Getting published: part three

I’m procrastinating by writing this post, let me just put that out there. Click here to read part one and part two.

I didn’t make the November 1st deadline. Once I figured out how to fix the big problems of my story, I worked day and night, every day, to meet the target. But hey, I do also have a life. For some reason I’d agreed to host a food party on October 31st. November 1st was also my cousin’s hen party (for whom I was maid of honour). A day later was the wedding. I also had to write a poem to perform during the service of said wedding. A day after that I was going to Norway. EVERYTHING AT ONCE.

I burnt out. I hadn’t had a chance to stop and reread any of my novel, aside from a fresh scene before moving onto the next. Consequently, I felt like I no longer even knew my novel anymore.

bakhvb8

Continue reading

The #NaNoWriMo Week One Quizz!

Hello, buccaneers! By tomorrow morning, week one of NaNoWriMo will be trailing in the dust behind us and then begins the week two push. But let’s take a five minute break. I mean, well freaking done for all the words you’ve written. Phew, imagine if you’d never started? You’d really be nowhere. So let’s stop and appreciate what we’ve done so far…

Bitch, I'm fabulous1) First thing’s first: how’s your wordcount?
I’m at 15,061 words. I’m just throwin’ them down, bitches.

2) What’s your story about, in one sentence?
A woman rescues coma patients by entering their dreams.

3) Did you plan?
I plan my bedtime, my day to day routine—you bet your ass I planned. I’ve got six key points in the story that are driving me forward, like exciting bits of chocolate I can’t wait to smear all over my face. Uh…

4) Has a side character spiralled into the plot and started to become more permanent that expected?
Dude, apparently Tomoya is childhood friend’s with my main character. They kept that one DOWN LOW. It all came out the woodwork in chapter six, I tell ya. He’s kinda cute though, so I don’t mind.

5) Is there a type of character or little thing that you always write?
I always have (what I’ve started to call) a “pink character”. They’re not a giant marshmallow, but something about their personality, their spirit, their likes, or on their person is pink. And they’re probably cute but stubborn. This year, one of the characters has pink hair-tips.

6) Has anyone died yet?
Haahahahahahahahahahaha. I killed the MC’s husband on page one. Does that even count? I’m debating whether or not to kill off Tomoya next…

7) Are any side characters flirting with each other?
I can’t make them STOP. Down, Bessies. This ain’t about you.

Tell me your answers in the comments, and then stop procrastinating. Get back to writing. GO, GO, GO!

i can't do it

I Can’t Believe It’s NaNo-Freakin-WriMo Again

Excuse me while I just sit here in stunned fear. That’s right, NaNoWriMo begins in six hours and I’m cacking myself. Why, Willow? You’ve done this five years in a row now? Yes, little minion voice, I have. But previously I didn’t have to grow up and do Shitty Adult Things, all whilst drowning under social/family expectations.

Has it be stated how fucking ridiculous it is that you can’t get a job without super-duper-angel-cum-10-years worth of experience, but you can’t get experience without the fucking job? I’m just throwing that out there again.

die die died ide ideSo, aside from feeling utterly miserable and pointless about my futile, unappreciated existance, I’m ready for NaNoWriMo. I’ve made the plans, I’ve got key moments, I’ve collected inspiring images—we’re all set, Theodore. Who doesn’t need extra self-imposed pressures? I’m kidding. It’ll be great. It’ll be so great.

BUT HEY, HERE’S SOME ACTUAL GOOD NEWS!
Next Wednesday, October 6th, Mitch Allan and I have a brand new science-fiction/fantasy series airing on Big World Network. That’ll be great. I’ll give more details closer to the time once the cover art is finalised. Yes cover art. Oooo~

HELPFUL THINGS FOR NANOWRIMO:
— Write down key scenes. They are good mile stones and motivators. They are not permanent, either, so you are not bound to these ideas.

— Use Write Or Die when you’d rather bury your head into a tar pit than meet the daily word count. Don’t do the tar pit. Use “Write Or Die”.

— When you’re sparring with your inner editor, change your font colour to white. Ignore any red-squiggly lines that may occur until you’ve finished at least a paragraph; unless, when you right click, you know that it’s offering a correct…correction.

— Getting bored with the scene/plot? Kill someone. One of your characters, obviously. Bonus points if it’s a main character.

— Remember that you can take a ten minute break and think about absolutely nothing. Designate ten minutes for ‘doing nothing’, especially when you’re ready to burn down the house. Then get back to writing.

NaNoWriMo Prep: THREE ways to load your characters into the NaNo-launch-day cannon

“Dive right in!” they said. “It’ll be fun!” they said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m talking about the word-cannon of inspiration. Getting to know your characters. If you’ve done much writing in your life before, you’ll know that starting anything can be one of the hardest things. NaNoWriMo is no exception. It’s midnight! Your friends have gathered, the room is silent with concentration, it’s time to flay the page with words…

But what words? Where do I begin? Does my character even like ice cream, I don’t know? Should I talk about the room or who McMary is looking at? Would McMary even be in the same room as her enemy yet?

