I had to ask myself, “What happens when my hero hides a terrible truth? And how could she tell a lie about this, and still remain heroic? Why would she lie? What is she hiding?”
Tonight I started in on adding to the section I finished last week. She’s getting deeper on me…my objective is to continue to keep her someone people can relate to. And she has to remain heroic—I loathe antihero protagonists, and have no wish to turn her into one. (Antiheros are not lovable rogues, incidentally. They’re protagonists who commit villainy, while their authors make excuses for them. Stephen R. Donaldson’s despicable Thomas Covenant was a true antihero.)
So…I got 440 words, and could have kept going, but I hit a decent break point and quit for the night.
I know where I’ll pick up tomorrow, and why. I’ve found the core of her darkness, and how it’s shaped her into the woman she is. And I’m growing to understand how she will come to make the choices she does later in the book. I’m pleased with what I got tonight.
Boy, it’s a challenge, keeping them heroic. I’m working on the same thing right now, a hero with a secret–and the main thing that pushed my buttons was when my hero wasn’t acting the way she should, especially since she’s young. I have very high standards for her, dang it! But the writing has improved dramatically since I won’t let her take the easy road and ‘bend the rules.’
I guess misery loves company, since it it helps to know a professional writer like yourself is working on the same topics and issues. Thanks for sharing!
You loathe antiheroes?
One of main characters I am wrestling with something that popped up about her past.
She was once a mercenary soldier and was instrumental in bringing a peace between 3 warring factions.
Fast forward several decades later and one of my antagonists has a recording of an atrocity that accured during her tour of duty that allegedly she took part in.
As of yet I don’t know if it’s a fabrication very professionally done, or if the incident actually happen.
If it is a convincing fabrication, my task is… conscience free.
But if she had taken part in this… I don’t know. It’
d have to be a very compelling reason given the person she is.
That’s not to say she hasn’t done things she’s not proud of, but given her horrible history she is still at the core a fair person that you can relate to and sympathize with.
But this thing she’s supposed to have done goes against everything that made her eho she is.
And if she did do this thing, what will the people closest to her think of her?
I’m not trying to do a cop-out but at this point I don’t know what actually happened (in regards to whether she did or not).
Oh yeah… not sure how many words I wrote, I just know it was a bunch. lol
Kinda got lost in the storytelling…
After three days of not writing during vacation preparations and vacation (how is it that going on vacation is much more frustrating and difficult than staying home?) I finally got some writing yesterday, about 530 words, I think. The elf has once again shown a previously-unsuspected and creepy power, and they’re realizing what’s strange about the enemies’ guns.
Got words last week, gobs of ’em.
Before I left, I wrote a sentence or two in my notebook for each of the six scenes I planned to write, along with a short letter of encouragement to myself- cuz’ I miss WABWM cheering section!
That got me 3332 words on the trip out; the pen just kept moving until it went dry. Note to self: Carry a pencil, in case the ink runs out.
Then 627 words on Thursday while riding out the effects of a potent margarita. It should be interesting to see how that turned out. (I’m a such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol…)
764 on Friday, followed by a dream about another scene that I “forgot” to write near the middle of the story.
493 starting that scene Saturday, which continued in fits and starts for 2154 words on the trip home Sunday, realizing that I don’t know if my MC is right handed or left handed. And that its important to know this. But since I never knew this about any of the characters in the books I read, I don’t know if its weird. However, hands/wings and symmetry are important stuff to me. That seems to be the drawback when writing with “the door closed.” I have NO idea if any of this works!
The line that divides lucidity from lunacy is hard to define in isolation.
Oh, yeah, and I had a great trip:)
Wow. Awesome on the words. And cheers on the great trip. I could use one of those.
No words today, and none yesterday, due to moving house. Ugh, unpacking. I could probably get some tonight but I’m bone tired and I’d like to wake up early tomorrow.
I hope to start again tomorrow, now that all my unpacking is done and I vaguely know my way around.
384 today. Monday. Just getting started back on this. I like the lack of pressure. I didn’t have to carve out a whole chunk of time to do this. I am waiting for the exterminator to come for his service call. Normally, I would not start a writing session while doing that. But I knew I could do 250 at least while waiting. Stilll having trouble with my flashback. I feel like I am putting too much information in — like I need to slow down some, make it more natural sounding.
