The blog for The Solitaire Rose Experience. Yes, the blog revolution is utterly and completely over. However, I haven't figured that out yet, so I'll be listing articles, ideas, links, and other internet debris. Now, you can join in! And be mocked mercilessly!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

NaNoWriMo Day 5


Yep, still ahead, and to be honest, I could have written a lot longer today, but decided to stop so that I could get a few things done before going to work.

I had a job interview today. I think it went well, but then don't I always? They said nice things, and asked a lot of questions, I tried to seem eager, intelligent and dutiful, so we'll see where it goes.

When I got home, I wanted to just go back to bed and get some more sleep, but instead I puttered on the internet and then firing up the word processor. I thought I'd written a lot more when I did my word count, because I'd finished up the second chapter and wrote a sequence I was quite proud of:

We stood there for a moment, not uncomfortably. We didn't need to fill the silence with a lot of words. We had known each other since she'd started coming around with Eddie, and like I said, Eddie was lucky to have found her. He was also a bastard for keeping her in the dark so long about what he did. What is it with us where we feel we need to keep things from the people in our lives? Are we scared they will see through all of our pretty bullshit and when they do, they'll quietly tell us that they were mistaken and take their leave of us? Will it confirm all of our dead of night thoughts that we're a secret fraud and we have them fooled by the dazzle, the lights, the promos and the big loud noises we make?

“I won't be gone that long again,” I said, and meant it.

I started the third chapter with a sequence that at first glance seems like it doesn't belong, but I decided to add it for two reasons:

1)I want to show my protagonist's character. WHY does he do this job? Why is he a PI? What is his motivation?
2)Why is his girlfriend part of the story? Reading the Travis McGee novels makes me really want to make the female characters in my writing seem as complex as the lead character just so they don't become the “adoring girl friend who echoes the hero” that the women in the McGee books seem to be. Now, I can tell that MacDonald is trying to make them more than that...and I've only read a few of the early books, but they really stand out to me. I also want to show more of their relationship so that it has a deeper resonance when it is peril.

Good writing day overall.

I also spent time today thinking about motivation and character. I read a column by Dennis O'Neil, former comic book editor and writer who has some really great stories under his belt as well as a few clunkers. I also have to admit that I didn't like his editorial take on Batman, and while there were good stories under his editorial tenure, it always felt like they were despite his vision of the character than because of it.

He wrote that when you create a character, you need to write out their motivations:

*What does my character always want?
*Who or what does he love?
*What is he afraid of?
*Why does he involve himself in extreme situations?

Do I sit down and write these things out when I start a novel?


Let me repeat that, I do not do this sort of thing.

Partly because when I sit down to write, a lot of the characters are wholly created PEOPLE in my head, and I turn myself over to their voice. Lightning (yeah, most of the time he's referred to like that because in pro wrasslin, people call each other by their ring names, even away from the ring. His name is Dan, but the only people who call him that aren't in the wrasslin' world) has a different voice than his girlfriend Katy, who has a different voice than Mikey who brought in the case and so on. I KNOW them, same I as I know my friend Joe and how different he is from my friends Scott or Dan.

Partly because when I write a first draft, I'm letting the story take over. I've written a few times here about when I do NaNo how the story takes over and there are times I don't know what will happen next. Well, to be honest, I've been doing NaNo so long that all of my writing is like that now. I have sketched out the webstrip for the first two years, and while I are aiming for gags....there are things that I've written that have surprised me. And to me, that's the fun of writing.

For this novel, I know the plot, and I know what happened to set everything up, but how the plot is revealed and how the characters interact and interplay is all new to me.

So, now that I've written Lightning for a while I can answer those questions, even though I couldn't do it before I started:

*What does my character always want?

He wants to take care of his friends. He's gotten away from it and lost that part of him, but when you learn Professional Wrestling, you learn that your main job to make sure the other guy doesn't get hurt. You take care of your partner. This is what drives him, taking care of his partner, be it Katy, a client who is down on their luck or one of the people who used to be in the business with. THAT is why he took the case and it's why he'll keep digging until the bitter end.

*Who or what does he love?

Katy, his brothers in the business and his self image of being a good guy, which has taken a terrible beating as he works divorce cases, disability scams and the like.

*What is he afraid of?

That's he's becoming a guy who lives to win, even when winning means it ruins someone's life. He's scared of being the guy who gets the picture of the wife in a hotel with a man and forgets that now the kids will be dealing with divorced parents.

*Why does he involve himself in extreme situations?

He doesn't, but he will in this case because he was asked to by a friend. Once he's in, he can't walk away. He has to see it through to the end or he's let them down...and he's already let them down by losing touch and walking away from the business.

I'll be honest, though, I didn't know all that stuff before I started writing. I know what the characters NEED to do to move the plot forward, but I don't know WHY until I spend some time with them, listen to them talk and walk around with them in my mind.

I doubt other people write that way, but it's the only way I know how.


Post a Comment

<< Home