There are only four days left, so, to lessen your nerves and make you feel more confident about who you’re writing about, try these three very simple exercises.

1. Monologue
Write one of your character’s talking. Just talking. No action description. A monologue. They have committed murder. This does not have to be relevant to your plot (unless you want it to be). This is a fun prompt.

2. Other Person Monologue
I’ll bet you all the money in the world that your character mentioned another person during their monologue. We’ll call him McJobe. Now, write another monologue from McJobe’s perspective.

3. Duologue
Finally, put McJobe and McMary in the same room and let them have a conversation. There should be conflict, either physically, verbally or internally.

From these, you might discover a plot idea that you’ll want to come back to during the downer-period that always comes with NaNoWriMo; when you’re lacking inspiration. It’ll also tell you how certain characters think, feel and react to various circumstances. What have you got to lose? Have fun!

NaNoWriMo Day 23: Quick Slap

I’m not sure how to explain it but I feel like Severus Snape (note Snape’s placid swingng action) and Ron Weasley (note Ron’s face) at the SAME TIME:

I’m trying to tell myself that I haven’t given up with NaNoWriMo, but I think I have taken on too much this year. I’m losing site of the finish line and am pushing forward whenever I can. I don’t think I’ll make it but I’ll keep writing when I have time and energy to spare.

Useful tip I picked up from NaNoWordSprints: write in white. When the text is white you cannot stop to correct typos, agonise over grammar or improve imagery. I actually found I crafted a pleasant and aesthetic scene doing this – possibly the best I’ve splurged out in the past few days.

Writer’s stress: ‘Is my character developed enough’? ‘Is the plot coherent’? ‘Should I kill off character B even though I really like zem’? If these are the only thing getting you down, plaguing your dreams and pissing you off: it’s a good life. You’re doing OK. Keep going and don’t let your inhibitions get you down. I swear, these are great questions to be asking yourself and if you’re novel isn’t on your mind most of the time, then it probably won’t be on the reader’s mind, either.

If you’re stress is making you ill and is caused by a combination of factors then it’s OK to put the pen down. I know there are hundreds of pep-talks telling you to keep pacing on, don’t worry about the world trying to bug you for attention, but they aren’t law. Don’t make yourself ill, like I did. I’ve acknowledged that I can’t flog myself into achieving everything and NaNoWriMo is the thing that should take least priority. Writing a novel is a huge task and should be enjoyed, especially if you plan on making it your career, like I do.

Do your best, write in white, love your novel for all its current flaws and stay happy. ❤

#NaNoWriMo Day 17, Dwarves deserve love too, y’know, and the stabbing finally happened

That awful moment when your writing programme freezes and you know you’re about to loose a whole paragraph of beautiful words:

*le sigh* The trials of life. Well, I’ve personally found this week to be an up hill (mountain) struggle. I had such a mental break down at one point that I was actually convinced my bedroom was an illusion. Crying to laughing, crying to laughing, to inane giggling. But I’m OK now. Despite my ‘professor’ changing the specifications of this months essay (again) he’s at least made up his fucking mind. There are fixed deadlines, there is an outline and I can plan and prepare.

Elijah Gill and myself attempted to bash out some of our scripts in the library this week. After I’d been staring at the end of scene six for ten minutes, Elijah leant over and typed in a new scene heading for me. I’d like to share it with you:

As you can see it’s all very productive over here.

So aside from barraging you with moving pictures (GIFs) and screen captions, what am I bringing to the metaphorical table? For the most part: dwarves. They are a seriously underrated fantasy race. What actually bothers me, though, is how role-playing games tend treat dwarves as undesirable lovers. My main example shall be Dragon Age II. Now, Dragon Age is an epic fantasy role-playing game that leaves me little to complain about. The companions (people in your party) are without doubt the main attraction, especially as far as romantic allure is involved. But why, oh why, are you never able to woo the dwarves? In Dragon Age II I think the one character (aside from Anders) who really holds great appeal for me is the dwarf, Varric. He is the one companion you cannot have a relationship with. Not even a fling. It’s the same with Oghren in Dragon Age: Origins. Is it because they’re dwarves and it’s seen as unlikely they’ll have sex-appeal to some people? It certainly doesn’t seem like a plot problem to hook-up with either of these characters. I know Varric is a free range chicken, it’s cool. He can move on and we go our separate ways at the end of the story. So why can’t we have an interesting relationship for the nine years he chooses to stay by my side?

