DTD — 569, and my MC confesses

Okay. Tonight was nothing like what I expected when I sat down to write.

I started a scene with Aleksa, my main character (MC). It was supposed to be a sad little romantic scene where the man who loves her asks her again to marry him, and she turns him down.

But in the middle of the scene, she said, “I don’t deserve to be loved,” which was nothing like what I’d found out about her before.

And then she went into the story of what happened to her after her family was murdered, but before she came to live with relatives in the US.

I knew she had her demons. Tonight she showed them to me, and for the first time, I understand her life and her choices, as well as her need for solitude, and for the first time I can see the precise shape of the conflict that she’ll have to deal with at the end. I can understand now why she has as much reason to say ‘no’ as to say ‘yes’ at the final question, and what personal horrors she will have to overcome to give the better answer.

It was a stunning night for me.

How did it go for you?

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

46 comments… add one
  • Red_dot Aug 31, 2009 @ 22:52

    The last two weeks have been hard. Only 100 words during that time. I seems like it doesn’t take much to derail me. It’s a new week and I can’t think about word debt, Holly has 41K man that is a lot! I feel that I am back on track 408 words today. Still on CH6 it is a long one. We will see tomorrow if I can keep writing or if Monday was a fluke.

    • Jessica Aug 31, 2009 @ 23:31

      I’ve been having the same sort of issues with on/off writing days. I seemed to run smoothly from start to 25K but then the leap from 25 to 30K took over 2 weeks!
      Every now and again I find myself looking at Holly’s or other people’s counts and thinking, crap, behind again! But I’m pretty sure Holly was already 10K ahead of me from the start. And I’m only writing to 100K.
      I feel guilty, but I come on the board and it reminds me that I just have to keep at it. It doesn’t always work – middles have always been the worst struggle spots for me. But the more I try to be consistent, the more progress I make.

      (I’m still on chapter 6 too!) Good luck!

      • Red_dot Sep 1, 2009 @ 13:56

        The subject of my book is the Space Shuttle, so with the latest launch that lit a fire under my butt. Only 6 launches left. I would like to finish my book before the last launch. I have never written before this is all new to me. This site really lights up a dark tunnel for me. Not just Holly but all of you posting here. Have you written anything before Jessica? I haven’t, 600 words today, CH 6 complete, started CH7 grand total 20K!

  • Don Aug 31, 2009 @ 21:49

    Cut my day off short I’ve decided to have daily plot objectives, that tie into the whole story. This book is so much trouble because my first two were pretty much thought out, and I have some things I want to accomplish with this one, and the second once I start rewriting. Did 685 words still looking at a Thanksgiving finish.

  • Adam Aug 31, 2009 @ 21:26

    Reworked my transition in Ch 9, and i’m much more pleased with how it works now. wasn’t much, but in order to keep the audience where i want them it is necessary. think i need to add another section after the last flashback but before the next chapter, but i’m probably going to go forward with the next chapter and finish off the first section of the Novel.

    did alot of background work for the next chapter, when Kraz, the MC’s brother, will be giving a few myths and rallying those he has recruited to investigate the ruins of Del-Krazeen and fight back against the fiends who are attempting to take over. need this chapter to tie up my set up and get ready for what comes in section 2, and i’m kind of dreading the long monologue as i don’t know if i’ve got the character’s voice down yet…

    498 words is what i’ve added.

  • Gabby Aug 31, 2009 @ 21:02

    Sat: 70; Sun: 832; Mon: 713
    Trying very hard not to worry about the rewrite process so that I can keep moving the story forward. Finally seeing my way through to almost finally, finally getting out of the beginning and into the scary, scary middle I’ve heard so much about.

  • Julia GD Aug 31, 2009 @ 17:43

    I’m back after a whole week of silence. I was writing, just did not use internet at all to avoid getting sidetracked. Sometimes I have to do this to myself (trust me, with good reasons!)
    The weekend was mostly non-productive however. I can’t get over one of the reviews I got in class when another writer (with a whole lot more experience than me) went through my story correcting my past simple to past perfect and I could not see the reason for it, except that it was making writing more conventional.
    So – a lot of beating the head on the wall issued and after agonizing for a couple of days, I asked other people what they think. Oh, English grammar! So difficult! No one apparently knows it… >.<
    Anyway, 760 words for Sunday and about 300 for today. It will be more by the evening, hopefully!