Wow, Holly, that really helped me with my WIP! My heroine has a dark secret too … it would work so much better for only the reader to know what it is, and for the protagonist to lie about it to everyone else.
Glad to help. 🙂
First day trying this out. I’m working on a short story first, that I started last year and just plain want to get done. After I finish it I’ll start on an actual novel. I did 476 words today. Woot.
Wish you all the best. It’s great to see you here.
For the entire day, I’ve written a total of 2333 words spanning between three chapters. I’ll probably write more tonight, it really depends on how the rest of my evening goes.
What surprises me the most is that i’ve been focusing on just one of my stories, which is very uncommon for me. usually by this point i get some random idea that i can’t fit into the story at all. What i’ve been doing instead of starting a new project is i have a notebook dedicated to all my random ideas, and i’ve been writing them down there to save for a later date. If that’s what’s been helping me, then i’m glad i’ve been doing it.
Let’s just hope i can keep going with my current project.
I do have one question though…this is a first draft (naturally) is there somewhere i can send the finished product for proof reading and suggestions?
Lots of progress for folks here. Great job!
I spent the day finishing up the maps for Guol. It was time as I have to begin planning for battle and then for moving around the country. I would have rather been writing actual words, but I needed the maps. Tomorrow I can write scenes, I think. Yay!
Did you hand draw these maps? or is there some program that helps you make maps?
I’ve created my own world and would love to make a visual copy of all the continents and such, but drawing world maps and such has never been a strong point of mine (drawing characters i have no problem with).
Not who you asked about this but… I’ve got a little Map Making trick of my own.
I love to play computer games. And there’s one computer game called Civilization*. And one of the cool things about Civilization is that you can set it up so that it will randomly generate a world based on one of several different algorithms. It places different resources around the world. And it also randomly places different civilizations on the world.
So, I’ll play a game of Civ and if I like the map, I’ll save it down so that I can use it later as a basis for a world for a novel. So, my cities grow naturally around where resources are or where they’re needed for strategic purposes. I can introduce different types of trade as part of each city’s culture based on the resources around it.
* There are lots of versions of Civilization. I’m currently using Civ 4: Beyond The Sword.
Oh, and you can put it into a Builder mode to manually create your own maps.
Wow. I heard some good things about Civ, but never really thought it could be that useful. Something like that would really help me develop my planet even better (i can only do so much on paper before i start hitting blocks). I might just have to look into that.
Oh my freaking GOD!! lol
You mean to tell me I’ve been sitting on the perfect mapmaking tool all this time and didn’t even KNOW it!?
Man, don’t I feel crunchy right about now lol
And now that you mention it…
Suddenly my work on creating the star ans system charts for my SF novel became a LOT easier.
Space Empires V (and the previous versions as well) allows you to do the same thing.
Thanks for the boot to the head PN, needed that 🙂
For Star Charts, I wrote a 3d matrix random generator in php to randomly place star systems within a 3d cube. The hardest part was coming up with a way to display the data that wasn’t totally incomprehensible.
I melded that with the d20 Traveler rules for System/World Generation. If I need actual world maps, then I go to Civ.
It would be nice if I still had MOO (Master Of Orion) or something for those Star Maps. 🙂
I use d20, Gurps Space (as dated as that is, still a good source) and GURPS Ultra tech like cliff notes when contructing world and society details. GURPS has a pretty solid formula for calculating bio zones based on the stars mass and magnetude.
I’ve heard there are programs for creating maps but I’ve never used one. I’ve been an artist all my life, long before I started writing, so I just draw either on paper or in Paint Shop Pro, which is my personal preferred computer art program.
The tricks I use for drawing maps is … well … stealing. No, not really theft, but I look at the Earth and see what sorts of terrain I’d like to have where. I look at the conditions that it takes to make that sort of terrain. And then I do my best to mash them all together into one coherent continent (or country or world, whatever). Like for Guol it’s mostly tropical, but I combined features similar to the American Southwest with aspects of the Andes in South America and also the ‘broken into islands’ nature of Mylasia to the east of the country.