But why am I talking about dwarves and their sex-appeal to begin with? At the start of the week I posed a question on my twitter: ‘What kind of city would you expect Southsunder to be?’ Mick Deak replied with, “Dwarven!” In the spirit of things, I agreed. Now my city is occupied by short people who are blatantly dwarves. My main character has a liking for the inn helper and she is head-over-heels for him. It’s very cute. I’m trying to get them alone in the same room for more than ten seconds but it’s proving difficult (almost wrote ‘probing’ – cripes). These people are short, stocky, broad and beerful and just as gorgeous as elves. I don’t understand why they are shunned so much. Look at Varric. Seriously, you couldn’t be more charismatic than this man:

As far as NaNoWriMo goes, it’s not too bad. I’ve been making notes in a tiny note book each morning to help spur me along, but I’m afraid there is now a scene involving stabbing and human blood. I felt defeated for a day. I’d done so well not to include anything nasty this year, but it couldn’t be avoided. I felt I was doing the reader a disservice if I tried to write around the truth. Saying this, it’s not a gory scene and it’s not written to make the reader squirm. Cringe, yes. Worry, definitely. Feel ambivalent, of course. Want to run away in terror, no. It’ll need improving but I think I’ve done alright.

Last but not least, my mood board is finally printed and arranged on my wall – hooray! The picture of the girl with red paint/wings/blood/an explosion of emotion coming out of her back inspired the ENTIRE story. Click [here] to see the artist’s page.

EXTRACT (Screen printing was the only way to avoid the text being tiny again. I don’t understand it. Oh well)


#NaNoWriMo Day 7: lala mentality reached, Nouns everywhere, and no one’s been stabbed yet

Phew! What an intensive weekend. 10k Sunday, I nearly choked a lung trying to reach the word count on Saturday, never mind the overall weekend target. But I made it. Elijah Gill did question my mental health at one point and made me go to bed at a sensible hour, but other than that I’m on track, baby!

How are you doing? Have you started to feel despair and begun taking it out on your characters? Has anyone lost a limb? Has anyone died? By Day Two last year my supporting character had been stabbed, my main character’s skin had almost melted off, the lead female was masturbating in the forest and lives were saved by eating raw meat.

This Thursday I reached ‘lala mentality’, also known as, ‘if it’s shit I don’t care anymore’. It’s gone pretty well. The only child in the novel has had her voice sucked out and it turns out that Main Character has a brother who also lost his voice as a child. There’s romance blooming, stars have names, people almost have back-stories… I’m into my novel now that the WRITE OR DIE mentality has returned. It’s like running naked down the street and feeling no shame. I hope you’re enjoying the writing process too.

If you’ve not read Erin Morgenstern’s pep talk for this weekend, get on that. My inner marmot felt motivated again.

Good luck, keep writing and tell me the name of your main character!
Favourites so far:
Marcella – lorna_librarian
Kyrah – wrimosftw
Daffy Daphne – tinknevertalks

EXTRACT
(I don’t know why the text is irrechangably tiny. I take no responsibility for those who bust an eye trying to read it. Proceed with monocles.)

What’s the commission?” he asked. Marian thrust her notebook at him before Patetico could answer. Her letters were still messy and slanting up the page at a severe right angle, some of the letters floating out of their word. “Kill the…tomato…” Marian slapped his arm and gave him a pleading look. “Don’t give me that. I’m trying, I’m trying,” Isandro said. “Ahem, so, kill the tornado snake in the…ice basket? Rice market?”

Marian kicked him in the shin and he scuttled back, laughing. Cecilio smacked him on the shoulder and Isandro raised his arms. “What, you’re siding with her now? I’ve not even introduced you.” He waved the book at his brother. “Look at this, come on, what does it say to you?”

Cecilio peered over, expecting to contradict him, and then took the book to inspect the page closer. “See, I’m not just teasing her.” Marian sighed and glanced at Patetico, waiting for him to say that she needed more lessons and practice.

“You’ll get the hang of it,” Patetico said instead. She smiled at him.

Cecilio handed back the notebook and she waved at him, asking him to introduce himself. Bowing his head, Cecilio spelt out his name with his fingers and then made the symbol he used as an abbreviation. Marian’s eyes lit up and she looked at Isandro for an explanation.

“This is my brother, Cecilio. He was chosen at your age, too.” Her mouth fell open and she regarded him with awe and hope. “Cecilio, this is Marian.” She slid off the bench and shook Cecilio’s hand. Holding her hand he intertwined their fingers and then stroked a circle around her wrist. “Behave, brother, you’re here to help.” Cecilio stuck out his tongue.

“What did he say?” asked Patetico.

“Nothing appropriate for a first greeting.” Marian blushed and pulled her hand away. “My brother should be able to teach you a few things. I thought it might help. Plus, when we tell you how the Mist thanked him for his voice, you might not feel so bad.” The girl chewed her lips thoughtfully and Isandro couldn’t hold her gaze. “Let’s not make a big deal. Shall we go?”


NaNoWriMo Day #1: ribbons, cloaks and unexplained drivel. Mostly grunge. Lots of grunge.

OMG IT’S NANOWRIMO 2011!