    By the way, Holly, my MC seems to make choices different from what I had planned for her. She was originally supposed to be shy and unsure in herself. Alas. Looks like she decided not to cut corners and thus put my other MC into a very difficult situation. Now I wonder if he decides to be honest or play it safe. A week ago I was sure in his choice. Not anymore though…

  • Mike P. Aug 31, 2009 @ 17:14

    100 so far on Monday. I’ve been so busy working, and trying to drum up work, I haven’t had the energy to really write. I know it is a lousy excuse, but it is the only one I have.

    • Treelight Aug 31, 2009 @ 19:07

      Who cares if it’s a lousy excuse? At last you’ve written 100 words!

  • Rabia Aug 31, 2009 @ 14:59

    I took the day off yesterday to work on writing out a few scenes on index cards. I’m balking a little and I know it. My MC is back in her homeworld, where her brother the king has just died without an heir, an important magical ceremony is coming up, and everyone hates her guts. I want to get her first public appearance at a feast with all her relatives and other nobility to go right (by which I mean completely horribly for her), but wanting to get it perfect is putting a damper on my enthusiasm.

    Regardless of my feelings, my goal for tonight is 500 words. Now that I’ve said it, the threat of public shame should keep me honest, right? 😉

  • Lisa R Aug 31, 2009 @ 11:35

    0 words for many days. I have caught the dreaded cold that many people in the area have been talking about. So, I have been spending my time giving what little energy I have to my kids. The rest went to sleep.

    • Treelight Aug 31, 2009 @ 15:56

      Oh, I’m sorry and hope you will get well soon.

    • Red_dot Sep 1, 2009 @ 13:49

      Yea a cold tripped me up…starve a fever, feed a cold. 🙂 get well soon

  • Michelle Aug 31, 2009 @ 10:57

    Oooh…Holly, I can’t wait to read this book. It sounds so cool.

    1028 for me tonight. Nice new little plot element popped up that I’m really happy about.

  • Heather Aug 31, 2009 @ 10:52

    The thing that always throws me, Holly, is the way that your charactrs surprise you while you’re writing the story. For some reason I keep thinking that you (the writer) should already know the story as you’re writing it, but it seems as though two-thirds of what you put on paper is more channeled than planned, if that makes sense.

    How do you do that?

    • The Pencil Neck Aug 31, 2009 @ 11:36

      I’m not Holly but… to me that’s one of the things that’s so great about writing. You’ve got everything all planned out but when you’re writing, it can go in a totally different direction and show you totally unexpected things. That’s fun.

    • Rabia Aug 31, 2009 @ 14:46

      For me, it’s just a matter of getting out of the way and letting the ol’ Right Brain have a hand in the story. Those kind of surprises are what make writing so fun! If I couldn’t surprise myself while writing, then there’d be no point in doing it (for me). It’s just transcription, then. 😀

    • Treelight Aug 31, 2009 @ 15:53

      If I may say so … I think this may have something to do with how detailed one plans a story and its background and its characters before the actual writing begins, and how likely one is to stray from any plan.
      I usually don’t plan very much about the story, but I have quite a clear image in my head when it comes to most characters. Those that I invent as I go usually surprise me quite a lot 🙂

      • The Pencil Neck Aug 31, 2009 @ 16:38

        All I know is that it happens to me and I plan things out in a pretty detailed manner. I can think I know exactly what is going to happen but until the words are actually written, I don’t really know. Whenever it happens it makes ripples of change throughout the entire story and I’ve got to jot down notes on which scenes need to be changed, and I update my outline and then go on. I’m in the middle of one of these unintended changes right now.

  • Khena Aug 31, 2009 @ 10:13

    No words again. I’m struggling, and I don’t know why. I’m excited about the chapter I’m working on, I’m ‘mostly’ sure what is going to happen, so I don’t know what my problem is.

    I’m going to try again tonight, hopefully I can do more than stare at the computer screen blankly…

    • The Pencil Neck Aug 31, 2009 @ 11:34

      Yesterday, I decided to write up/collect notes from various writing books I’ve read and one of the notes relates to this. This is from How To Write A Mystery and re-vised slightly to work with Holly’s approach:

      1. Make a list of characters and their goals at the point in the story where you’re stuck.
      2. Skip ahead and write a candy-bar scene
      3. Write a sentence or two about your next candy bar scene and then write out in outline form everything you need to do to get there.
      4. Write a biography of one of the characters.
      5. Do some mind-numbing chores instead.
      6. Do more research.
      7. Figure out the problem. WHY aren’t you writing? Is there something that is bothering you subconsciously?
      8. Go back to your outline/scene cards and start adding details and points that need to be made.

      Holly’s got some writers block workshops that you should check out, too. Starting here… https://hollylisle.com/fm/Articles/wc1-3.html

      Good luck!

