, in under 3 hours while multitasking some actual work stuff, I won’t make it.
So the question is: Readjust that goal again or take the fail and know that when my children get older I WILL have more time for writing again?
**UPDATE**: I wrote 4,339 words today which is almost half! This race ain’t over yet!
Geez Louise, Eda, why is your word count stuck at 23 today?!
Well, internet, given that “free time” is a precious commodity in my life and I’ve just wasted half of it restarting my damn computer, I’ve opted to go clean out my closet instead.
My computer doesn’t want me to write today. It’s not procrastination.
This is what I’ve written today:
I’ve got nothing doing. I had had a nice little fantasy about a Mexican actor I’ve had a crush on since film school.
Go go Na-noooooo!
I’ll tell you what: if Buzzfeed starts banging out the Mad Libs-style fun quiz, I’m never leaving that site again.
Here’s my favorite part of the dystopian YA novel Buzzfeed helped me write while I should have been real writing my Camp NaNo project:
The Chaperones began placing memory erasing coffee k-cups on the temples of all children. Rythe saw this and knew she must make her escape. She had heard a fable in her earlier years told by the children at her school, when the New Government was gaining control. Apparently there was a code to deactivate their android creations. What was that rhyme they used to chant around the schoolyard? Then Rythe remembered. She stood up and recited: “toenail, third rail, 001, jury duty, big ole booty, 001.” Suddenly, all Chaperones dropped their bottles and cans and stood up in unison, then left the room.
Toenail, third rail, 001
Jury duty, big ole booty, 001
Well, I certainly did try to edit my NaNo project into something cohesive and I’m not saying I’m ready to give up on it. But I do believe it needs some space to breath.
This is true for most of the things I write, that I need some space between the writing and the editing, but especially so for a mostly true story about a totally shit time in my life.
So I’ve started something new! Something fun! Something that started out as a merry jaunt through time and space, an attempt to recreate a nostalgic event in the lives of the main character’s parents… but then… my mind went to the dark place and so did the story. Now the main character will share her story with her mom who’s been reading a lot about the #TimesUp movement and following coverage of a fictionalized version of that scumbag gymnastics doctor’s trial and reexamining some of those nostalgic events through the lens of a more cynical and much more informed adult eye.
Also… woo! Road trip!
Happy last day of NaNoWriMo 2017! If you haven’t finished, may all the words unburden themselves from your finger tips and your editing brain take a little break until you’re done.
I’m proud to announce that despite a buttload of obstacles (and by buttload, I mean the actual unit of measure equaling a barrel of wine which I cannot drink because I am nursing) I got my 50,000+ words thereby making me a…
I mean, I’m a winner no matter what because I look my mirror reflection in the eye every morning and tell her so, but it is gratifying to accomplish a goal and get a t-shirt so I can brag about it.
What I cannot brag about, however, is having a finished manuscript. Far from it. I can imagine the chapter I’m currently writing as being the last one but I have the kind of ending that’s like… “the only change was in my mind and I still haven’t decided what to do about it. The End”
True to life, man. Because I think I’ve finally emerged from the dark cave of baby blues–or at least found the exit, if I haven’t quite made it through the gift shop yet–and I don’t know what the hell to do with myself now. This WIP, this challenge was the thing that was keeping me going. After today, I don’t know. I’ll just have to use “getting through the holidays” as my motivation to keep moving forward until I find something else to cling to.
Maybe I’ll put an effort into finishing my NaNo project. Maybe I’ll start something new. Either way, I’ll definitely be doing it from a better mental state than I started this month.
I started writing something new a few days ago–another coming of age type story that uses Batman Forever as a turning point in a young woman’s understanding of sexuality– but I’m still… you know, pregnant and not having much luck in not sitting on the couch ignoring my discomfort and pain with endless article-reading and Buzzfeed quizzes.
I just think that there are times when you need to let time pass rather than spending it wisely and late pregnancy is one of those times.
But I assume there will come a time when I can write again, perhaps with an infant strapped to my chest, perhaps about all the things I won’t be doing because… I have an infant strapped to my chest.
Although… I do have a WIP that involves a woman with an infant strapped to her chest who walks out of Target only to meet up with a mythical creature spouting nonsense rhymes at her as a call to action. She complains a lot about her husband not helping enough and not understanding how difficult it is to constantly be with your child with very little outlet other than weekly trips to Target. And if that’s not “write what you know” then there’s no such thing.