August 26 2014

The Truth about August Blackstone

My main character’s name is August Blackstone, at least that’s what I think her name is (she’s named after her grandfather Augustus “Gus” Blackstone). She’s bisexual, in her early thirties, a journalist, and she’s in that phase of life where she’s contemplating what to do next because her grandfather just died and left her a cottage in Black River, SC… Out in the middle of nowhere, but it’s on a lake and it’s gorgeous. Her girlfriend Stacy tells her that going to the funeral is one thing but leaving for a week is irresponsible… Stacy is selfish, controlling, and uses August as a babysitter for her six year old daughter Colby…She tells August if she leaves for more than a week then not to bother coming back.. She changes her mind quickly after she finds out that August has inherited a historic cottage on seventeen acres of riverfront property, and a little over a million and a half. But August came to her senses where Stacy was concerned before she found out about the property or the money, especially after she finds out that her family is cursed. She also meets Dylan Thomas, the sweet, talented and hot, musician who is taking a break from music and being on the road, and working at his father’s hardware store until he figures out what he wants to do.

Quotation-Armistead-Maupin-equality-gay-family-Meetville-Quotes-158896

She and Dylan fall in love. People, some of whom are friends and family, ask her if she’s past the lesbian phase, if she’s switched sides, if Dylan is alright with her being a bisexual hinting at whether or not he’s okay with threesomes or if maybe he’ll “allow” her to have a girlfriend on the side… BUT August is monogamous. She tries to explain that being a bisexual doesn’t equate infidelity, or having your cake and eating it too,  nor is it a phase. She’s not any more or less bisexual now that she’s with a man than she was when she was with a woman.

It matters not who you love

Dylan’s friends tease him. They give him high fives because he “converted” the lesbian…or “man, you’re the luckiest guy on Earth, what I wouldn’t give for my girlfriend to be bi,” or the “will you be watching or participating or both?” Dylan isn’t into sharing, and is monogamous as well, and though he accepts August the way she is, he wishes other people weren’t stupid and didn’t have to attach labels to everything.

I am human

The fact that they live in a small town in the South doesn’t help matters much, but they learn to deal with things, even the family curse and idiocy of people, as they pursue a way to undo the Blackstone Curse…

dequeered me

For a while I contemplated on whether or not to ignore the sexuality question when writing the book. Just make the book about the family curse and leave the whole sexuality thing out of it.. or perhaps the main character’s cousin Micah could be bisexual and the issues would be hers, not the MC’s, which wouldn’t make the book so much about the issue of sexuality, or bisexuality specifically, but more as a subplot. Would it put it in a specific genre if I continue with the MC being bisexual if her sexuality is only a small part of the book? Not sure about that part… The book itself is more about paranormal, romance, family, friendship, love, honor, obligation, and trust. August is psychic, she has visions in her dreams, and on occasion when she’s awake, of the future or the past (when she touches something). The curse came from a voodoo witch more than a hundred and fifty years ago.

Pondering plot, subplots, theme, and issues… Hmmm…

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May 19 2014

Finally something I can feel really good about

I finished April’s Camp with my required word count, but didn’t feel good about the novel at all. It was forced. Headed in a completely different direction, the characters were trite, the words weren’t meshing with the concept I had. I wasn’t happy with it, not at all. But I learned a great deal from the process. I learned that I’m truly a plotster. I need to plot the main ideas, and let the rest flow, otherwise I’m trying too hard and the words don’t flow. No matter which way I’ve tried, I’m mostly a panster who needs the basics to stay on track but plotting makes my skin crawl and my brain freeze.

pantser quote

Cut twenty-five. Take one hundred and seven. Just Kidding. I have no idea of how many starts and stops, beginnings I’ve trashed, or WIP’s I’ve put in the back of the computer closet in order to get to a place where I feel really good about what I’m working on. What feels like the ONE, Just call me NEO. Seriously though, I’ve got at least thirty folders pushed to the side on my computer that were the beginning of a novel, only to find it just didn’t feel right. Maybe it’s because I was trying to be the kind of writer I thought I should be instead of the kind of writer I am.

Current Work in Progress
Current Work in Progress

Now I am finally at a place where I feel really good about what I’m working on. The first idea that came to me over two years ago, when my then fiance was telling me I could do it, that he believe in me, and there was no reason why I couldn’t write a novel (he’s read my poetry, I’d told him about my short stories and how I used to write but put writing on the back burner because of …well various reasons, but mostly because I allowed what others said to influence me, to negate my own feelings of self-worth and my dreams). That idea stayed in the back of my mind, with each and every WIP I started and tossed it was right there poking and prodding its way to the surface of my conscience saying, “Excuse me! You’re on to something here…Go with it! Find your way!… Excuse me! It doesn’t matter what others think or do, it only matters what you can do and are willing to do…”

Writing on a bad day

I stopped second guessing myself halfway through April’s Camp and started writing so I could figure out what worked best for me. I’d found myself reading books like “The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing,” or “Save the Cat,” along with various other writing books, and I realized that I’d backed myself into a corner of starting but not finishing because I didn’t have the right kind of plan, because I was so focused on the outline or the plan or the process or the genre or the rules or the structure…that I’d lost my great idea. I lost my way because I was constantly second guessing myself as a writer.