HOW WE DOING? You keeping up with NaNo? Did you meet today’s word count? I certainly didn’t. I’m 300 words behind but do you see me in despair (yet)? Bwaha, nooo. It’s good to see a cluster of my friends working and fretting to meet the daily target. You’re all excellent for partaking in such a mammoth task, especially for starting something so daunting.

I began my chapter at midnight, on the dot. Hypothetically. After staring at a blank page for more than three minutes my housemates told me that I had to name every chapter after a 60s Psychedelic Song, which gave me instant inspiration. Thank you, Dexter Child. Perhaps I should state that by this point I was tipsy after a Halloween gathering the pub called The Hobbit (where cocktails are named after characters. I had a Bilbo).

Words began to flow! The city was grungy, it was grimy, it was dirty, and you know what it stank but the protagonist loved it anyway. Exciting though it was to settle into the mentality of  ‘write or die’, within the hour it began to turn into repetitive drivel. Like I said, it was a grungy city.

Today was not as productive. After rolling out of bed Mikey Wyatt flounced over to my house. We shut ourselves away with mugs of tea and commenced project ‘DAY 1, SRS BZNESS’. Serious business frazzled away rather quickly… I even took time out to make hot apple cake and ice cream for five people. I even volunteered to be tea-monkey. My willingness to procrastinate and make everyone else write has come from having my NaNo idea for over a year, I think. I love the idea but truly must make myself write it. My biggest problem at the moment is having two characters whose name begin with ‘Mar’. Gosh darn it. I’ll have to change one of them…

But that is just this day. Tomorrow (so technically once I finish this post – it’s now midnight) I shall continue with fresh gusto. Once I’ve been forced to stop and attend dull lectures, I’ll race home full of inspiration. The coffee pot will stew and the cat will eat the goldfish. Best of all, guess who has not gone back and edited at all today?

-Willow //end scatter-brain spew. It’s midnight. I’ve had a bucket of coffee. Just go be awesome and write more novel already.

EXTRACT
Arcatera was a grey city. The streets were narrow and the buildings crooked. The pavements were cobbled and the most important buildings were made of green, worn metal. Having grown up there all his life, Marziale did not see anything wrong with the dull, dirty city. In fact, Marziale loved Arcatera.

“Come on, Marzie!” cried Marian. “We’re going to miss the play at this rate!” Marziale gave her a withering look.

Marian was a small girl of about thirteen years old. She had brown eyes, short brown hair, tanned brown skin and an average, healthy shape of any young female. Resisting the urge to flick her tomato-nose, Marziale went back to sharpening his axe. Whoever let a child join their Clan was an idiot, he thought.

“Oh Marziale, pleeeease,” she whined, “I really want to go.”

“You’re a big girl, go by yourself.”

Marian chewed her lip, her eyebrows touching in a look of distress. “I don’t want to go by myself.”

“Then you should have woken up early this morning and left with the others.”

She grumbled and stropped over the Marziale’s bedroom doorway, then stropped back and crossed her arms, snarling at him when he did not budge from his bed.

“Go away, Marian,” he said.

“You’re so mean! Why don’t you want to go with me? You said you like Mist Plays.”

“I do.”

“Then why won’t you go?”

“Because I like them best in tomorrow’s newpaper. Look, I can’t be bothered.”

Marian gasped and he peered up at her. She looked as if he had just spat in Father Aksel’s face. “What do you mean you can’t be bothered? This is the most important Mist Play of the year!”

“Marian, I won’t say it again. Go away.” Marziale gripped his hefty axe in both hands and stood up. As he carried it past Marian and hooked it onto the wall beside his bed, the girl made an angry noise before storming off; her boots thudding on the wooden floorboards. “I probably should go…” he mumbled to himself. It was his last chance to find work before the Clan moved on.

NaNoWriMo approachs. I might be a little terrified.

First off, before I ramble on about NaNoWriMo, do you like my new banner? I’m in love with this picture, created by Marta Dahlig. I wish I could have it framed on my wall. I’ve got a thing for fish that float through the air. And ginger girls.

Onto business…

It’s officially 14 days until the start of NaNoWriMo. Are you ready? Are you excited? Are you stocked up with coffee and microwavable food?  Are you terrified that life will suck you into a void of stress and failure because you don’t know what you’re going to write about and you know that you’ve got too much to deal with this semester?

I’m here to tell you: don’t panic. I’m here to tell you: I’m excited and nervous as well. We can do this.

The key is to remember that you are about to embark on creating a first draft. It doesn’t matter how terrible it is (the first draft is always shit), it doesn’t matter how gaping the plot-holes are, and it doesn’t matter how poor your grammar might become. NaNoWriMo is a first draft.

Rule #1: don’t go back and edit.
Rule #2: if you have an idea for chapter two, make a note – have a NaNo note book. Don’t look back.
Rule #3: bombs are allowed at any given moment.
Rule #4: running out of steam? Kill off an important character.