When drawing coastlines, I try to ‘tremble’ my hand so the lines are random and I try to avoid having continents go all the way to the edge of the page to avoid unnatural squaring off. I roughly decide the mountain ranges next, and then pull the river systems down from them to some coast remembering that rivers feed into one another on their way to the sea rather than splitting in places.
Those few simply tricks make a pretty realistic looking world. Hope this helps.
Yeah it does.
i managed to find a freeware program that i’m going to fool around with, but i’m going to also try drawing some stuff too. I’ve been drawing since i was old enough to hold a pencil, but mostly i’ve just drawn characters and creatures of sorts. Figured i should start trying to broaden my horizons and work on getting into the habit of drawing scenery and maps and such…especially since i’m making my own world.
Never thought creating your own world would be so fun. And it helps me when writing because i know where everything is, and how it’s supposed to be. I’ve tried writing on earth, but it just never works out for me and i get bored of the piece.
June that aint stealin’. I do the exact same them in constructing my world details.
It’s called… extrapolation, yeah, that’s it. 🙂
I also do this. I look at various maps of the world, then put away the maps and start drawing. I just draw a random shape, at first very light and completely unrealistic (the coasts are usually too smooth at first and this first step is usually just to get the basic shape down). After that, I erase the lines I drew and then go over them, darker, squiggling the lines to make the coast. I think this part is the most fun, because all sorts of little bays, peninsulas, islands, and fun stuff comes up.
After that I just draw random triangles for mountains, draw rivers from those mountains, and based on weather patterns I know will be in certain places (thanks to looking at the real maps earlier and studying geography) I draw trees. Actually, I don’t usually bother actually drawing trees, because after drawing the map’s coastline and the rivers and mountains, I usually scan in the sketch onto my computer. Then I just have fun on photoshop with the colors. Tan for desert, dark green for forest, light green for prairie, etc….
After that comes random dots for cities, usually along the coast near a peninsula or a small bay. River mouths that lead to the ocean are also good places. When it comes to cities far from the coast, I just draw random dots and figure out what kinds of resources they would have in those places afterwards. 🙂
Sorry, I get excited when it comes to maps…I’ll stop now. Have fun!
You gonna find this crazy, but before I lost a lot of my material, I would create templates in plain text files, kinda like drawing with the QWERTY, then I’d go in with color pencils and fill in the skeleton map.
1034, which is about half of what I planned to get. But the day got away from me and I’m working through the fogginess of a head cold.
I’m back after vacation, the flu, and just plain old procrastinating. I was hesitating to write this next scene, because it’s the final climax of the book, and although I knew what was going to happen, there was a lot of stuff that I didn’t know exactly HOW it was going to happen, so I was kind of letting it stew in my subconscious. Anyway, today I forced myself to sit down and write, and…holy crap. A completely unexpected scene inserted itself, in which one of my characters made a totally unexpected revelation. That was…wow. I would actually really like to beat my characters up for this–the stuff they’ve been doing behind my back when I wasn’t looking, oh my gosh!–if only I could get my hands on them.
So I stopped at 872 words, because I need to let that scene sit for a bit and decide whether I’m going to keep it or not. I think I will, even though it completely changes a lot of things and will require a lot of back changes in the revision. But it’s a good twist, and it adds lots of pressure on the MC for the final climax. So…yeah. It’s so unexpected, though–not at all the kind of thing I would have thought my characters capable of!–but, well, I think I like it.
Dang, I love it when they surprise me like that!
Me, too. 😀 Cheers.
Eh…a little over 500 words in a new short story. Nothing on my WIP. We are moving in exactly five days, and my husband starts school in nine days, so things are a little crazy.
I got all the current scenes in Doppelgangers re-ordered, and my next work is to go through them and smooth out the bumps that are always there after surgery of this kind, most especially the emotional arcs and positions of the major characters, as well as the clues to the identity of the call girl’s killer.
Patchwork quilts R us!
315 this morning.
(I love your last newsletter entry, Holly, when you said that this pace is no-pressure. I can relate. I used to be on this punishing pace last year, and then since the summer, I decided I would write but still have a life. I’m happier; my family seems happier.)