Happiness

I’ve written about this before. I’ve written about the differences between plotting, pantsing, and somewhere in between. I’ve written about my ideas, my inspiration…I took a break from blogging, writing, etc after Camp. I needed a break. I needed to figure out where I was as a writer, what I really wanted to do, what kind of writer I wanted to be, and whether or not it was something that was a pipe dream, a hobby, or something I truly felt called to do.

untold story

I am a writer. Whether I ever publish a novel or not, I’m a writer. I’m not a plotter/planner/outliner, though I wish like hell I was. I’m not a full blown pantser either. I need some organization, some planning, or I’ll go off on tangents, which is par for the course with ADHD, and I’ll never finish or if I do it will need more than a shovel for editing, but a bulldozer.

After much thought, inspiration, and soul searching I’ve finally found that sweet spot in my writing. My happy place as a writer. At least, I’ve found what works for me. Maybe this time it will work, and I’ll manage to write my way through to the end with a novel that I don’t feel is forced, drivel, or not worth the ink and paper to print to edit.

Category: Home, Life, NaNoWriMo, Outlining, Writing | Comments Off on Finally something I can feel really good about
April 9 2014

Structure, plotting, and beats oh my

What was I thinking when I signed up for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo? I was already working on a novel. I had already plotted the beginning, middle, and end…Along with the catalyst, the midpoint, the darkest moment, and the B-Story. I know, I lost my ever loving mind. I just lost it! So I decide to plot a completely different novel for Camp NaNo (April) and get most of it in my project in Scrivener, and at the last minute an idea hits me like a ton of bricks! WHOA!

Stop! So I’m working on the structure for that one. Plotting. Reading about plotting, structure, Saving the Cat, and beats…WHAT!?! Somebody has to save a cat? No, no…that’s just the hook…Oh, okay. I got it now. Back to plotting. Back to the dreaded outline. And outlines are not my cup of coffee, they never have been. I spent my first NaNo as a pantster. Then I became a plotster. I tried so hard to be a plotter, but I just get bored with that much detail being put into an outline–I’m long-winded, my outlines don’t look like outlines–No, they look like condensed essays or summaries, a few even look like short stories. And I’ve went through stacks upon stacks of index cards because there just isn’t enough room on one to write it all down.

CUT! Cut! I said cut! Okay, so that type of outlining doesn’t work for me. I wish like hell it did, but it doesn’t. So I condense my index cards to three-four word sentences, or phrases. And the whole while my inner editor, bitch that she is, is screaming. I can hear her as I write those short sentences or phrases. I finally yell back, “It’s just a friggin’ outline!” Okay, I feel better now.

I’ve looked at way too many beat sheets. One too many writing resources about structure. It’s all starting to run together. I go back to the Cat. 15 beats. Only when I look at the list I automatically want to convert the pages for the screenplay into novel pages. Where does the inciting incident go in a novel? Where is that rascally rabbit called the First Plot Point and where does he go? My goodness, don’t forget about the Set Up. So I read some more. Found examples. And wouldn’t you know I found this great post about Harry Potter and structure. Complete with diagrams, percentages, and examples that my overloaded plotster brain can comprehend. If you want to check it out here’s the link. Hell, I even printed out one of the diagrams so I could compare it to the book, which meant I could read the Harry Potter series all over again. (Yes, I realize I’m 46 years old and a grandmother and a wife and a mother and…Reading Harry Potter gave me the same feeling I got the first time I read C.S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia–yes, I’ve reread the series as an adult but  alas my big book is gone and I need to get another–insert extremely sad face here). So on top of trying to write 50K for Camp NaNo, reading several books on structure, along with writing in general, I am also rereading the Harry Potter series. And to be honest, each time I reach my goal I give myself permission to read two-three chapters from Harry Potter, otherwise I’d be curled up on my couch all day reading about Harry’s adventures and my novel for Camp NaNo would develop virtual cobwebs. Last NaNo I rewarded myself with an episode of Supernatural (I was catching up on missed episodes), along with copious amounts of dark chocolate. I’ve done better this time about limiting my amount of chocolate, but I can’t say the same about my reading for pleasure.

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