Killed a man tonight… but in the future.

DTD. 451 words.

And tonight I wrote this delicate, innocuous little section of a scene in which one character casually mentions to the other character the action she took that will, a few miles down the road, lead to his horrifying murder.

I LOVE the way it turned out. Everything the reader will need to look back at that moment and go, “Oh, shit… that’s what got him killed,” is there.

But nothing is there that will tip the reader to it at that point.

I’m so happy.

How’s your story coming?

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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.

49 comments… add one
  • Roisin Sep 17, 2009 @ 15:37

    621 words yesterday, *finally*. I’m moving countries on Sunday, so there’s packing and organising when I’m picking up my keys and registering with dentists and sorting out my bank account and…yes. So. There hasn’t been much writing the past few days.

    When I open the main WIP, my muse is frowning at me and telling me there’s something *really big* that I’m missing, and I don’t have time to sit down and ask her properly to fill me in. Tonight I’m working on the Busman’s holiday WIP, which is going much more smoothly because I can feel the next 3-5,000 words already written in my head, if that makes any sense – I think because I ignored this idea for years before I let myself write it. So it’s been simmering for a looong time.

    Back to work! I wonder if anyone gets this enthused about their conventional day job…

  • Mark Sep 16, 2009 @ 20:12

    OK, so I just started this thing. Last night I was suppose to do 250-500 words. In the end I don’t know how much I wrote, but when I stopped it was the early hours of the morning and now I’m dead at work.

    So, I have to figure out a way to control myself during the week. Tonight I’m going to my first Writer’s Group. I’m looking forward to it.

    • Holly Lisle Sep 16, 2009 @ 23:51

      Good luck on the writers’ group, and cheers on the words.

      I have a trick for getting myself through them without being dead at the end of the session. I set a timer and write for ten minutes, as quickly as I can and without permitting any revision, backtracking, or second-guessing. Most nights, I have my quota for the day done in 20-30 minutes.

      I recommend giving this a shot. You’ll be surprised how much you like your writing when you don’t allow yourself to second-guess every word as it hits the page. And you won’t be so exhausted the next day.

  • SCBrazil Sep 16, 2009 @ 19:36

    331 today.
    The 10 year old heroine is just deciding whether to go and save the hero or follow good sense and turn and bolt.

  • Treelight Sep 16, 2009 @ 15:45

    With 514 new words I moved slightly forward in the scenes I had sketched out.
    I’m not sure if the current conversation between Cathrine and Gesem is funny, ridiculous or just too confusing.
    It’s really about time that there is some action again.

  • Rabia Sep 16, 2009 @ 15:10

    I wrote like my hair was on fire last night and got 1197 words. Whew. I’d left my MC standing in that middle of the feasting hall for four nights, being glared at by everyone and their pet pug, and just had to get her out.

    I think I found a solution to my procrastination problem. I opened a Novel Notebook document on the computer and spent a few minutes freewriting about the story; the cool plot twists RB’s been pinging me with, my worries about not knowing what’s going to happen a few scenes down the road, the things I want to accomplish with the scene I’m working on. That seems to loosen me up to actually get working on the story itself.

    • Beverly Sep 17, 2009 @ 12:20

      I don’t remember if I read it in a writing book or a drawing book. It talks about one inch view. Only describe/draw what you can see through the one inch square.
      I may have four or five note cards of plot. It doesn’t do me a bit of good until I go back and with another color pen or note card start writing about how does this matter to Justin? What is he thinking/feeling? How is he going to react to what is happening.
      Once I get there, the movie suddenly starts up in my head and all I have to do is get as much of it down as I can.
      I think it has to do with making it managable. There is too much all over the place and any method for finding that starting thread helps. Just my .02 πŸ™‚

  • Beverly Sep 16, 2009 @ 14:29

    4,600 words. I had the house to myself for several hours. Even the cats left me alone. A couple of things popped together in a “OH! I didn’t realize I had that set up.” kind of way. Some of it is pretty good. Some of it is utter dreck. I’m just happy to be writing again after a lapse of several years.
    Did the Motivation Course…thanks again. I don’t know why but it worked better than the Writer’s Block course for me.
    I went back to what seems to work better for me. NaNoWriMo style of just get it down and fix it later. I try to plan too far ahead…I stall out. I have no idea where this thing is going to end up or how long it’s going to be. I really don’t care. For the first time in a very, very long time I’m writing and I’m enjoying it.

    • Rabia Sep 16, 2009 @ 19:43

      Great wordcount!

