Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Monthly Archives: July 2015

Finish Line!

After spending a week at Comic-Con mostly NOT writing, I was worried that I might miss the Camp Nano goal. That’s not the end of the world, you know, because if I got 49,000 words, or 40,000 words, that’s still more words toward the novel than I had before. There were a lot of deadlines this month, Hugo nominees to read, short stories to write, and more travel (as I write this I am on my way to GenCon, which is likely to take up most of the rest of this month). But I’m stubborn and I was also doing it for the Clarion Write-A-Thon, and besides, I like proving that I can DO things, and part of the whole POINT of a NaNoWriMo (even in July) is proving that you can write around challenging circumstances. I’d hoped to write a little each day at Comic-Con, but ended up having to make up for it in the days following–and that’s fine, too. I allowed myself to slack off as I caught up to my timeline, which resulted in me getting my 50,000th word (and a few more) written today. AND I met all my deadlines. AND I read the Hugo novels. At least parts of all of them.

So now I can focus on GenCon and then Rocky Mountain FurCon, and then WorldCon, and meanwhile work on all the stuff I have to do for August, which includes more reading for award voting, reading for an award jury, another short story, finishing up edits on another novel, some work on a couple more ongoing novels, and then once I’m done traveling for cons, I have two more novels to edit for early next year release.

If you’d like to say “congratulations!” with a little bit of support for the Clarion Write-A-Thon, that’d be most welcome. They’ve got five days to reach their goal, and you’d be helping continue a valuable workshop for future writers. You don’t even have to support me if there’s another writer you like! But some support would be cool. :)

Early Plot Questions: Does My Hero Have To Save The World?

I’m two and a half weeks into the Write-A-Thon and a week into Camp Nano. My goal for both was the same: 50,000 words on this new YA novel I’ve been thinking about called “Shifter High,” which title I like because it’s resonant but also I don’t quite like because it sounds like a mediocre Disney Channel show from the late 90s. But ANYWAY, it is under way, 14,000 words as of yesterday. That’d be a good pace except that here I am at Comic-Con where Wednesday through Monday will be pretty solid either setup, teardown, socializing, or driving home. I did get 1,000 words in yesterday AND had a great conversation with my husband about the world and the scope of the story in general. I like to write more close, personal stories, but I’d been trying to add a bigger, world-spanning arc to this one (it’s going to be a series of novels). We discussed whether I have to (no), whether I should (maybe?), and whether that would come at the expense of the personal story (undecided, but I am leaning no). I am thinking of something like “Grasshopper Jungle” or even the Harry Potter series, where the protagonist’s rich internal journey is set against a backdrop of the world slowly falling apart (or quickly falling apart, in the case of “Grasshopper Jungle”). He was thinking about “Hunger Games” and “Divergent” where the world is already pretty much f-ed up and the heroine’s internal journey is present but is secondary to the world-saving plot.

In the end, you know, all I can do is write the story I want to write, but I’m still at the stage where I have the freedom to decide what that is. If there’s an internal journey AND a world-saving journey, then I need to figure out why THIS hero? What makes him* the one who can do this? Is it just right-place, right-time (that is totally valid; a story of a hero who is just the guy in the right spot who steps up)? Or is there something about his situation (e.g. Harry Potter learned from his upbringing never to take family for granted)? I am less a fan of the “Chosen One” scenario, but even that can be done right (hero wrestles with the implications of being chosen and what makes him worthy etc.).

* My protagonist is (for the moment) male, so even though there’s a fair amount of gender fluidity in this story, I’m using the male pronoun for the hero I’m talking about.

I do think that for a series, there should be a larger, world-wide plot, if only because you should keep upping the stakes in each book, and it’s hard to do an internal journey that lasts three or four books. So I am leaning toward that–bonus is that I only really have to seed it in the first book, and I can decide more about it later.

You can see excerpts from my draft at my Clarion Write-A-Thon page, where you can also drop a few bucks to help support the Clarion Workshop. Clarion really changed my writing life and I’m anxious to pay that forward as best I can.

Updating will be slow this week, but look for more next week! And if you’re at Comic-Con, stop by booth #1236 and say hi and see what Sofawolf Press has been up to.