It’s OK guys. This is going to be a super fun month and part of the fun is the pressure. We moan and groan and feel like the washing basket will eat us with its neglected dirty underwear, but we love being forced to immerse ourselves in a fictional world.

If you’re really worried about crunch day my advice would be to make a mood board. It’s my life saver. Pictures inspire you in ways you might not expect. Also: the way you subconsciously arrange the pictures on your mood board will tell you things about the characters or events. My professor would tell you to search through magazines and tear out any picture you’re drawn to, but I can’t always be bothered with that. The internet is just as good a resource. I would suggest browsing deviantArt or etsy. Now that I’ve chosen all my images to print out this year I’m feeling much more confident about my story idea.

Last year’s mood board:


You can do this. It’s time to psyche ourselves up and schedule our work load to fit with NaNoWriMo. You are an overflowing source of imagination and capable of great things.

Excited yet?

Drowning in a Bottle of LIFE, more like.

I should be doing an essay this very second. Am I though?

What I am doing, however, is pushing through the first draft of my NaNoWriMo novel, Drown in a Bottle of Keys. I am that determined to pretend my essay will write itself. I have to say, with a little encouragement/writer’s block demolishing from Mitch, I have finally finished a chapter I did not know how to move forward.

I want to skip a whole chunk of integral plot progression/later twist hint/character development and straight to the parts that super duper make me excited (yes, there is drama-llama-blood-and-bombs involved, sssh). But I know I can make this awesome. Just, y’know, gotta write all of it, not just the key scenes.

University classes have resumed, hurrah! This means I’ll have research and lessons to share with you again. We’ll be writing dossiers soon, which I can’t wait for as we can write the dossier on absolutely anything in the whole wide world. A dossier, by the way, is a set of documents, esp. a collection of information about a person, event or subject. I’ve chosen to do mine on the conventions of the Steampunk genre in other literary works and how it relates to my own novel, Froxen Blue, and if my novel is ‘Steampunk enough’ or if this need for definition is unnecessary. I genuinely can’t wait. I’m stocking up research books already.

This essay on the other hand…

I don’t know what’s wrong. I’m simply not motivated. It’s not even a horrible essay and I’ve chosen the script – a film I thoroughly enjoy. Essay: ‘an analysis on the structure of Battlestar Galactica miniseries in light of relevant theories.’

I asked my cousin, “Mitch, what’s wrong with this essay?” She and her boyfriend both looked up and unanimously answered, “It’s an essay.” Very cute, aren’t they? But alas. This does not solve the problem of it not getting done.

Hmm… I know, instead of thinking of it as an ‘essay’, I’ll think of it as a ‘personal investigation’ that I want to share with people. Yeah, I think that might help! This is a personal endeavour. I’m so interested in Battlestar Galactica that I want to read through and deconstruct the script in light of what other screenwriters perceive to be a ‘structure that works’.

Paradigm. That word is following me around lately.

There is one new creation I would like to share; on the note of sharing. I’m currently in a video editing contest and I kindamaybelike my entry. The creation process was enjoyable and the outcome, like all my videos, could be improved but I’m intensely satisfied. If you’re interested, please do take a gander! The l’Cie Sanctuary.

Project Progress

Increasing the Weeks, Chapter 6……………………………..geeeh…
Froxen Blue audio book, Chapter 2…………………………..complete.
‘I am 16 going on 17’ reimagining…………………………….95% complete.
Scars in the System (a novel) writing bible…………………currently nothing but a mother-huge contents.
Final Fantasy Still episode III season 2………………………will be out soon.
Drown in a Bottle of Keys (a novel)……………………………Part I almost complete.
Beyond the Sky Steam (a novel)……………………………….Structure complete.
That essay……………………………………………………………to be continued…

NaNoWriMo: the final stretch begins. Welcome Rambo and my ohso poetic banking similes.

Hiya, I’m not dead – yet. Give me four more days and come November 30th I’ll be doing a Frederick and trying to drown myself in the sink basin.

People keep giving me books. This is lovely and I love all my geeky, literary friends for their passionate areas of writing, but I’m drowning in books. So many books. SO MANY BOOKS.

The finer points of today’s lessons, both led by the wonderful Professor Sara, were on how to write good scenes and how to get an Agent (with a capital ‘a’ and everything). I’m going to be concise and to the point otherwise I might as well write up three hours of lectures! My notes on how to write good scenes are what I shall share with you. Here we go.


How to write good scenes

-If story is character then character is dialogue.
REVEAL THE CHARACTER’S NATURE THROUGH REACTION TO SITUATIONS. Don’t tell me that Daisy was sad, show me. Telling me that Daisy was sad reveals nothing and is flat. If you tell me that ‘Daisy fell to her knees, clutched her chest and wept her heart out’ then not only do I know how sad she is, I can guess what kind of person she is.

A good exercise to reveal a character is to know what is in their fridge! Opening a character’s fridge door tells you a lot about a person. The example Sara gave us was when she visited a new friend (in real life) and opened the woman’s fridge, all that was in it was a glitter ball and a bottle of vodka. I think that says a lot.