      I’m just coming out of a dry period, writingwise, and it’s such a relief to get the fun back. I’m also producing words more regularly.

  • Patricia Sep 16, 2009 @ 13:53

    I’m glad to see you so excited Holly, and hopefully back to full health. πŸ™‚ I don’t have too many words on this end, but I do have the sketch of my main character done in case anyone is still interested. It’s not very good, but considering it’s the first human face I have ever drawn, it’s not too bad.

    The scan completely ruined the detail, so I tried to save it by making it look like Ryan himself had drawn it with pen and ink (like he usually does, only he’s never drawn himself). I slapped a bit of color on it, and I’m not happy with his hair, but oh well…an artist (or writer for that matter) is one’s own worst critic.

    I hope you don’t mind Holly, but here is the link…

    http://ja-kitsu-ryou.deviantart.com/art/Ryan-Ford-136459998

    • Treelight Sep 16, 2009 @ 15:39

      The picture looks great! And I liked the interview πŸ™‚

    • Sarah Collins Sep 16, 2009 @ 15:57

      I’m certainly impressed! Bravo!

    • Rabia Sep 16, 2009 @ 19:46

      Oh, neat.

      I like the interview. What’s going on between him and his wife? *intrigued*

      • Patricia Sep 16, 2009 @ 21:09

        You’ll have to read the book for that! *evil grin* Besides, I wouldn’t want to give away any spoilers. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments. It really means a lot. πŸ™‚

        • Rabia Sep 17, 2009 @ 16:02

          I was afraid you’d say that! *grin*

    • Holly Lisle Sep 16, 2009 @ 23:48

      Nice work all the way around.

      And everyone has mismatched features. I liked his face.

  • Sarah Collins Sep 16, 2009 @ 13:27

    *Waves* I’m still around. My internet has been out, but should be back on tonight. I’ve got words, but not a ton. Busy weekend around here and two busy nights ahead. ARGH!

  • Julian Adorney Sep 16, 2009 @ 12:23

    Edited a short story last night. First draft was 11,000 words, I pared the second down to 10,000. It’s tighter and more complex, and I fixed two of the background characters, made them less archetypal.
    I’m pretty happy with it.

  • Sarah Sep 16, 2009 @ 11:54

    A little over 800 words yesterday. Would have been more, but I hopped on the wrong bus and rode it to the end of the line before realizing it wasn’t the bus I wanted.

  • Kait Nolan Sep 16, 2009 @ 9:44

    261 really lousy words last night. I’m not feeling these last two scenes at all. Not sure how they are going to go, and I’m really struggling to get a framework written for them.

    • Holly Lisle Sep 16, 2009 @ 23:45

      Yuck. I know that feeling. What helps me is to look at the scene I hate and ask this simple question—“What’s going on underneath the obvious action here that I missed…and why?”

      Good luck.

  • Lisa R Sep 16, 2009 @ 9:13

    426 words and my chapter is ended. A couple of days I was wondering how the chapter would end. I had no clue. Well, tonight the bear disappeared ending the chapter. I think it turned out very cool and hopefully will make the reader want to just jump into the next chapter.

    Of course, now I have to figure out how to start the next chapter. I think I will fling it a bit ahead to the trial. This will be a political setting that needs to finally set the mood of the country and finally help the MC realize more of what she it up against. Well, this is what I am planning until my muse jumps in an twists it all about:-)

  • Jessica Sep 16, 2009 @ 8:41

    388 bring the fiance’s ashes back into forefront although the scene was broken into a couple of pieces with a chunk missing in the middle – it’s going to be a flashback but I haven’t fully decided which memory to evoke so I’m saving it for later. It went well.

    I’m going to try to get a good # tonight but I probably won’t be back until Sunday. Tomorrow and Friday from dawn to dusk I’m helping my parents move, Sat I’m watching the twins and have dinner w/ older sister, then go back to twins and stay most of Sunday too. So I won’t get back to my laptop until Sunday night. Good thing I have plenty of pages left in the notebook! πŸ™‚

    Happy writing to everyone!

  • HannaBelle Sep 16, 2009 @ 8:24

    That sounds interesting, a future death, done.

    No words yesterday. I wanted to write but got sidetracked by trying to learn something in Flash that is driving me crazy. Because it has been so frustrating, it now takes me a few days/hours to ramp up to try again. I get tired working on it.

    More work today on the dual nature of MC’s best friend and possible protagonist.

    • Cat (from HtTS) Sep 16, 2009 @ 13:54

      Yes, flash can be sooooo annoying!

