Living in a Dream

Sometimes I just think too much

Archive for the tag “novel”

The New Approach

Dreams are fickle things. As are resolutions, elections, vacations, and everyday lives.

I am not even going to mention trying to edit a novel. Right now that just isn’t going to happen. Why? Because apparently I am terrible at editing. I would much rather write another story that might actually come together without major rewrites. And given my history of ‘pantsing’ these stories I thought I would try to do something a little different this time.

I am actually taking notes on the chapters I want to write. The notes consist of who, what, where, and bread crumbs on the tone of the chapter.

For example:

George goes to the movies with Eric and Sandra. They are going to see an action film that is supposed to be a little scary but not too much because Eric screams like a girl. Lucas is trailing behind keeping a close eye on Sandra. He has been watching over her since she was a baby and knows that she can often find trouble where there is none. 

As the movie plays George gets up to go get popcorn and something to drink. When he gets back he gives the drink to Sandra, who after drinking it passes out. George and Eric take her outside.

Okay that’s a really short version of what my notes look like, but you get the idea. The main point of these notes is to give me a guide that will point out the pitfalls and introduce people as I need them without getting wrapped up in their backstories.

Though I will admit that some of that sneaks in. When it happens I simply cut that bit out and move it over to the bio page for that person. 😀

The secondary point of these notes is to allow me to rearrange the chapters without having the actual chapters getting in the way. Since I’m doing this before I start writing I’m less likely to put something in that won’t work if the chapter gets moved.

Let’s hear it for organized chaos.

And if you don’t think it’s chaos, just wait till I print these pages out! It’ll be arts and crafts week at summer camp. 😉


Rewriting the bible

In this case I’m talking about the bible I use when I’m writing my novel. I got the idea/suggestion from another blog or article I read a while back. Shamefully I didn’t bookmark it so I have no idea where it is or who said it.

I’m sure the idea of having a notebook filled with character information, locations, and other important facts for a book is not uncommon. I’ve done versions of it on 3×5 note cards in the past and it turned out disastrous.

For example: I would come up with a character that I thought was wonderful. Absolutely perfect for the story I wanted to tell. Then as I began actually writing I’d find out that this person was as one dimensional as you could get. There was not person in the character I had created.

So I would throw the note card away.

I would rewrite the character completely and start over trying to fit this new character into the old character’s spot. Trouble was that most of the time the situations that came about after the setup were because of how the original character acted.

And of course by this time the trash had been taken to the dump along with the character I had fallen in love with in the beginning.

So the notecard idea wasn’t going to work for me.

My next attempt was putting those notes into a notebook. That worked out well. Until I had to add more characters and locations. Or a new interesting fact came up. Or I would get distracted by a back story and have a whole notebook filled with events that had happened so long ago that no one in the current book gave a damn about them.

And then of course there was the constantly changing face of my characters.

Between and I have literally thousands and millions of faces to inspire a character. I’d find one and the next thing you know I have found an even better one.

So what’s a writer to do?

Get a blank 9×11 sketchbook (hardbound with an elastic closure)
Get a pair of scissors
Get tape
Get a stapler
Get a yellow pad of paper (or notebook)

And rewrite the bible to your hearts content.

Your characters are going to evolve from your concept into people with their own voice and opinions about who their are. It’s nice to document the journey all the while staying true to the Idea you had in the beginning . 🙂

For the love of….

How do you know you’re going to do something, until you do it?

J. D. Salinger

Feel free to input what ever you’d like at the end of the title. Mine ranged from “driver’s ed” to “flying pink pokadots” while I was driving back to work yesterday.

And yes, for those of you keeping track of my life- yesterday was my day off. But when your boss screams ‘help, I don’t know what’s going on’ days off are like smoke. In this case there was nothing I could have done because of one little detail JJ forgot to mention. The entire county was cut off from the internet.

Just a small detail.

And of course along with that their phones were out too. 😦

But that wasn’t what had me thinking up new and strange ending for the phrase “for the love of….”

No, that award goes to the 3 vehicles who insisted that every curve was going to run them into a brick wall or make them drive right off a cliff.