    • Treelight Aug 31, 2009 @ 15:55

      I hate it when that happens to me.
      However, I found out that it helps to whine a bit here 🙂
      Usually I would get some comforting and encouraging words and miraculously I would be able to write again the next day.

    • Gabby Sep 1, 2009 @ 10:58

      I’ve been equating this with ‘stage fright’ when it happens to me. It seems to happen the most often on my big scenes that I am pressuring myself to really come up with something cool or etc. The thing that works the best for me is to just to write bare bone sentences, reminding myself of what I want to have happen. Then I fill in the details for each sentences and make it ‘story.’ Additionally I force myself to just start writing and reminding myself over and over (whenever I get stressed again about how it’s not good enough)… “I can rewrite later” and “I can’t rewrite a blank page.”
      Another thing is I start in the middle and then work my way forward and backward and that seems to work as well. Typically I have a clear picture of one piece of it and just not sure how to get there from here. If I start from that point instead, I can much more easily work my way back to the part I was unclear about.

      Anyway, you are SO not alone on this. I am struggling daily with the same thing. Good luck!

  • HannaBelle (aka Belle) Aug 31, 2009 @ 9:05

    I can’t believe I have been out of pocket for three weeks, maybe four. I am getting back on track this week, this morning, right now.

    I am still setting up my work space at home and dealing with over 30 boxes, some that have been packed for more years than I care to admit. I finally found a manuscript I wrote over 20 years ago, a how-to. It is so old I don’t have an electronic file on it, but with some editing, it is still relevant. I am going to try to get a query out on it this week also.

    Anyhoo, sorry to be offline so long and miss all the amazing posts and writing updates.

    “I’m ba-a-a-a-ck!”

  • Charmaine Aug 31, 2009 @ 8:32

    Tonight reluctantly started writing and felt a little all over the place. Put out 673 words for The Pirate Girl, spread across three different scenes. Did get some insight and am glad I forced myself to sit down and write. Also managed 601 words earlier today on the Dog Show Detective, which I am using the Think Sideways course to complete.

  • Jessica Aug 31, 2009 @ 8:15

    No words Sunday. I slept in and ended up spending the day with in-laws. My mind must have just been somewhere else because I dreamed of two characters in a totally different story (one I had written over ten years ago), but it’s given me some ideas for what will happen when FMC goes home.

  • Steph Aug 31, 2009 @ 7:45

    After taking the day off on Saturday, I put in another 474 words last night. Almost surprised myself with the element of suspense I (and the MC) found in chapter 2.

    Back to the “real world” today, after a week’s vacation…but determined to keep up the momentum with my writing.

  • Laura Aug 31, 2009 @ 6:40

    840 words. My MMC just updated his “people-I-hate” list, and now the first place goes for his parents because they made him find a job and ignored his attempts to starve himself to death in response (well, he just locked himself in his room and was extremely annoyed when his parents didn’t knock down the door to make him eat dinner). Right now he has given up and is looking for a job. Finally. Otherwise I was getting tired of his protests.

    Happy writing! 🙂

  • Ann Aug 31, 2009 @ 6:08

    1052 words. Another house burns down, and someone mentions having seen a stranger, reeking of gasoline, hanging around.

    School starts tomorrow; good luck with your writing, everyone.

  • Cat (from HtTS) Aug 31, 2009 @ 5:51

    605 words on the WIP and 1742 on my translation. This time I didn’t get a headache. I’m looking forward to the next scene where a Wise Woman wants the Phoenix as a payment for her predictions. Amadi definitely needs those predictions but she will not part with the bird that has become her friend.

  • Minze Aug 31, 2009 @ 5:44

    1061 words. Something frustrating happened today IRL, and I felt blocked at first, but then tried giving a similar kind of problem to my main character, making it a complication to the scene I was writing – and boy did that work. It got the scene going and made it come alive. Also, I’m feeling ever so much better now. I wrote for so long that I haven’t got much time to cook lunch now, but it was one hundred percent worth it.

  • Leah Aug 31, 2009 @ 4:27

    775 today and a huge personal memory of my hero’s, as well as the relationship between hero and heroine growing deeper and stronger and more sensual.

  • Julian Adorney Aug 31, 2009 @ 3:12

    780 Words.
    I started Chapter 6, and it went pretty well. I thought I felt some problems with the tension and murderous atmosphere while I was writing, I guess I’ll know tomorrow when I finish.
    So far it’s great fun. I want to keep writing (I’ve got a fun fight scene where my MC butchers a secondary villain coming up) but unfortunately I’ve got an 8am class tomorrow (today). And however energized I feel right now, I know I’ll collapse tomorrow if I don’t get some sleep.