      • HannaBelle Sep 16, 2009 @ 16:55

        Thanks for commiserating. The learning curve is very steep for FLash. I found an old, but very helpful, set of specific instructions that work great. They are the “click on this, click on this, this will happen if you do it wrong” kind of steps. Thank goodness I found it on an old website, several links were broken but the main text was intact. When I get the swf file posted on a website I built for someone, I will post the URL here.

  • Khena Sep 16, 2009 @ 8:10

    Forged ahead with 400 or so words yesterday. Gave up on the computer, I just can’t seem to write with it lately. My MCs were about to leave when they realized they didn’t have the stone. THe King’s pet sorcerer who was leading them through the secret tunnels was too amused and made Nathalan suspicious. Today I’ll find out if he has them both, or if the sorcerer who poisoned them managed to get his hands on one of them.

  • Debora Sep 16, 2009 @ 7:52

    No words yesterday. I stayed home and power-washed the drive, while my husband accompanied my daughter to the hospital for an MRI. Won’t have the results until next week. She may have MS.

    In the meantime, I am in a weird state of limbo. Trying not to worry too much, trying not to think. It’s hard to get any writing done when you are trying so hard not to think!

    About writing, I usually do better about getting words when I don’t have a whole morning opening up ahead of me. When I know I have to go out at a particular time. So my day job actually helps me to be more disciplined. I’m also having a hard time wrapping up a series of scenes I’ve been working on for weeks now. Guess I’m reluctant to leave them behind, and maybe not altogether sure about where I want to go next.

    Have about an hour blocked out before I have to leave today. Am determined to write!

    • Holly Lisle Sep 16, 2009 @ 23:43

      There have been a few times in my life when I could not write. When there were things going on with my kids that I could not control…those were the times.

      You and your daughter are in my thoughts. I hope so much that your news is good.

      • Debora Sep 17, 2009 @ 7:41

        Thank you, Holly.

  • Jason Sep 16, 2009 @ 7:04

    1044 words. Didn’t even intend to write last night. My mind was fried from practicing Bach for an hour, non-stop. I need to forge ahead so it will be ready for my lesson in 9 days, and I’ve only learned a total of four bars in the fugue hands together, and four bars of the prelude hands separate. But it’s a gorgeous piece, the Prelude and Fugue in a minor from Book II of the Well-Tempered Clavier, if anyone’s into listening.

    Anyways, for some reason I can’t quite understand my roommate’s girlfriend came over about ten o’clock last night and stayed for a whole hour. I’m not the type of person to undress for bed in front of someone else’s guest (or even my own), so I really had nothing else to do but write. Learned a few things, one being that the villain has been bribing the Council, which helps many of his causes go through. Unfortunately, such an action is not necessarily illegal, so my hero will have to forge on knowing his enemy has the upper hand.

  • Ieva Sep 16, 2009 @ 6:48

    1000+ on Monday, 800+ on Tuesday. I was just a bit too exhausted to write a comment too πŸ˜›

    Everything is coming around rather nicely and the three scary ghost-possessed folks that showed up in the previous chapter still haunt me. Also, finally my protagonist has admitted to herself she’s fallen in love. And now she believes her master tried to kill the man she loves. Now all I need to figure is how far does she take her revenge until she realizes she’s wrong.

    • Treelight Sep 16, 2009 @ 15:33

      Oh, I love misunderstandings πŸ™‚
      Well, at last in stories that don’t involve me.

  • Cat (from HtTS) Sep 16, 2009 @ 6:41

    624 on my WIP and its running smoothly again. I figured out why my MCs sister suddenly shows up in the middle of nowhere when she’s supposed to be with the sorcerer (villain). Obviousely, he sent her there to find the MC (he had lost sight of her). Next scene will be another attempt by him to kill MC.
    2343 in my translation and the fight for a united Germany begins (with the fiancΓ© of my MC right in the middle of it).
    I’m happy with what I did so far. Now, all I need to do is polish this little short story that a small (very, very small) publisher wanted from me…
    Does work ever end? πŸ˜‰

    • HannaBelle Sep 16, 2009 @ 13:26

      Cat,
      You have mentioned translating several times but I missed the post that described it. Are you writing then translating, or is the translating of an existing work? What languages are you working in?
      HannaBelle

      • Cat (from HtTS) Sep 16, 2009 @ 13:53

        I am German and I wrote a historical novel in German. Now, I am translating it for the US market because the relatives of my MC are more than eager to get their hands on it. It’s a stand-alone story set during the German Revolution of 1848. The prequel Ann Angel’s Freedom is available as an e-book through Holly’s shop, should you be interested. She liked it a lot (and so did many other readers) which encouraged my tor try the US again with my current historical novel.

