Archive for ‘That Boy in the Shed’

March 28th, 2010

Wannabe Writers #9

by Madeleine Rex

I’m totally in love with this Wannabe Writers meme. It’s fantastic and forces you to be honest with fellow writers and yourself, while giving you the opportunity to discuss problems, dreams, and solutions to said problems. If you’re feeling the itch to join and want a bit more info, head over to this post at Sarah’s Confessions of the Un-Published.

Where I am in the Writing Process: Well, as far as statistics go, I’m at 56,798 words. I’m also finished with Plot Point #2, leaving me with the Narrative and Dramatic Climaxs and the Denoument to go, all of which are pretty short. I haven’t met my 3,000 a day for ten days goal, but I’m not feeling too guilty. I was about to die. Either way, I should be finished with the first draft of That Boy in the Shed by April12th. I’m both nervous and excited. I can feel that I’m nearing the wrapping up stage. The combination of the Narrative Climax, the Dramatic Climax, and the Denouement make the conclusion.

My Current Problems: I’m still struggling with staying focused, but I have a feeling that I’ll always have that problem. My brain’s always teeming with ideas that are eager for attention. I’ll just have to work around them. As far as writing goes, I’m doing just as well as usual. Overall, there’s nothing much to report.

The Question this Week: Writing Romance? How to develop a relationship out of thin air and make it believable? (And not just lust.)

That’s key. Lust is boring. It’s animal instinct, not personal or even very emotional. It’s stellar if the boy or girl is attractive. When someone kisses the MC, it’s just fine if they want another one. It’s fine if their heart starts beating until they feel like it might bust.

Yet that’s not enough to make a real, intriguing relationship. There’s nothing really substantial to make all the emotional turmoil (which must be in the book, otherwise you’re missing plot) worthwhile. What qualities attract the MC – and the reader?

I think the most important key to writing a decent, not-too-corny romance is creating believable, dynamic characters. Both “lovers” must be equally human and interesting. Far too often, one (often the main) character is totally boring in comparison to the potential lover. In my opinion, this distracts the reader with thoughts about how totally sub-par that character is.

Also, I think that tension or emotional turmoil (as I put it before) is crucial to the plot and to interesting the reader. A romance, or any plot or subplot, that runs along without a hitch is usually boring. It won’t make for a page-turner.

I think that J. Kaye (over at 365 Days of Novel Writing) also had a good piece of advice: “My advice has been and always will be to study what has already been done. Find authors you like and study how they do it. That’s exactly what I do. And if I run across one I don’t like, I ask myself what is it I don’t like.”

Good stuff. If you want to see the rest of that post, or any other Wannabe Writers posts from this week, click.

Hope you all can smooth out your writing troubles and enjoy trudging along this week!

March 21st, 2010

Wannabe Writers #8 (But #1 for me…)

by Madeleine Rex

I’ve found myself in dire need of really easy blog post ideas. I’m extremely proud of myself every time I click that “publish” button. Really. It’s ridiculous and makes the fact that I’m a lousy blogger even more evident. I’m going to try to write a review for The Lotus Eaters to post tomorrow, but I’ve been saying that for weeks and it’s beginning to lose its meaning. Honestly, though, I’ll try to post it. Well, I’ll try to write it first.

Anyway, I’ve been interested in participating in Wannabe Writers for awhile. Technically, we’re supposed to post on Saturdays, but I’ll try to come up with killer replies to redeem myself.

Wannabe Writers is hosted by Sarah over at Confessions of the Un-Published. If you’re interested in participating, click here. Or if you’re interested in looking at other people’s posts from this week, click here. Moving onto the questions for this week.

Where am I in the writing process: Well, my current word count is 42,910 and about to rise 1,500 once I’m finished with this blog post and write. I’m past the halfway point and intend to write around 24,000 words over the next week. Yes, it’s a mouthful and a stupid goal to make, but I think I can make it without killing myself or the laptop. And, if I do (if I do write 24,000 words, not if I do kill myself or trash my computer), I’ll only have a week left until my first draft is finished with. (Yahoo!)

My current problems: I’m not having any difficulties with the actual writing, which is the result of having everything planned beforehand, but I am having a few problems with 1) staying focused and 2) keeping heart. I know it’s likely that this book will be simply a practice run, and that’s okay. I never genuinely expected it to be amazing. It always hurts a little, though, to think that something you’ve worked hard on may never reach many people’s eyes. On the other hand, I’ve loved the process and will be grateful for the practice, I’m sure.

On the staying focused side of things: I’m thinking more and more about my next bookish idea – which is a good thing because the plot is far more intricate and complicated than the one I’m working with now. I have an entire world and species to create. You can’t take something like that lightly. There are so many opportunities for loose ends. My mom and I discussed the plot a bit yesterday and untangled some knots, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. This is going to be a book that requires a whole lot of post-it notes. I’m going to be purchasing an enormous pad of paper and markers soon so that I can make a creative mess of things. I’m really excited to get on with this next project but am trying to reign in my enthusiasm for the time being so that I can really finish (as in all the edits) That Boy in the Shed. It’s difficult, though, when I know that plotting this next project will take at least twice as much work.

The question this week: Dual narratives? Has anyone ever attempted to write a book where you have two Main Characters–switching voice with each alternating chapter? Likes/Dislikes on that? I just read Perfect Chemistry and loved how the author wrote like that. Any other good books out there like that? I think this is becoming more and more popular in YA.

I LOVE dual narratives (when they’re done well, of course). I think it’s fascinating to view things through multiple people’s eyes. The same story is morphed and skewed by their personalities and beliefs – everything that affects the character’s view of the world. Dual narratives also give the author leverage to reveal certain facts at the precise moment they want to.

On the other hand, I think dual narratives can go drastically wrong. Writers can spend more time deepening a specific character because they enjoy writing from their POV more. No one wants to read a story when a writer’s favoritism is evident. Storylines can also get tangled when you’ve got two+ POVs to deal with.

Typically, though, I love reading dual narratives. I’ve never really written a serious story with two POVs, but it’s something I’d definitely like to attempt in the future. I’ve got an idea sitting on the side burner that could be a possible dual narrative candidate. I’ll have to think over it a bit more while the idea simmers.

P.S. I think I’ll make another Wordle real quick to give you guys a little view into my WIP. (You can find a Wordle from January here.)

January 24th, 2010

I've Officially Given In

by Madeleine Rex

The Wordbird is now tweeting.

I long ago took a vow never to join anything remotely like Twitter, and now I’ve gone and broken it. I couldn’t stand not understanding what was going on with all the Twitter feeds I’ve been reading. So, if you want to take a peek:

And a note on my work-in-progress: I’ve used Wordle to create a little collage of a few of my favorite things – words! In case you’re unfamiliar with Wordle, it takes all the words you paste into a box and jumbles them up, enlarges them judging on how often they’re used, and spits out a little picture. You can then edit the image to look as you’d like it to.

Here’s That Boy in the Shed‘s:

It’s interesting, isn’t it? I was fascinated by other peoples’, so I took a whack at it myself.

I hope to post a review to The Help by Kathryn Stockett within the next few days, so stay tuned!