I think my protagonist is somewhat of an antihero, too. She lies and plots to protect her loved ones.
Just ten minutes ago i managed to write 748 words to the next chapter in the story i am working on. This is impressive for me, and i am getting the feeling that i’m just getting warmed up.
I hadn’t been able to write anything yesterday, only because i had hit a momentary rut in what i wanted to do next. I am starting to get worried that i’m taking too long getting to the main parts of my story, but i figured i’d just go with the flow and see where it takes me first before i start worrying too too much. I’ve also found that with this story, my chapters tend to stay four pages in lengths…sometimes going to five pages, six if i’m lucky. I’m not worried about the chapter lengths however because i know that chapters can be any length you want it to be. I’m more concerned with getting my point across without revealing too much information.
607 words. After a little verbal sparing, my MC and her instructor are realizing they are on the same side and need to work together. I have an extra kid at the house for the week, so my writing space is a little noisier. We also have relatives coming for the big football weekend. Thank goodness I have my monthly word count met because I am not sure how much writing I will be getting later this week.
I’m back. No words – between the dawn to dusk moving of the parents Thur & Fri, and babysitting the twins all weekend – got home late and just crashed. I’m still exhausted but I think things should be back to a somewhat regular routine now. My fingers are itching to pick up where I left off.
279 on the novella at the end of the day yesterday. Not a lot but something.
My first day joining the bandwagon (yesterday, that is – this looks to be posted late enough in the day that I’ll get them the day following).
I’m going back and re-structuring the beginning of my first book to solve some pacing problems revealed by the end, so yesterday’s writing gave my third sister protagonist a little face time, introduced the fact that she’s got a pet mouse (part of a story arc), continued to hammer home the “something strange and magical about this house”, and ended with an eerie note (a red herring that perhaps the house might be haunted).
My alpha reader (my loving husband) tells me the eerie note at the end gives a bit of a heartless feel to one of the characters, so I’ll be going back and tweaking that before posting it.
Not sure if anyone follows the comments on a per-commenter basis, but I am working on multiple projects, so I’ll include the project title just so someone doesn’t try and mesh all the projects into a single storyline and get a headache. This one’s from The Blue Moon Bed & Breakfast.
I forgot to take an exact count, but it was around 800 words.
Your comment on antiheroes is one that I find interesting, Holly. I don’t want to call you out in public and ask which antiheroes you disapprove of, but disliking an entire class of hero is an interesting stance to take. I do feel they’re incredibly difficult to write properly. I wish I could remember the link to the blog post I’d read mocking the romance antihero – he’s all big and bad and leather-clad, but deep inside he really loves puppies and long walks on the beach and is looking to settle down with just the right woman.
In movies, I tend to gravitate toward the antihero, even though I know that he’s being shined up real nice by the writers and filmmakers. Take Riddick, for example. Cold-hearted killer, sure, but I can’t help but love to watch those movies.
I’m willing to discuss it. My definition of antihero is pretty narrow: it is, the protagonist of a story who is amoral, and who commits evil as a matter of course. (And usually whose author makes excuses for him, or attempts to define all humanity as existing on his level.)
I don’t read books with antiheroes. I have no use for writing that attempts to convince me that I should follow a character I detest because he’s “interesting.” I don’t find such characters interesting. They just piss me off.
(Along with Thomas Covenant, add in Patrick Bateman of American Psycho as a second antihero–these are two protagonists in two books I considered not worthy of my time.
Riddick didn’t fit my definition of an antihero. He wasn’t quite a loveable rogue, but he didn’t kill lightly…and I don’t remember him killing anyone who wasn’t vile.
But then, Dexter (of Showtime’s eponymous show) doesn’t make my cut as an antihero, either. I’d lump him in with Riddick as a dark hero.
Aha, I like your definition of “Antihero”. The kicker on that seems to be the character’s motivation for doing the evil, and the fact that it’s really just the writer apologizing or justifying those actions without the character themselves being emotionally involved in the decision.
