The funny thing about humans

I’ve been working on Help Wanted on and off as I’ve had the energy. Last time I updated the WIP bar, I had 6013 words total in the story. I now have 7654, so that’s 1641 since I last posted. Not 500 a day by any means, but still something.

Today I got to figure out what is cool enough about humans that we’re sought out for … well, something that would be a spoiler if I explained it. So I won’t. But I like what I got. Chapter 3 is done. Three more to go.

How are you doing with your words?

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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.

13 comments… add one
  • Helenee Nov 29, 2010 @ 5:14

    Yeah, great, 117 (!) words last night and having been interrupted in the middle of a paragraph. But life has a way of getting into the course of things, doesn’t it? Inventing a few new characters to enrich the story and to create occasions for more “adventures” for my main character, as the whole thing seemed a bit poor. Or maybe it wasn’t — but I’m the sort of person who likes examining things from as many angles as possible.

  • Teri Nov 22, 2010 @ 16:23

    253 words today on a new, short scene from a POV I probably won’t use again. I’ll have to rethink that in the revision, but for now I’m following my outline. It makes things easier.

    The captain of the Royal Guard gets the news that the crowd which Zhaer has been watching have marched to the palace gates, to make their protest against the princess’s succession to the throne there. (The country has never had a queen before, and there’s a sizable faction that don’t want a queen now.)

  • Greg Nov 22, 2010 @ 14:14

    I am currently on scene 12 of 57 of my revision. It’s taking longer than I’d hoped – there’s ALWAYS a better way to write something! Should be done mid-jan, though, and I’ll give my readers the first chunk over xmas. Still intending it to be the first thing I’ve sent off once the revision is done, and am currently using spare time to draw together my ideas for the sequel.

    Happy with how it’s going – just wish it wouldn’t take so long! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Leah Nov 22, 2010 @ 13:25

    787 words today!

    I was only shooting for 250-500, but hey, I’m not complaining. I wrote a scene which I’ve been contemplating for a few days but kind of balked at writing every time I sat down at my “author desk”. It went better than expected, once I got the ball rolling. The scene is from a short story I started recently about a soldier in an unnamed war who is given five apples by a somewhat mysterious woman, and discovers that they are not exactly your standard orchard-grown apples…

    Hope that doesn’t sound too silly, heh.

  • Lisa R Nov 22, 2010 @ 12:39

    1157 words

    I really have been struggling with different aspects of my story. I worked through a little bit of the plot outline course of Holly’s. That helped get me on track for the next couple of scenes. The snow is coming down, so I will write happily knowing I am warm.

  • WandersNowhere Nov 22, 2010 @ 9:59

    Wrote the scene with the protag and the voivode on the road. It came out …quite nice.

    For a novel. But I’m wondering if a short story needs a more ‘immediate, visceral’ hook as I’ve been repeatedly advised.

    The scene as it stands starts off very quiet with the protagonist playing shepherd’s pipes by the roadside and then builds slowly to the big reversal – oh my god a village full of impaled people – as the big scene ender.

    I’m wondering if a more ‘short story’ approach would be to OPEN on the crows plucking the eyeball from a still-living impaled guy and then rewind the scene in short flashes to explain how the hero came to be looking at this.

    That, however, might be annoying and disjointed and I really liked the juxtaposition of peaceful, pastoral setting with horrendous inhuman violence. That about sums up the medieval period in a nutshell :p

    • thepencilneck Nov 22, 2010 @ 11:43

      A more short story approach is to have the scene where the protagonist is playing his pipes and then walking into a village where everyone is impaled and end the story right there. You can make the short story point just in that abrupt change.

      Or, this is just an idea from someone who’s never been able to limit themselves to a short story but think of your short story as the classic three acts. Prior to writing the story, write a three sentence synopsis where your sentences are the classic Holly Sentence. One Sentence is your Beginning, one Sentence is your Middle, and the last Sentence is your End. Write those as three scenes. Then see if you need to add a little something to make it smother. But don’t allow yourself to add more than a couple more scenes.