        My WIP is solely for the German market since my agent is waiting for it (and already shopping the first half).

  • Minze Sep 16, 2009 @ 5:44

    No writing at all, but at least I’ve found some ways to get a bit more organized. I’m determined to get back to writing next week at the latest. Let’s see how that works out.

  • KQ Sep 16, 2009 @ 5:28

    Well, I’ve been sick and haven’t been writing much, so I haven’t been posting. Also…work! Why don’t they just pay me without me having to do things? πŸ˜‰ Anyway, I’ve managed about 500 words over the last week. Not good, but there you have it. I’m cheered by others’ progress!

  • Greg Sep 16, 2009 @ 4:05

    D&D: 522, and a love that isn’t approved of.
    OFL: 1031, and a mugging.
    RFW: 1071 and the illustrious leaders come to town. I think this scene may need work in revision, but it’s only the second of the story and I’m still ironing out some wrinkles…

  • Joyce Sep 16, 2009 @ 2:56

    I kept my promise to myself by writing before doing anything else today. 164 words isn’t much, but it was fun to write. NK, my antagonist, took control of a scene that I had failed to write a decent Sentence Lite for and is in the process of turning it into something very cool. I think I can see what she’s trying to do, but it really seems to be out of my hands at the moment. Which is by no means a bad thing.

  • The Pencil Neck Sep 16, 2009 @ 1:51

    429 words. (Revision)

    The next few days are going to be tough going. I had a strange little semi-audition thing and I think I might start playing guitar in a band again and I might take on a new student. How did that happen? I’ll be playing at some sort of fund raiser for a local theater group; I’ve got to rehearse for that. I’ve got work meetings early in the morning and late at night. And my wife’s best friend is getting married this weekend and somehow someone volunteered me to be the videographer (even though I have no video equipment whatsoever.) My wife is acting as the wedding planner.

    The scene tonight is one I skipped but I think it’s important to understand how the assassins know where to find the Mentor. I’ve only got the first half of the scene so far. I’ll try to finish it tomorrow night.

    A hooker comes up and talks to a man she knows in daylight on a busy street and he pulls her to an alley so no one he knows will see her talking to him. She asks him if he’s seen someone and holds up a drawing of The Mentor. He’s seen her talking to a certain man at a party a few nights ago. The hooker leaves happy.

  • Clare K. R. Miller Sep 16, 2009 @ 1:16

    That sounds so awesome πŸ˜€

    530 words for me tonight. Cricket acquires the needed tools and worries about Jack some more.

  • Yese Sep 16, 2009 @ 0:31

    215 words for me.

    I am in the plotting stage of my novel, codename F. I am struggling a bit. Probably because I am a beginner. Any tips on how you guys plot and subplot? I have about twenty-something candy bar scenes, but I know I need more. Thanks.

    • The Pencil Neck Sep 16, 2009 @ 1:44

      Someone could write a book on tips for that. Oh, wait. They have! πŸ™‚

      I have 2 general approaches/techniques:

      1. I start off with my big story idea. And then I break that down into a basic starting point and a basic ending point. Then I ask myself what the character has to do to get from point A to point Z, just in a high level broad brush stroke sort of way. That usually gets me 5-7 steps. Then I take each step and I break it down further into a beginning and an end and how to get there. I do that until I have a basic outline.

      2. I make a list of things that could go wrong and places where there could be conflict. I look at the back at my outline and I look at places where things could get complicated and I think of ways to complicate them.

      That’s my basic approach. A lot of the details in how I do that come from How To Think Sideways and various other sources (including most of Holly’s workshops and writing books.)

      • Yese Sep 16, 2009 @ 11:06

        Thanks for your advice! It’s inspiring just to read how you experienced writers write.

      • Treelight Sep 16, 2009 @ 15:28

        That sounds like a technique that might work for me, Pencil Neck.
        My brain likes to work in logic patterns and I hate when I find logic-gaps in a story. Your method seems much like a mathematical equation to me πŸ™‚

  • Adam Sep 15, 2009 @ 23:50

    Sounds like you are feeling better, and its nice when everything comes together the way you want it to.

    started out unable to write tonight. sat here for a half hour and finally just started. found a rhythm after a few sentences, and the start to the scene flowed. only was able to get halfway through it, but i’m pleased with what came out and it carries on the story well.

    1100 words that i’m happy with. πŸ™‚

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