Don’t blether.
**Dialogue is NOT like real life. Though you may quote people, cut out the boring bits and make every word essential.
**How people speak, not what they’re saying. Writing colloquial language and dialect is perfectly fine, but capture the essence of their verbal ticks; not, like, every, like, verbal tick, like, yeah, like, y’know?
**Know when to shut your characters up.
**Unnecessary formalities. We don’t need to hear all their greetings.
“Hello, how are you?”
“Oh, I’m fine thank you. How are you?”
“Yes, lovely, thanks. Would you like a cup of tea?”
Cut straight to the scene where they’re drinking tea and having meaningful conversation; unless their greeting is riddled with subtext and/or conflict.
**Writing the fight – don’t. You can show conflict in more creative ways that just yelling. Show, don’t tell. Subtext.
**Over explaining or exposition – be careful. Allow your audience to read a situation. Exposition through dialogue is the worst. It’s lazy writing and just bad.
**Don’t say it if we can see it.
**Subtext is a wonderful thing – use it!

“A cup of tea is never just a cup of tea.” – Sara

After being told all of this we were informed to write a very tight, concise scene riddled with conflict and subtext. Here is mine:

INT. ENGINE ROOM

With an agitated growl, JIM finishes her work, throws her tools onto a neighbouring workbench and pushed REMUS’ feet off the table.

JIM
You can go now.

She steps back, hands on hips and Remus slides onto the floor. With a sigh, Jim grabs a hand rag and strides over to him, whereupon she heaves herself onto the workbench.

She slumps over her knees, moping her face and avoiding Remus’ gaze as he moves to stand in front of her.

REMUS
Why don’t you visit the upper city?

She shrugs, playing with the rag.

REMUS (CONT.)
It’s nice this time of year. The colours
in the light are like amber.

JIM
You and your colours.

REMUS
I’ll take you somewhere with clean air.

JIM
How could you possibly know if the air
is clean?

With a smile, Remus taps his temple. Jim slides off the table and throws her hand rag at him. He catches it.

JIM
Let me know if your eyes blank out.

EXIT JIM.

 

Though I wrote it as a script, the same principles apply to writing a novel. I hope you found this helpful!

So, about my NaNo… A new character has appeared! Did you know, ‘Dangerfield’ is a real British surname? It sat perfectly with my new character and I hope it doth amuse you. Also, let me state now, I don’t have anything against Americans (unless we get political, but that’s beside the point). My boyfriend is American, so our relationship would be a bit of a struggle if I did. I’m just saying.

EXTRACT #1

A smile spread across her face and for a moment, Frederick was distracted from the flashing knife.

“You nervous, Freddy?” she asked, raising her knife hand. “You keep looking at it.”

“More for your own safety.”

“Are ya sure?” Li-ling threw the knife over her head, intending to snatch it out of his face at the last second, but Frederick caught it with a steady hand. She halted; her mouth open, and Frederick lowered his arm.

“Wow,” was all she could say. “Where did you learn that?”

Turning the blade into his hand, Frederick held it out for her to take back, staring at the cold metal and patterned hilt. “I didn’t,” he said, “each of us have gifts, my Brothers and I. Mine is impeccable accuracy.”

“Accuracy?” Li-ling wrinkled her nose and resumed walking. “My, what an exciting gift.” She bit her lip to show she was teasing him again and Frederick glanced away, watching the woodland and gave her no reaction.

“I’m teasing,” she said.

“I know.”

With a contemptuous laugh, Li-ling cried, “Hey!” and once more flung her knife into the air. Frederick caught it without hesitation, but he was the one to stop this time. Shrugging her shoulders, Li-ling gave a smile that confused him as she carried on her way.

“Just checking,” she said.

EXTRACT #2

“Oh no,” sighed Li-ling, stopping without warning. Next to Boots, the leading pharmacy chain, she was staring at a Bounty Agency (BA). It was a sleek looking place with sterile colours, large glass windows and a bright interior.

“What?” asked Frederick, hoping she didn’t plan on taking him into a shop crawling with demon hunters looking for a new bounty hunt, or summoned by popular demand for the details of a specific call.

“That poster,” she said, nodding at the full body image of a man dressed in camo trousers, a tank top, and held a machine gun in both hands. A cigar hung from his mouth, the image stuck on one of the BA windows. “That’s Tom Dangerfield. He’s some big shot American.”

Frederick snorted. There was a phone number printed across Dangerfield’s feet and a slogan above his head. Want something done fast and without any uncertainties?

“He thinks he knows what he’s doing,” Li-ling continued, “but he’s just a dolt with a gun.”

Frederick took in Dangerfield’s thick arms, shaven head and square jaw – seriousness etched into his face. “Maybe he does know what he’s doing,” Frederick mused.