      • WandersNowhere Nov 22, 2010 @ 21:54

        Hn.
        I think I may be looking at a novella, then. Or at cutting this scene.

        Because the story is actually about the protag going home and being tormented by a vampire (whose identity is the big twist). Vlad’s cameo is just a cameo, but it does give a nice succinct historical context and sets up who the protag is right away.

        I’ll try again.

        • thepencilneck Nov 23, 2010 @ 0:04

          Hey, I was just giving you the way I’d try to approach it. Write what you need to write. ๐Ÿ™‚

          But… for me… I’ve always liked short stories that were in the shorter end of the spectrum.

          You’ve got to figure out how long you want it to be and then work backwards from there. Figure out how many scenes you need to fill the pages you want and then find a way to limit yourself to just that many words.

  • DasteRoad Nov 22, 2010 @ 7:06

    According to my new masterplan, I started the revision once more on Nov.21 and assessed around 14K words in a couple of hours. Go me! This should be a wilder week than usual at the evil day job but I expect to be done with this phase by next weekend.

    I realized I have quite a few muddled, neverending scenes at the beginning, but thatโ€™s no problem. Once I get to the replotting stage Iโ€™ll address structure issues, now itโ€™s not the time.

    This work seems to have woken up my subconscious, since Iโ€™m already getting cool ideas to fix a couple of things in the ending that did not quite satisfy me.

  • dkelblaine Nov 22, 2010 @ 2:20

    well I spent about an hour tonight trying to decide what in the heck I was going to write about. I decided that I was going to write something, even for 15 minutes since my goal has to been to work on writing EVERY day. I set my timer, found a prompt which was “I thought I was ready for anything…” and then bing bang the next thing I know it was an hour later and I had written 2,225 words! Not sure what I’ll do with it because it doesn’t fit any of my current works in progress but it feels a lot like the end of a novel to me.

  • Danzier Nov 22, 2010 @ 2:03

    That brings to mind a story I was working on a while ago (MRD, if anyone remembers that long ago…) that had a vaguely similar premise. Well, actually, it had a vaguely similar idea which drove the problem. I really ought to revisit that story…
    …over Christmas vacation maybe.

    I did research today, and learned an important thing for my script: lo an behold, there IS a previously used character to fill the role I need filled. Huzzah. If I can fix the problem I caused yesterday, this character will jump right in to make a mess of everything. I’m thinking, one guy, three girls who hate him, one girl on his side, two guys on his side, and a dead lady who’s not who anyone thinks she is–and somewhere out there, the lady’s murderer and a hacker with an axe to grind. This is gonna be FUN… ๐Ÿ˜€

    • thepencilneck Nov 22, 2010 @ 2:26

      2047 words. 2 scenes.

      Scene 1: The prisoner who was useless in the fighting realizes that there are a bunch of prisoners who are just as useless as he is because they don’t have weapons. And he knows where the weapons are. He leads a group of prisoners to the armory but right before they get there, the Commandant comes on the intercom and orders his men to surrender. The prisoners rejoice and the prisoner goes ahead and opens the armory door… and gets gunned down.

      Scene 2: The Bodyguard interrogates the Captain. The Captain gives him all sorts of reasons why they should just give up, all sorts of ways the Imperials can take them out. And the Bodyguard suggest’s that the Captain negotiate their surrender and the Captain is happy to take him up on that. On the way out, the Bodyguard asks a question by the Captain’s response, he learns that the Captain betrayed him to the prison guards.

      Life: My football team, the Houston Texans, crushed my soul again this week. My wife and I were both very depressed after watching that game and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to summon up enough spirit to write. Once I started writing, it was all good.

      A couple of weeks ago, I was watching a movie (The Objective) that was just so bad it’s hard to comprehend. But the movie gave me a great idea for a story. And in this story, there are aliens among us. And they’re behind several secret societies and odd things that have existed over the past few thousand years of human history. And the thing is, they’re altering our society and leading us to greater and greater scientific invention AND brutal ruthlessness… for a reason. This story is now on my list of things to do. Your comment about humans being “sought out” for something special reminded me of that. ๐Ÿ™‚

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