Posts tagged ‘plotting’

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 14th, 2010

Getting to Know: Mark + Creating Characters

by Madeleine Rex

I immensely enjoyed my “Getting to Know: Allison” post, so I’ve interview my male MC (Mark) as well. I had to omit certain facts and act as though I were interviewing him before the end of the book for various reasons, but what you find below is all him.

  • How old are you? 19
  • If the house burned down, what one thing would you want to take with you? Probably my grandfather’s journal.
  • Describe your hands. They’re large. I have long fingers.
  • Describe your nightstand, dresser, or bathroom counter. What’s on top of it? In it? Currently, I don’t have any of those things. If I did, there would probably be a few books on top of the dresser and bottles scattered about the room. Things I was trying to hide would be in my nightstand and bathroom cabinets.
  • What is your favorite food? Homemade mac & cheese. I haven’t had it for at least four years.
  • Describe your economic/political status. Economically, I’m doing pretty poorly. I don’t have a job because only a dim-witted person would hire me due to certain circumstances. I’ve been too distracted to focus an ounce of my attention on politics.
  • Where do you have a scar or birthmark? Describe circumstances surrounding your scars. I don’t have any scars, but I have a huge mole on my nose and a Matrix tattoo on my arm.
  • What is the last book you read? What did you think of it? Great Expectations by Dickens. I enjoyed it, though the beginning was slow.
  • Do you have an embarrassing habit? Drinking… But I guess that’s more shameful than embarrassing.
  • Give one vivid memory of a parent or parental figure. The memory of a stranger’s arm around my mother’s shoulder.
  • What is a dream (in sleep) you often have? Allison bringing me Starbucks for breakfast and us eating together, talking about the recent developments. I have it over and over.
  • Do you have a lifelong dream or aspiration? Joining the Navy.
  • How do you go to sleep, and how do you wake up? (i.e. position in bed, etc.) I sleep on hardwood floors, nearly choking on the humidity in the air.
  • What is the last thing you wrote? I can’t remember.
  • What grosses you out?  Alcohol, ironically.
  • Who is the person you like the least? Why? It should be my brother, but it’s not. I’d have to go with the irritating librarian at the Junior High.
  • What is something you feel guilty about?  Myriad things. Innumerable things. I can’t count.
  • Describe what you do when you look in a mirror. I try to wash my face with the paper towels and mucky water that dribbles from the rusty faucet. Or simply wipe grease from my face.
  • Describe yourself sitting in your favorite spot. If I’m alone, I’m sitting on the cap of a hill, leaning against a bristly bush that feels soft, now, because it’s so familiar. When I have Allison’s company, it’s sitting across from her, on the other side of the train tracks.
  • Tell me about a very treasured item. My grandfather’s war journal. He fought in Vietnam.
  • Do you have a nervous tic or habit? I haven’t noticed one, but Allison or Sean might have.
  • Tell me about your siblings…if you have them. I have a sister named Amy. She lives in California with her family, and I haven’t seen her for years. Since my parents divorced, I suppose. My older brother, Sean, he… I’m sorry, but I’d rather not delve into Sean. I’ve realized that I don’t understand him.
  • What is your favorite sound? The sound the shed door makes when there’s a breeze as it shivers in its door frame. It speaks of home.
  • What is your favorite smell? Soap.

Really, folks, this is a blast. I recommend taking a whack at interviewing your characters in such a way, and I’d certainly love to read those interviews if you chose to post them.

I don’t create my characters through this process, though (obviously, because I’m done with the first draft). The interviewing is simply 1) fun and 2) helpful in getting to know your characters better. Not creating them. I create my characters through Character Analyses. I wrote analyses for almost every character that had a name and appeared in the book. Some of them didn’t even make it in, yet they’re real to me. I discovered the Character Analyses system through Elizabeth George’s Write Away. Actually, I used every bit of the plotting process that George wrote about. I read the book last year, just after having dropped Forbidden. I knew that I was in dire need of a substantial plotting process and was thrilled to find that George and I were incredibly similar. Her process was percisely what I needed, though the next time around, I’m switching things up a bit.

So, what’s your process for creating characters? Or plotting in general? Is it similar to one you read about or that of a friend?