Posts tagged ‘confessionsoftheun-published’

July 24th, 2010

Wannabe Writers #26

by Madeleine Rex

Wannabe Writers is a fantastic weekly meme hosted by Sarah at Confessions of the Un-Published!

Where I am in the Writing Process: I know it’s been forever since I made any progress…. but I wrote the second half of The Lemonites all this week! I think the most I wrote in one day was 8,000 words, and I can hardly believe it! I still have a scene to stick in that I accidentally skipped over, but I still believe what I have qualifies as a completed first draft!

The problem? Now I have to send it to betas. I’ve never really sent a book out for a very detailed critique, and never to more than one person. This is going to be quite an experience, and although I’m excited to make the book the best I can, it’s frightening to think that it could very well be crap no matter what. I didn’t plot this book very well. I have roughly two pages of a synopsis and that’s about it, but most things seemed to fall into place as I went…

I’m especially not pleased with the last 250 words or so, which I know is minor, but it’s certainly disconcerting. I’m going to let it sit and stew for a while, and hopefully my betas will have some input on how it could be/if it needs to be improved. Unless, of course, I’m struck by sudden inspiration and come up with something brilliant (I’m crossing my fingers).

Overall, though, writing my second book has been an incredible experience! Even if there are problems, it feels a lot more… bookish than my first. I know that, no matter whether this book is crap or not, I have improved. I’m grateful for all the practice I’ve gotten. Learning to sit down and simply start writing has always been the hardest thing for me. Once I’m into it, I’m enjoying myself, but the beginning of the day is difficult. I’m learning to work with this. Also, I’ve realized that I can write 2,000 words in an hour if I try, which will be a great thing when the school year starts and I have homework. (Ugh.)

I’m hoping The Lemonites can be whipped into shape, but it will always be something I’m proud of. Writing it was enjoyable, I love my characters, and I know that my writing is improving with every book. Which is exactly what I’m going for.

The Question this Week: Character Flaws. Okay, I know I need those to make my characters realistic, but I also know the flaws shouldn’t make the reader hate your character. So what are some good, hero-worthy, none-hateable, character flaws?

Well, this sorta kinda goes along with my post the other day: Can You Do That Again in Normal, Please? Not precisely, but if you’re struggling with characters, it might be a place to look.

I think the key is to ensure that the flaws are explained. Their anger issues are justified, their hatred for animals has a story to go along with it, etc. You don’t want to make them terribly flawed/mean (unless that’s what you’re going for), of course. My point is, however, that the flaws need to be within reason. Can I relate to the character? Can I sympathize? Or is he/she cruel for the sake of being cruel? You see my point.

If you’re not going for serious flaws of anger/hatred/etc, but simply little ones to make the character real, I think it’s important to have a wide range. Not to mention the fact that characters need to do things that are out of character every now and again. Say the character has problems giving people the benefit of the doubt – at some point, they should. It’s called character growth, and it means overcoming obstacles within the character. That problem of not giving people the benefit of the doubt has probably ruined some potential relationships. You could choose that as part of your character arc. By the end of the book, a character needs to have changed/realized something/become a better person/become a worse one. The point is: Something needs to have happened within them. Plot is not action, plot is story. Characters are story.

A few “none-hateable” flaws I can think of are:

  • As I said, a problem with giving people the benefit of the doubt
  • Distrusting
  • Simply confused – there’s something this character needs to understand to be happy/kind/a better person

And those are some big-ish ones. You can have flaws like saying “like” too much! Instead of thinking about how to make characters flawed, think about how to make them real. What have you struggled with? What are things you’re trying to overcome within yourself?

Just remember: Characters are people, too.

May 2nd, 2010

Wannabe Writers #14

by Madeleine Rex

Wannabe Writers is a fantastic meme hosted by Sarah at Confessions of the Un-Published. Every week, we give updates on our writing and answer a writing-related question before heading over to get to know the other writers participating. If you want to learn more, click.

Where I am in the Writing Process: I’ve been reading my MS over the last few days, and it’s one of the most surreal experiences. Very enjoyable, yet kind of torturous at the same time. Wouldn’t it be so nice if you could snap your fingers and make it perfect? Anyway, I intend to start working a little bit on The Lemonites (working title), which is crazily exciting. I’m going to plot it a little itty bitty bit. I need to get the main story structure planned. Besides that, however, I probably won’t do much plotting, largely because I don’t want to get too invested in this story quite yet.

My Current Problems: None, that I can think of. I can sense that going back to the 2,000 word/2 hours a day schedule will be difficult. My editing daily goals will be a bit different, of course, but they’ll still eat up my time. I’m so grateful that the summer’s so close. I get out of school (Goodbye, Middle School!) on June 18th. I’ll then be able to multitask more. Forbidden plotting + That Boy in the Shed editing.

The Question this Week: What to do to get myself back into writing? What to do to get myself excited about an old story?

When you’ve “fallen out of love” with a storyline and are looking to rekindle the old flame, I’d force yourself to work with it. Just do it. Sit down and mess with it every day, for a certain amount of time/words. As you work and spend time with the story, ideally you’ll learn to love it again, or at least enjoy its company enough to make it through. I wouldn’t be surprised if you found that you became closer friends with the characters, too.

I’ve never had this problem, precisely. I just work and work and work for a set time/word count. I don’t have to love it for every second. I just get it done. In the end though, and typically when I’m in the middle of my daily writing session, I do love what I’m doing. My finger’s will fly, my eyes won’t leave the screen, and my mind’s focused. Then again, some days, I write hesitantly, constantly looking at the clock or checking the word count. It just depends.

So, trudge on. You’ll make it. By the end of the day, you’ll have written something, and the satisfaction of having done so alone is as sweet as pie… which, at my house, means a lot.

Alright, folks! I’m writing book reviews today. I’m forcing myself to do it, so this week should be better, blogging-wise. Happy Sunday! And good luck over this fresh, new week.

April 25th, 2010

Wannabe Writers #13

by Madeleine Rex

This amazing meme, Wannabe Writers,  is hosted by Sarah at Confessions of the Un-Published! The list of participators is growing each week. Join in the fun!

Where I am in the Writing Process: Editing is on the horizon. I can feel its warmth on my neck.

My Current Problems: My mom doesn’t have time to work on the first edit until mid-May. I simply can’t wait that long. I’ve already had almost a month off. I’m actually missing working my bum off. I am officially and hopelessly a  writer – which, let’s be honest, is occasionally synonymous with sadistic. Anyway, my mom and I are going to officially designate a weekend for editing and figure out what the heck I’m going to do between now and then.

Also, I am being driven positively crazy. What do I do when a character and his darned voice will not leave me alone? I really do not want the project attached to said irritatingly persistent character to be my next. I truly believe that Forbidden needs to be my next one. Yet this main character will not leave me alone, and the idea for his story has snagged my interest as well. I am in need of advice here, so please, spill it. Drown me in it.

The Question this Week: What do you give up in order to write?

Well, other than the life of an ordinary teenager, which I never wanted much, I haven’t given up too many things. Just a lot of time. And sanity. I think the more important question would be: What have you gained?

Exactly what I’ve wanted for so long: A finished MS and a gut instinct that I really will publish a book, even if it’s not this one.

I think that nearly everything healthy in life involves giving and taking. We give our time, we finish the book. We sacrifice, and we reap the rewards. The more time and energy we invest in our writing, the more satisfied and proud we will be when we finish a project.

P.S. Hurry up and enter to win one of five copies of Sorta Like a Rock Star! If you haven’t yet, I cannot fathom why! You could also read my review of the book and interview with the author (click and click).