Granted, that still leaves my beloved Riddick in the pot (Oh, sure, he only kills you if you get in his way. Something tells me that’s still not quite “good”…)
Simplified, I read for pleasure (I get more out of reading than just that, but that’s good enough for the Reader’s Digest version). If someone creates a character that continually does things which piss me off or make me uncomfortable, or make me want to slap them, I expect a pretty big payoff for putting up with them. And most times, I won’t put up with them. The “everyone is like this” excuse infuriates me because it implies that there’s no reason to strive to be better (even assuming it’s true).
Actions should have consequences, I feel. A true antihero hero sets up a world in which I wouldn’t expect to find justice, and thus a world I doubt very much I’d enjoy spending time in.
1500+ words yesterday, which was surprising, since i planned to stop at 1k. But then I had an idea for a scene that was coming up, and decided to at least start it. I also wrote 500 or so the day before, but didn’t post because I was up all night with a sick child and couldn’t think.
My story is starting to deviate a little from what I had planned, but in a good way. Things are going to be a little more difficult for them now, since they have lost all their supplies and weapons. And I finally realized I had given them this wonderful tool, and yet I haven’t utilized it at all. So in the new scene I started it actually makes a difference in the story.
Another good day with 1185 words today. My heroine has finally found her lost love who was stolen away by the weaver lords at the beginning of the story. She thought she could never stop loving him and her desire to be reunited with him has driven a lot of her actions through the book. Yet now she finds they are on opposite sides of the conflict between humanity and the hated weaver lords and nothing is so black and white any more.
That sound sad, but like a very nice twist!
I wrote exactly 750 words on my WIP and my MC and her sister are discussing True Love (TM) with the Phoenix. I also did 1657 words on my translation. I now have done 70%.
323 words today. It’s good to be writing again. My plot is all over the place, and I’m finding it hard to decide what’s wrong and how to fix it. Perhaps I’ll do a mindmap and see what comes up.
It always helped me to visualize the plot or character-connections in some sort of mindmap.
I should have gotten more today. But I had a late conference call in my normal work time (11 to Midnight) that hit me out of the blue.
The Thief was raggedly flying across the square in front of the Empress’ Temple to return the Tear to her and a burst of flame sent him tumbling out of the sky. He turned back into human form. The Mage landed and is trying to catch his breath. The Mage is telling the Thief that the ritual that he (the thief) is disrupting will cure him. It’s just a spell to exorcise the demon in his blood that’s making him a vampire and that he (the thief) should stop all this fighting and help.
It seems that having a surprise-guest is no excuse for writing only few words. While he was here I actually created more than when I was alone again on sunday. And no, he is not my muse 😉
However, I did not want to give up, although my concentration really wanted to go everywhere else. So I got at last 280 new words and I hope the next ones, when Larasse finally begins to free Cathrine, will flow easier.
By the way, has anyone some advice on how to improve my concentration? It’s not really a writer’s block problem, for I have ideas and know where I want to go and even a good deal of how I will get there. I’m not sure if it’s a motivation problem, for I really want to write that story and these scenes and now.
I find myself in the same situation sometimes. I’m sitting at my computer, ready to write, and I’m playing Spider solitare instead… or screwing around on the internet. So I make myself a little deal, I write 100 words, I can play a game, or part of a game, then do another 100 and so on. It helped me out last week get past whatever it was that was bothering me.
Good luck =-)
That sounds good. I actually used a similar method some time ago. I would only allow me to play if I already had reached my daily word-count.
It really might be time to go back to that.
I’ve got a few things I do to try and mitigate this, but most of the successful ones took money.
* Define your work space. If the only place I sit down and write is the same place I sit down and check email or draw or papercraft or play video games, it’s too hard for me to shift my mental gears into “Okay, work time.” My entire environment at my home desk is one of fun rather than work and motivation. Ideally, I want to have a small desk in a private alcove or closet (I have successfully worked in closets in the past) where I do nothing but write. I can’t accomplish this in my current apartment because of space issues, but I still end up moving to the bedroom to write, just to get my mind away from my play space.
* Have a ‘writing’ computer or laptop. Expensive. Even the little dell laptops are $300, and MY writing machine is a mac laptop (which I adore utterly, and recommend Scrivener for writing). Huge purchase, but one I don’t regret in the tiniest. I take the laptop with me and write at the library or local coffee shop, and it makes my first point of advice much easier. My laptop doesn’t even have games installed on it.
