Monday, February 2, 2009

10,000 Words! Plus some thoughts on Plotting

I'm drafting again. It's been a year since I seriously drafted a new novel (Starcaster being the last one). After false starts on various Starcaster II drafts, I decided I needed to work on something different while querying Starcaster. So I loaded up my Neo with the first three chapters of my Christian suspense, deleted the scene that caused me to get stuck a few weeks ago, and started writing. I'm not sure how many words I got in this weekend, but overall, I am at the 10,000 word mark.

10,000 words seems to be an important milestone for me. Once I reach 10,000 words, I know I'm in it for the long haul. I start thinking about long-term word count goals, like where I want my novel to be by the time I reach 25,000 words, 50,000 words and 75, 000 words. That's the count I'm going for with this novel.

This is the first time I've started a novel with the opening scene that I know I want to keep. I know where I want the novel to end. Going from A to Z is the fun part.

I'm having to do some interesting research. The point-of-view character is a stunt man. The antagonist is an actor. A secondary antagonist is an actress. Another point-of-view character is a courier. I'm not big on Hollywood. I don't know much about this stuff. Right now, I'm just getting the story down and I'm doing the minimal amount of research it takes to plot it out. I'll go fill in all the fun details when I get this story out of my head.

I know they say to "write what you know", but I needed my antagonist to be someone rich and famous. So no matter what I did, it would have to be something I had no experience with. So I went with Hollywood because it had the biggest wealth/fame potential.

I can feel my three-novel experience as I write this. The plotting is coming smooth and easy. In my most recent scene, Max, my hero, has brought in his friend Karen, the courier, to help. He had to introduce her to John, the actor, for whom he works a stunt double and a sort of bodyguard. Max recently met Karen, and he really likes her. John suspects this immediately. Well, I thought, what would John do? He's a famous actor. Of course he would pour on the charm, because he really doesn't like Max at all, even though he trusts him. And Karen is doing her best to keep objective, but damn! John keeps flashing that knee-melting smile and is treating her like she's the only woman in the room. Which makes Renna, the secondary antagonist and John's female lead in his current movie--and who, by the way, is possessed by a demon--distinctly irked.

And then something magical happened. Remember that scene that I said I deleted? It suddenly came back to me, significantly morphed. It will be perfect for upping the conflict between John and Max, and it will make Karen nicely indebted to John. And John likes having people in his power.

Next post: why I decided to write a Christian novel.

15 comments:

  1. You're a little like me when it comes to plotting--I plot out a storyline, characters and the like first, run with it a little bit, then if something in the original plan doesn't work, I play around with what isn't working until I find something that does work.

    Most of my inspiration comes through music, so I usually have music on while I'm working

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  2. I get too focused on the music. It completely distracts me. It makes me want to get up and play some piano. So I write to silence.

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  3. That's okay--every writer is different.

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  4. Just from the scene/characters described (demons! whee!) this sounds like a lot of fun already. I've always been interested in stuntmen, too, so even more intrigue-factor.

    Nice job hitting the 10k marker, too. :)

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  5. Vivian Thompson, my first writing mentor, preferred "know what you write" to "write what you know." You can always research anything you're unfamiliar with, after all. {SMILE}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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  6. Blue: You're right on about the plotting, though. I tend to just toss things that I'm stumbling over. If the story isn't flowing smoothly, I take it as a warning sign. I originally had Max and John in different lines of work, and I couldn't get it to work at all.

    Merc: Wow; thanks! Maybe a potential beta reader? I'm trying to make it fun and full of action.

    Anne: that's a VERY good point!

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  7. I've never been a big fan of the adage "write what you know." Obviously you don't want to sound like you don't know what you're doing, but "what you know" is extremely limited when it comes to SFF. Frankly, no one knows how your world works but you, so this could be taken to mean "make sure you know how your world works so that you can write it." In a genre where you can almost make up the rules as you go along, no adage is going to keep up.

    Regarding Hollywood, the "love story" I'm writing kind of touches on that, too. The protagonist is a script writer with dreams of Hollywood, but this isn't particularly integral to the story (other than for some much-needed humor and a few key plot relations). So for this one, I'm basically writing about relationships... and what man is an honest expert on those??

    Write what you know? Ha, more like write what you can fake the best (but in a good way).

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  8. Hah! That reminds me of the "fakata". In Orchestra, the "fakata" is faking that you are able to play a difficult passage. A great skill for a fledgling violinist!

    I don't tend to write what I know. I end up doing lots of research. Which is fine by me, because I LOVE research!

    It this case, I'll be watching a lot of "the making of" featurettes on my action-adventure DVDs. Now that's some fun research!

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  9. I could be a potential beta reader, sure. :) It might be a few months though... lol, my brain is MIA. But I assume you need to finish the novel first. ;)

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  10. Yes, I like to finish first. I like to go with the plot and get it out. Once I've gotten the first draft done and smoothed it out some, I'll be looking for readers. I'll definitely remember to approach you.

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  11. congrats on the milestone - although I'm a wee bit bummed that Starcaster is taking a back seat. Something to look forward to down the road!

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  12. I can't force my muse. He's a drill sergeant, and he likes to have his way.

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  13. I like your muse. I'm sure he doesn't think he's funny, but I'm suspicious he might be at times. {SMILE}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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  14. When I was in basic training, it was so hard not to laugh at the drill instructor. Everyone laughed at least once, and everyone got the laughter shouted out of them.

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  15. {Chuckle} That's probably why friend who'd done that kind of drilling in the Air Force said it probably desevered to be made fun of. {SMILE}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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