Writing Notes by Today, I Wrote…

Passionate prose is my PARAMOUR.

January 15

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News Bulletin: Characters Lie

by Ann-Kat

I’ve just discovered something interesting: characters lie.

I decided to test a theory provided in Movies of the Mind: How to Build a Short Story by Colleen Mariah Rae (a good book, btw–review forthcoming) and I was bewildered by the results.

Let me back up for a moment and say that I know that characters have the capacity to lie. But in this exercise, I discovered that the characters can lie to me.

Up until this point, I believed it was impossible because I had the notion that I was god in my characters’ world–knowing and seeing all. (And also because I probably had intrinsically honest characters–none of them had reason to lie.)

This stunning revelation came about when I asked the other characters in my WIP to tell me about Tristan. Somehow he just didn’t seem right, as though he were too stiff and dodgy, and I needed to get to the bottom of it.

After playing detective and threading together their observances, I realized Tristan had been lying to me all along. When I called him out* and asked why, he told me that if I knew the truth I’d paint him in a bad light and people would hate him; he wouldn’t have a shot at redeeming himself. Well, don’t that just beat all?

I empathized with him. Sometimes first impressions can be rough. And mistakes? We’ve all made them. Unfortunately, some mistakes haunt us longer than others and Tristan’s list is ten miles long and five miles wide. But I told him that he isn’t irredeemable–in fact, he is redeemed. (Sort of–hey, we can still lie to our characters too you know.)

Now that I have the full scoop on Tristan, I can go back to revisions with a bit more understanding. Hooray!

* My characters are like real people who’ve taken up residence in my head. We have conversations (and arguments) just like anyone else.

December 13

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Reliving the Story

by Ann-Kat

While I go through each chapter individually, I’m allowing myself to relive the story as though it’s the first time I’m hearing of it. The results of that mindset have been somewhat amazing. It’s allowed me to look at the scene from new eyes and find things that I might otherwise have overlooked.

Following the second draft of the first chapter, I sent it out for a quick critique and one of the responses I received mentioned that my male lead had revealed more of himself this time around, which is a splendid thing.

I’m trying to do the same thing for the second chapter, but I’m finding it a bit difficult to slip out of my male lead’s head and into the female lead’s. They have two distinct voices and I need for that to come through in the writing and style.

Rather than spend time revising chapter 2 today, I do believe I will spend that time interviewing my female lead.

Plus, I’m certain it would help if I could come up with that elusive scene song that captures the mood and mindset of the character.

December 10

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Chapter by Chapter Editing

by Ann-Kat

Yeah, I know that I said I was sticking my novel in a drawer until I was ready to edit it, but I just can’t get it out of my mind; it’s not ready to sleep just yet. So, I find myself doing something interesting: editing chapter by chapter.

Before, I would run off the entire novel (at least, what I had), then read it through and just mark it as I went. Now, I’m only printing off one chapter at a time, beginning from the first. The goal is to tighten up the scenes, edit the language and errors, and overall, polish it, then move on to the next.

Continue reading »

December 5

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The Scene Playlist

by Ann-Kat

Linkin Park Meteora

Linkin Park Meteora

I was stuck in traffic when the song came on. It was by Linkin Park and I suddenly felt inspired to write a particular scene I’d been putting off because of its delicacy.

In that brief moment when I was able to let my mind drift and just listen to the song, the harsh beat (which is my male lead), the melody (who he is inside) and the words (his desires), I suddenly realized it was the song for his revelation.

Naturally, as soon as I got home, I set my iPod to “Repeat One” and wrote like a mad woman. Now, the scene’s not entirely perfect, but I was finally able to get the emotions, the tension, and the revelation out on paper and it was all thanks to a song. Continue reading »

   
 

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