  • The Pencil Neck Aug 31, 2009 @ 2:13

    1338 words.

    The Thief, in owl form, was able to get to his Mentor and after a couple of missteps, was able to communicate with her by dipping his talon in her mascara and writing on her dressing table mirror. She was able to talk him through turning himself back to his normal form. Back in his normal form, he’s starving. All these abilities require sustenance and that sustenance is life but she doesn’t want him hunting on his own and otoh, she’s also trying to pack up and leave town before the mage’s spell comes for her.

    She finally gives in to his whining but it’s really more about not wanting to help the peasants load the carriage because she’s above that and he doesn’t realize it. This is going to cause a blow up a little later.

    Unfortunately, I forgot to add the tension into the scene from him thinking about the Empress’ request for his Mentor’s head. I’ve got to go back and add that in.

  • Ieva Aug 31, 2009 @ 1:45

    I doodled some character bits for my next piece, nothing on WIP. Since my weekly goal was met, it’s great 🙂

  • Treelight Aug 31, 2009 @ 1:40

    I started the rewrite on the next chapter in line. It starts now with a little close-up on Jheyrien (my male MC), until that was interupted by a sort of mental distress signal from Cathrine (my female MC).
    Then the POV switched back to her and the kidnapper, who just led her through a stone wall.

    Oh my, and I just realized I have to change some details, or else Jheyrien will find it too easy to follow them.

    Yes, the word count … I currently have about 800 words more in total than before, but I actually wrote more than 1000, I think.
    This rewriting makes counting really a bit difficult.

  • KQ Aug 31, 2009 @ 0:46

    Around 1800 for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Not great word count, but on the other hand, I couldn’t find anything wrong with it. Still plugging along.

  • Sarah Aug 31, 2009 @ 0:04

    277 words- it was supposed to be another day off. I’m in the midst of something of an info dump, but I think I’m handling it okay.

  • Sarah Collins Aug 30, 2009 @ 23:46

    Over halfway through the edit-IP. Yay! I’ve actually almost silenced my crit partner – she’s trying hard but not finding much to pick on. Yay! (Never mind that she put me through the wringer on the first pass, LOL). Anyway, I’m +30 on it after all of the changes.

    The WIP is up another 280 and still in ch 1. Nonfiction work kept me from doing more, but my excitement over this one just keeps building. I’ve had dreams about it almost every night – it’s like watching my plot play out in a movie. I know exactly what to write and getting it down is just a formality at this point. What a feeling!

    • Treelight Aug 31, 2009 @ 1:29

      I envy you, for I dreamed about my WIP tonight, too.
      I think that was the first time I ever did … and unfortunately I can’t really remember much about it. Which is a shame, because I believe it was something that I could use in the next scene of my male MC.

    • Steph Aug 31, 2009 @ 7:46

      Wow, that’s fantastic! And very exciting… Good for you!

    • Rabia Aug 31, 2009 @ 14:39

      Wow. That’s pretty cool. Me, I only dream of random things happening to people I barely know.

      • The Pencil Neck Aug 31, 2009 @ 14:46

        I don’t dream of anything that makes sense. Last night, I was on a trail out in a desert and I bedded down for the night. There was a stampede of warthogs that passed by my camp and then this one warthog comes out of nowhere and laid down on top of me. I pushed it off and it followed me around for days. Ugliest thing evar.

        I figure one of our cats probably laid down on top of me while I was sleeping. Or something.

        • Debora Sep 1, 2009 @ 6:48

          Funny. Cats have a way of doing that!

  • Clare K. R. Miller Aug 30, 2009 @ 23:41

    I was tired today and thought I’d let myself break off at 250 words, use the time to do other stuff that I’ve been putting off, but apparently all that “not working” my brain was doing today was saving up for this writing, and I got 836 words down! The elf who’s accompanying them and says she’s going to help them healed the rest of Cricket’s (minor) injuries, but now it turns out that she might not be trustworthy after all. Also, Cricket keeps thinking about Jack, and wondering why she’s so worried…

  • PolarBear Aug 30, 2009 @ 23:02

    More plotting work on the cat romance (category, but I love the term and may actually put together a cat romance…). Something is off, and I think it’s that I don’t know who is doing the “bad things,” and I’m at the point where somebody has to start figuring out who that is. If I don’t know, I don’t think I can lay it out and resolve it. So I’ll spend a little time mulling that over. It’s a critical layer that’s missing.

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