“Oh sure,” Li-ling flipped hair over her shoulder, “shoot until it stops moving. I’m amazed anyone hires him, he’s got a damage warranty rated higher than the mortgage of two detached houses!”

“In some places they’d call that a reputation.”

Frederick and Li-ling whipped around to see none other than Dangerfield, garbed up in blue camo trousers and a tight long sleeve top. Despite being the same height as Dangerfield, there was no way Frederick could compare to the man’s presence.

“I like to think of it as a credit rating,” the American continued, “the higher you rack up the points, the more likely they are to give you a big loan.”

Unimpressed, Li-ling folded her arms and tried not to glower. Frederick, on the other hand, felt a sweat spring up on the back of his neck and tried to think of a way to escape. He had learnt never to underestimate any demon hunter, especially the gun-ho types.

With a polite laugh, Li-ling forced a smile. “Oh, hello,” she said in her sweetest voice. “Are you really Dangerfield?”

“Why yes, darlin’. But if you’d just excuse me, I got a call to see to.” He pointed at the Bounty Agency with a smug sneer.

“Oh do you?” said Li-ling, forcing her smile even brighter. “Gosh, I can’t wait for my first call. I’ll be licensed in two months time. I’m Miss. Redgrave,” she clasped her hands together, looking so false Frederick bit on his tongue and hid his eyes behind his hand. “I hope my family’s reputation will be of good use.”

Dangerfield laughed. “You’re a Redgrave? Sure don’t look it.”

A jolt of anger vibrated through Frederick’s chest to peer up and see him assessing her features. Rolling his shoulders and cracking his neck, Dangerfield kept his leering expression in place. “Anyway, it don’t matter what your name is. Like I said, s’all about credit ratings. Gamer points. How many successful hunts do you got to your name?”

“Three actually,” Li-ling snapped. Dangerfield laughed and Frederick had never wished for a hunter to have a high demon-count as much as he wished Li-ling did right then. A grumble tried to rise in Frederick’s throat but he suppressed it, clearing his throat instead.

Dangerfield glanced across at Frederick then, who at once tipped his chin down, not wanting direct eye contact. The sizeable man paced closer, invading Frederick’s personal space so he could almost feel the hunter’s breath. “Say,” he grumbled, “those are some interesting lookin’ marks you got there.”

Day 3 of NaNoWriMo and the sex/gore increases, as does fictional coffee consumption

Remember when I said I probably wouldn’t blog about each day? It’s a good way to procrastinate, actually.

Man, did I wake up feeling like the back-side of a badger today. Cousin Mitch (click here for her blog) and I have colds from beyond the grave, but luckily our fevers have gone down. Again, I poured some of my train-wreck despair into poor old, abused Frederick who is increasingly turning into me and less like the soft-spoken German boy I was looking forward to love.

Oh. Well.

I managed to pump out 2,000 words this evening because I wrote nothing until about 8pm today. Just, bleeeeeeh with all ma homework and sickness. But, I am writing a parody of Perseus and Andromeda for class, which I will post to my LiveJournal once finished. It’s pretty fun.

My flatmate and I hindered Mitch from going to the toilet this evening by yabbering on about how crazy our  family is (mine and Mitch’s family, that is). Mostly the old folk. And my mother. Sometimes you could reckon my mother is dating me. She rings up my father to say, “Caaarl, I texted Willow and she hasn’t replied yet!” And then we just went on about our grandparents who are terrifying, hilarious and swear a lot.

Granny Doom: I – I –I don’t think it’s a good idea sending your brother to school with £1! He could be buying drugs!
Willow: With a pound?
Granny Doom: You never know these days! Him and his friends, you don’t know, they could – they could  – I don’t trust him!
Willow: But with a pound, Granny? One pound? No, I don’t think so somehow. He’s going to buy sweets.

During the winter, Mitch and her family had a barbeque in the snow, and our dear crazy, now deceased, Nana (a different one) opened the window to yell: “You fucking idiot bastards!” and then went back inside.

Anyway… My badass demons from chapter one who all interrupted each other, shat on one another’s opinions and generally annoyed each other, have turned into the Waltons. I swear to god. Hardor (whose name I simply HAD to change), now known as Garridon, is the father and the other three morons are the children.

It’s quite fun, I’ll be honest, but I’m just wondering what happened. Mercury and Frederick need to stop flirting, but I know they won’t. I don’t really know why Charles is there any more. I think it’s just to make up the numbers. He was originally meant to be ‘the bumbling one’, but that’s only happened at the beginning so far – which you’ve still not read.

So yesh. Today I only managed to churn out words by venting my frustration through Frederick.

EXTRACT TIME! (#1 remember Frederick was dying? He’s now being rescued by some random new inn keeper called Malahide. Mercury found him.)

The windows filled with shadows as Malahide drove around the back of his inn. All Frederick could see now was light; he could not even hear the car engine purr or the slam of the driver’s door when Malahide got out. A blanket was thrown over his struggling body and he felt himself dragged across the seats, then hefted over someone’s shoulder. He could not smell who it was for the blanket smothering his face.

