Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Ripping a Character Out of a Novel

I've decided that I need to reduce Sam's significance in Starcaster to a supporting character. He was originally my leading man! First he got upstaged by another guy, then both of them got upstaged by a third guy. While having two potential love interests is interesting, I think three just makes it clunky. I've already switched over some scenes from him to Cecil (changing the story in the process, because Cecil handles things quite differently), now I just have to keep going. I probably won't delete him entirely--he has a rather important job--but I will downgrade his significance quite a bit.

I've written a scene from Tory's background and it worked out so well that I've decided to make it the novel opener. My previous openers (all three versions) had to do with Sam and none of them worked. With this opener, I can introduce Julian and Cecil, instead.

Poor Sam isn't going to like being downgraded, but I'm afraid the drill sergeant (my muse) is running things now.
DS: Mr. Carter! Do you have a problem with your new assignment?
Sam: Sir, no sir!
DS: Then wipe that pathetic pout off your face! Would you prefer it, Mr. Carter, if Mr. Albright took over your role?
Sam: Sir, no sir!
DS: Perhaps, Mr. Carter, you would prefer it if you became the doorman for Mrs. Plummer's Boarding House for Young Ladies?
Sam: Sir?
DS: Sir what? Were you about to call me an asshole?
Sam: Sir, no sir! Sir, Mrs. Plummer doesn't have a doorman, sir!
DS: That's right. Mrs. Plummer. doesn't. have. a. doorman. Do we understand each other, Mr. Carter?
Sam: Sir, yes sir!
DS: Now, on your face and give me fifty!
Sam: Sir, yes sir!


Sigh. Poor Sam just wasn't meant for such abuse. Now Cecil? Cecil would have given that DS a knuckle sandwich. And Julian would have wormed his way into a better role no matter what my intentions were.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Anyone on Backspace?

Just wondered if any of you are on Backspace? I just started my trial membership today. If you're a member, here's my profile page; send me an IM please!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Germinating Idea

I started working on a idea for another epic fantasy trilogy. This one is still in the character-sketch phase. I have no plot. I just have characters. What's different for me is that this is a group of people, not just one person. Both of my previous books really only have one main character.

With this novel, I hope to do the some things that are different. For example, I want to write a love story between two people in their 60s. Why should the 20 and 30 year olders have all the great love stories? I'll also have parents and children involved in the same quest. Oh, and grandparents. This story involves people from 60 to 16. There will be a prophesy. There will be gypsies, tinkers and knights. Yes, it's a medieval fantasy, something else I have not done in ages. (No elves, though.) I'm thinking of an eastern European-type setting. Lots of brooding castles.

However, before I write this novel, I have to finish Starcaster. Then I have two other novels I want to write, and then a mystery (possibly paranormal) set in ancient Rome. So unless this idea really starts to excite me, it's pretty far down on my list of things to write.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A Sad Week

We had to put my kitty to sleep. She was having renal failure. We got her in 1990 as a young adult cat and we don't know her true age. I still creep through the house at night, careful not to step on her. My daughter went into the bathroom where we used to have her kitty litter set up and said, "The cat's dead."

It's been a bummer of a week!

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Six-Paragraph Synopsis

For the past week, I've had my head down in queries and synopses. Recently, I read on an agent's weblog that you should really try to nail your synopsis in six paragraphs. Since my current synopsis was six double-spaced pages, I decided to give it a try.

While at work (bad Tia), I took out my notebook and numbered a page from one to six. I gave myself three lines for each numbered point. (That's all the notebook had room for.) Then I wrote brief phrases that would describe what goes in each paragraph. Larges chunks of my novel didn't make the cut, such as the entire failed romance storyline.

I was surprised at how easy it was. The first numbered point described Abriel; the last point described the final conflict and the outcome, and the four points in the middle described how she got from point 1 to point 6. It took about five minutes.

On Saturday, I sat down and took my six bullet points and wrote a six paragraph synopsis. I only deviated from my outline with one paragraph. It took less than an hour. The final product doesn't even take a full page. Before, I used to have to fight to get a one-page synopsis. Now I have three or four blank lines at the bottom.

* * *
For this week, I think my goals will be:
  • Finish the first draft of "Fairest", my Snow White story. It's turning out to be surprisingly action-packed. Right now, I have my characters in such a bad situation that I have no idea how they are going to get out of it. In my experience, that's a good thing as a writer. If I don't know how they're going to get out of it, then a reader certainly won't either.
  • For Starcaster, I am stymied. I had problems with the opening and with a major character, who may get reduced to a bit part. As therapy, I've been working on a scene that is in Tory's background. It may never make it into the novel. However, it's tense and suspense-filled, and I think it would make a great opening. So I'm going to cogitate on that one.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Superwench's Agent Pick-Up Lines!

Katie is running a fun contest--agent pick-up lines. My entries were pretty lame. Go ahead and enter and see if you can do better than I did. (You can tell not many men ever tried to pick me up. I just didn't have any material to go on.)

Here's the link!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Ye Old Weekly Post

I didn't mean for my posts to dwindle down to once a week, but somehow they have lately. I've had a busy week with some possible future excitement. I also took two days off to spend the last part of my daughter's spring break at home.

I had a flash of inspiration for one of my fairy tale stories and wrote it down in my little notebook. It will have a very different mood from "Spin;" I envision it as a spoof on Cinderella. Other than some heavy revising, I haven't written much and I haven't come up with anything new.

Writing goals for the week? I'll try to get a draft done of the Cinderella spoof, which is called "Switch." I'll also work on my new ending for Starcaster, which has been on hold.

Goals, anyone?