You think I’m joking?

You know that gentle curve that you can see both ends of as you approach? Maybe a 2 degree bend in the road?

These people were slowing down to 15 mph to go around it.

This would have been just an exercise of patience if not for the fact that I just had an hour of practice not 20 minutes before. So what is a poor frustrated girl to do?

I can’t pass (curves of doom and all).

I can’t honk my horn because the guy in front won’t hear it (4th car in line and all).

And did I mention I wasn’t driving my car? I was in my husbands and my phone isn’t hooked up to his system. So no music either.

I play the word game. Come up with the most ridiculous ending of a phrase that I can possibly think of and use it as a catchphrase for one of my characters. 😛

See, even without working at the keyboard I’m still working. 😉

Give it a try

Yes, I know I should be working. And in this case I actually am. Well, not right now, but I spent most of the morning working on Characters and a little on the world building. And I’ll be working on them again this afternoon.

I am currently using a couple of questionnaires to help with my building projects. Both are fairly in depth and can be found online. The Character Sheet can be found here and the World Building Questionnaire is here. And while I thought I had a pretty good grasp of how things worked in my world and who my characters are, I have to tell you I really really didn’t. 🙂

It has taken me a few weeks just to get as far as I have, which isn’t far at all. But in my defense I have had to work and of course there is the Stanley Cup series going on. 😛

And life returns

Yes, I know. It has been months and months since I’ve updated here. To be fair I have had a busy winter and an even busier spring.

Not that I have a lot to show for it. 🙂

I had planned on getting a manuscript together for some beta readers later this year, but discovered that I need to do quite a bit of work on it before that can happen. And naturally the small issues rapidly evolved into major issues. Issues like- one event taking place earlier in the story changes how some of the characters interact with each other later on in the story.

Another issue was that some of the characters were becoming too polarized when they were meant to be like everyday normal people who are neither one way nor the other.


So for the past 3 months I have been trying to get the back story fleshed out as well as some world building done.

You would think that I would have done this prior to all my work in November and December. And I really should have, but… you knew that was coming right? …I just don’t work that way.

And then my day job got hectic. My dentist is planning a trip to Disneyland on the profits from my visits. And of course there is the daily life I have at home. I will do it because I want to and that is all that really matters. 😀

What we anticipate seldom occurs; what we least expected generally happens.-Benjamin Disraeli


Sometimes the news is a very hard thing to escape from. 😦 And it seems these days that it is even harder to get any information out of it at all. This is why I like reading newspapers, magazines, blogs, or any other type of written news rather than watching it. The information makes more sense to me rather than trying to sift through spoken words that may or may not have the intended meaning of the speaker.

It is also a lot harder to get lost in the moment of news when you have to wait for the written version instead of the spoken one. You don’t get up to date numbers or the endless gaps where the reporter has to repeat what they have been saying for the last 10 minutes until something new comes to light. At least not the same ‘up to date’.

I’ve had a fascination for the written word ever since my Grandmother and I read Anne of Green Gables together. At the time words didn’t make sense to me. My spelling, writing, and reading skills were barely good enough to let me move from one grade to another. The words just didn’t make sense. They didn’t sound like how they were written and to a kid already struggling it was one more frustration I wasn’t going to deal with. But- my Grandmother taught me differently. There were worlds beyond this one more real in those words than the one I was living in.

So here I am again bitten by the Writing Bug and trying to be a little more…prepared…for this next attempt at writing a story like I’ve always wanted to do. And it amazes me that the world I’m creating with words is becoming a bit more real day by day. I can see the landscapes and people in it just as if I was dreaming or calling up a memory. And to be honest it can be a little creepy at times, but then again I  find real life to be a bit creepy at times so it is comfortable there. 😀

The funny thing is-
I haven’t written a word yet. I’m in the designing phase of this work, but it still seems more real to me than my last attempt at NaNo. I may even decide to go ahead with writing the rough draft before next NaNo begins. Though I’m not sure. I like having the extra motivation that NaNo provides. 😀 And I do like wining.

So we’ll see.


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