#WritingExcusesChallenge Day 16

Hi.

I know. It’s been like a week. I’m sorry. I fell off the band wagon and have about 4 days worth of content to get caught up on. And… I’m sorry. And I love you guys. All five of my subs. I love you, I promise.

I’m not gonna lie, I had a weird depressive down swing. I don’t know if I actually have clinical depression, but I wouldn’t be surprised. That rant and story will have to come another day. I’m going to chalk it up to many things, more stuff I won’t get into now. But I did have one.

So I fell off the band wagon HARD, rolled into the ditch, and had to lie there crying about it for a while. But, I’m back now, and going to work crazy hard (emphasis on the crazy) to get back on track. But if we never catch up, we are not going to beat ourselves up about it, because if we do that, then we will feel more and more stressed and then quit. And we cannot have that. We have also been using the royal we all this time and we don’t care because REASONS.

Writing Excuses Podcast Episode 10.16

The funny thing is, I took copious notes on this several days ago, but my son decided that writing was never going to happen while he was awake. That’s the first push-off the bandwagon I had. But I can’t blame him entirely.

Beginnings are still really hard, and I like that they say don’t write the first pages first. I often write the end before I write the beginning. The end often gets changed by the time I get to the end, but that’s fine. It’s a good ride to get there.

Mary gives us a good example of how the opening pages feel, like we are in a dark room and we are only shining around a flashlight to figure out our tone and our promises to be made.

Howard also talks about taking the paragraph and flipping the paragraph upside down. The last line needs to be first, often times. It’s an interesting problem that I hadn’t ever though about, and I may do this more often.

I also really like the idea that you should stress the first page and not necessarily the first lines. Specifically what’s important to the character, what they want.

This keeps getting stressed and I feel like I should stress it, too. Everyone wants something, and that’s what we focus on.

I want to write, more so, I want to write for people. So everything I do aims toward that goal. But I’m more complex than that. I also want my son to be happy and my husband, so I do everything in my power to make that happen. Even forgoing what I want to do (sit at my computer and write all day) to do things for them. Play with my son, cuddle my husband, or cook dinner for them that they enjoy. All things that makes them feel loved and happy and full fills what I am striving to do.

Writing Prompt

Write your first thirteen lines, and see how much you can fit into that space—character attitude, point-of-view, mood, genre, conflict, setting, and more.

The reason they give this prompt is because standard manuscript format means that the first page will only be thirteen lines. My Scrivener application will compile manuscripts like this, so I can easily see how the first page of my manuscript will look.

So, what does the first thirteen lines look like in my book?

"Normally, I never question your orders. I kill when you
tell me and when you are paying me. But this time it's too
risky. Convince me."
     "Ha! You're speaking like one of my clerks. You're sitting
in my office, drinking my bourbon, asking me to justify my
actions for the betterment of this world to you?"
     "I'm drinking a fine drink offered to me, along with a
comfortable chair, asking you to justify my actions to me."
     "Are you getting soft?"
     Silence.
     "I'll take that as no. We're shaping the course of events,"

So, what does this tell us about the book we are about to read?

  1. This is very spy like.
  2. There is conflict going on before we even get off the ground.
  3. The author isn’t going to tell us everything up front.

I’d say that hits all the marks it’s supposed to.

BOOM! NEXT.

#writingexcuseschallenge Day 2

Day 2! And it’s 10pm. Better than last night, but not by much. At least, I’m sitting down and doing it.

As I was listening to the podcast for today’s prompts, I realized that it would have been better if I’d taken ideas from the book I want to work on for the next 52 days, not the ones that I did. Either way, it’s a valuable exercise.

So Episode 2 of Season 10 cracks off with the intent of showing us how to use the ideas that we come up with in writing. How to turn them into a story. I love that Mary talks about what kind of black market would spring up around an idea in the story. It seems like a perfect way to come up with conflict, also her trying to find a way that the idea would be misused in the context of the story. Also, Brandon talks about worldbuilding and how the simplest thing can “ruin someone’s day”. Who would it hurt or help? Who has a stake and who has agency?

One of our writing prompts is combining ideas, and Brandon talks about this one, that it’s important to do so. I like the idea of combining the two things, but not going for the low hanging fruit.

Speaking of low hanging fruit, I also love the idea from Mary about not going for the most complicated thing, as it may be the least plausible. It makes lots of sense. Make them into a milliner.

With all these things in mind, here is what I came up with for today’s homework.

Take two of them and combine them into one story.
What if you took the messenger one and the saltine premise, and that’s how they meet. The girl is sitting there eating crackers.

Take one and change the genre underneath it.
The scene about the ships exploding with the woman singing a song. Take it, and instead of it being essentially fantasy turn it into a sci-fi. The only problem is jumping overboard? Nah, you can throw them into an escape pod. And they can still get picked up by Brian, whole and happy.

Take one and change the ages and genders of everybody you had in mind for it.
This one is more difficult. Do I take the one about the baby from Season 2 of Avatar? Can’t do that, that’s fixed, it’s someone else’s world. The other one is different. I didn’t actually have any characters in mind for that one. It’s harder. So, my first inclination is to have it be girls, but in that process, I would have realized that boys doing this job would be the best. However, then I would want to have a girl to take down the nest and be one of the only girls in the squad. So back to a young girl. But why not an older one? Just an older lady, maybe she’s bored. Needs something to do with the kids gone. So she jumps into this head one. Get some good cash. So she joins up and is the best person they’ve had in ages. And she doesn’t bloody quit.

Take the last one and have the character make the opposite choice.
Oh dear. What choice does Baby Hope have to make? The choice to become an earth bender? Nah, that’s an obvious choice. She goes to earth bending school and then she… what… has the choice of joining the army or… I don’t think I know enough about the world to make a choice. Maybe she falls in love and has to stay with him or go to the war? What if she stays with him and the war finds her anyway and she has to go? What if she goes and he dies in the war? What if the whole thing is to choose the ending? Read both ways the story could end.
As I wrap up the second day, I’m starting to be glad I did this. This, for me, is exactly what I need right now. My baby is a wonderful thing to be occupying me all day, but I need to write. It really is how I breathe. I’m more snappish and cranky with my husband if I don’t write. Maybe not a breathing metaphor, then. Maybe, writing is more like food.

Let’s see how tomorrow goes.