* Khena’s advice is great – use the internet as a reward for finishing. You can also use other things as rewards. When I did NaNoWriMo last year, I rewarded myself with ten dollars for every 10,000 words I wrote. I’d intended to indulge in some of my favorite perfumes (Possets) when it was over, but I actually won, so I pooled my money and bought a nice laptop bag instead.
* Music. Create a playlist of music to write to, and put some headphones or earbuds on. This will cut out external distraction (let’s face it, we create enough internal distraction on our own!) and might help you keep on task.
Ideally, I’d like to be able to write anywhere under any circumstances, but I’m just not there yet. I need a little help, and these tricks worked for me. I once tried to create a writing ceremony – light candles, wear a particular armband, that kind of thing – but that was too much and I bordered on not being able to write without them.
Hope that helps (egads, my comments are gargantuan today, my apologies!)
Wow, that was a lot and quite good advice!
It just seems rather hard for me to follow it *sigh*
I would have enough space in my house to define a working-space for my writing. That is if I would manage to clear all distractions away from there.
I actually do have a laptop and a PC, and I used to have a Psion, but that one is being repaired at the moment (I hope). However, aside from the Psion, every device has the evil distractions internet and instant-messenger.
This might be something I could improve. The messenger will be switched off when I write and I’ll try to get along with my offline-dictionary. I need one, since I’m german and write in english and subsequently I’m not always sure of the right words.
Ah yes, and money as a reward. That worked well when I was at school, but not since I earn enough of my own.
And I’m actually already using music as a focus-aid. It has to be instrumental and nice, or at last only with words that I don’t understand and thus don’t get distracted by.
Unfortunatelly I sometimes tend to stop writing nevertheless and just listen to the nice music! : /
Yes, it would be wonderful to be able to write anywhere, anywhen and in anywho’s company.
I don’t seem to have that problem. It’s probably because I’m constantly kicking around aspects of the novel in my head. What the characters are doing, what’s going to happen, what *might* happen, etc.
Then when something strong hits I usually drop whatever it is I’m doing and start writing…
Set a timer for ten minutes. Whenever I find myself avoiding work, I do that. And miraculously, I find myself focused again.
I spent my Sunday plotting for NaNoWriMo, putting down some words on the short story, reading, cuddling my family and figuring out the next big step in Vega. I realized that I was running into a danger of solving all her problems and letting her run somewhat free on the last few chapters… oh no! Condition red!!! I was going to be nice to my protagonist!!!
Then I came to my senses and figured out the worst possible outcome for her as a reward for her doing the next best thing she could, and now I’m feeling pretty proud of myself.
1,178 words! That’s more in one day than on any other day all year so far. More in one day than in some of the months in fact, so I’m understandably thrilled.
Taskh has imparted his message on the rebels’ movements, and returned to the rebel camp to keep up his cover. Bernvalt is none the wiser about Taskh’s sneaking off in the night, and everyone else in the camp seems to be buying his act.
This is my fourth day participating in WABWM. 573 words. Not only did I finally reach my goal of writing at least 500 words in one night, but I have made it to chapter 2!
I have gotten to the point in my project where things will get progressively worse for my protagonist. I almost feel bad for her.
Holly, I love the depth you are giving this character! Keep it up, sounds like you are getting a lot of great stuff!
Cheers on the words, and on Chapter Two-ness. 😀
I always feel bad for my protagonists. Doesn’t keep me from doing what I have to do, but I suffer while I do it.
Hadn’t posted all weekend. I only wrote on Friday but I wrote more than I ever had in one sitting. I loved it. 🙂
1202 words. Can’t wait to get back on it tomorrow.
151 words for me today on the WIP with several pages of nonfiction finished.
Sounds like you are feeling much better. 🙂
i took today off, as i’m preparing to tear back into chapter 10 and then make a big push to get as much written as possible until Oct 4th, when we head to arizona for my sister’s wedding.
Hope everyone had a good writing day!
After two weeks of crud, I’m finally back to being myself again. It’s a pleasant change. Thanks.