Each jerking movement struck him with misery, were they going up a flight of stairs? He was lumped down onto something soft and a feint light reappeared. “Garriiiii –“ He began to rasp Garridon’s name but it turned into an inhuman screech. Someone’s hand clamped down over his mouth.

“Shut up!” he heard from very far away.

A few seconds later, and Frederick tasted blood dribble over his tongue. A carnivorous growl gargled in his throat and he snapped at the raw meat he knew was dangling over his lips. He nicked the luck warm flesh, his teeth slashing through, and as it was lowered for him, Frederick chewed and hacked into the lump as fast as he could. Blood squirted down his cheeks and into his ears, sticky bits of flesh clung to the skin around his mouth. His palette remembered the tangy, metallic taste even when Frederick had finished what was offered to him and he licked it; feverishly wanting more.

Another chunk was lowered into his mouth, bit by messy bit, until shapes appeared in the light and sounds filtered through the darkness. Without warning he sat bolt upright and seized the third dripping hunk that Charles had ready for him.

When he was done cramming it into his mouth, Frederick gazed at his Brothers, a grateful smile on his face. Mercury crossed his arms as his body moved with an incredulous laugh. “I have not seen a man eat like that for a hundred years,” he said.

As one voice, Garridon, Charles and Mercury said, “you idiot.”

EXTRACT #2

“You need to wash your face, brother,” Mercury sniggered. “I cannot take you seriously.”

Grumbling, Frederick struggled to his feet, his legs tender, and slugged into the bathroom. “Guh,” he hissed upon seeing his reflection. He looked an utter train-wreck. Not the kind of wreck that came from drinking more than his body weight in alcohol, throwing up and then sleeping in the corridor. No, the kind of wreck who looked like he had swigged more than his body weight in alcohol, been in a fight with King Kong whose fist had found his face quite often, then crawled off to chew on the back leg of a dog until it bled all over his head, and then decided to knock himself out with a few vodka shots to the eye. Both eyes, in fact.

He twisted one of the rusty taps until cold water spluttered out.

“The Schiller family are the demons in charge of this county,” Frederick heard Mr. Malahide say. “Them and the Redgraves have been hunting each other for centuries. If you’re lookin’ for ‘em, don’t get in the way of their business, thas all my advice.”

“Thank you,” said Garridon, “we will be mindful.”

“One more thing.”

Frederick splashed his face with water before deciding to fill the basin. Maybe he could drown himself in it.

“The Redgrave’s daughter, Miss. Redgrave…”

They went still. Frederick removed his face from the bottom of the basin.

“She visits the village often. She got long black hair, tanned skin, er, kinda lean shape… Pretty lookin’ anyway. Watch out for her. If you see her, pretend to stutter or something, I dunno, make out your meek travellers.”

Mercury laughed and Frederick snorted, sticking his face in the basin again, but the sound died as Garridon cleared his throat. “We will keep an eye out. We do not want any trouble.”

There was an awkward pause as Mr. Malahide did not leave. “Where you lot from? You got strange accents, like, way of talking.”

“We do?” said Charles. Frederick rubbed water into his thick, blood-sticky hair.

“It’s not bad. You got nice proper voices. Does you good around here.”

“OK.”

Taking the hint, Malahide finally left.

A hand thumped on Frederick’s back, making him choke on water. The hand took a fistful of his cloak and yanked him up, spraying water up the wall. His head bounced against Mercury’s shoulder who was grinning at him in the mirror. Frederick sighed. “What?”

“What are you trying to do? Pour your brain down the sinkhole?”

“Something like that.”

“Bleh, I’m getting wet,” he said, letting Frederick go and shaking water off of his hands. Charles then bounded into the tiny bathroom space and gave Frederick a look that spoke volumes.

“Oh Freddy-boy,” he said, biting his bottom lip, “it’s going to be a while before your face clears up.”

“Only Merc can call me Freddy-boy,” Frederick muttered. But he took another gander at himself in the mirror and observed the many red burn splotches on his skin.

“Oi,” said Garridon from the bedroom, “get in here.”

The three in the bathroom shuffled out and sat on the end of Frederick’s bed, staring up at Garridon, waiting for him to speak.

“Right, after Frederick being a pain in the arse, it is time to familiarise ourselves with the local area, find clothes that blend us in, and learn the Saviour’s daily habits so we can single her out.”

Charles raised his hand. Garridon gave him a withering glare. “Yes?”

“Do you really think she’s as dangerous as Malahide makes her out to be?”

“Of course,” cried Mercury.

“She is the daughter of the Redgraves,” Frederick added.

There was a steady pause, each man realising for the first time just how deep they were digging their own grave by intervening with historical events. “I need a coffee,” Frederick mumbled.

“Make mine an espresso,” said Charles as Frederick plodded out the door.