The Horrors of Non-Writers & Writing in Public (Plus a Resolution to the Last Post)

We went to the park earlier, so my siblings could play with a few other kids their age.  Nobody was there my age, so, of course, I brought my notebooks.  I unfortunately didn’t get to do really any writing (about 70 words all in total), since I ended up chasing the two year old all around (he had fun going down the shortest slide there and saying “Wheeee!” almost after he got to the bottom).  But anyway, we got there, and I sat down and pulled my notebook out, all ready to continue with the scene I’d started this morning.  One of my mom’s homeschool friends sees me, and she’s like, “What’re you writing?”

My response, of course is just the vague statement of, “A story.”

And so she goes, “Of what?”

For a moment, I panicked.  I almost thought she was asking me what my story was about.  And how am I supposed to answer that?  I mean, of course, I know what my story is about.  I’m nearly forty thousand words into it, so I should hope I have at least a general direction to go in.  But as some of you can probably relate to, I hate telling anybody about it.  Especially to people who I’m afraid might judge me for writing fantasy, but really, to anybody in general.  Even family.  Ugh, no, especially family.

After those first few seconds, I realized she wasn’t actually asking that.  I’m not sure exactly what she was asking, but I said, “It’s fiction.  For myself.”  That seemed to satisfy her, but then she goes and makes the next mistake by jokingly suggesting that I should “include” her into the story.

Um…okay.  I don’t even know what your name is.  I doubt you even remember who I am, really, aside from the daughter of a fellow homeschooler.  And you’re asking me to make a character out of you?  Fine.  I’ll make you into one of those characters you only see once, because they end up dead after that or something.  The lady with the sunglasses and the really sugary voice that was talking to you about how expensive ice-cream is and then wound up dead for being associated with you because there’s a really evil villain in this story.  Or something.

So then our other friend gets to the park, the one we were originally going to meet, and the first thing she says when she sees me is, “Homework, still?”

Gosh.  Does anybody write things anymore that aren’t for school?  I told this lady pretty much the same thing: “No, it’s fictional stuff for myself.  I finished school early, actually.”  Thankfully, she left it at that and didn’t say anything more.  That might have been because then she was saying hello to my mother, but still.

And that is one of the many reasons I don’t like writing where there are other human beings. Non-writers can be so ignorant sometimes… it’s not their fault, but it can be slightly annoying.  The other big reason is mostly that it’s hard to concentrate on writing something when my siblings are coming up to me and asking pointless questions like, “What should I eat for lunch?”

“Um…whatever you like to eat?  I don’t know, I’m writing, go away.”

So that was my day.  Anybody else have some, ahem, fun with writing lately?

On a slightly different note, I made up my mind about what I was talking about in my last post.  I’m going to keep writing on the current project, at least for a little longer.  Mostly, that decision was made by the inspiration for the other story coming to a total and abrupt halt (though I did get about a thousand words out of it beforehand), but also that I looked at my bar on the side for how many days I’d been writing in a row on that one story.  At the time, I think it was about 21 days (though you can see now that it’s 25, as of this very moment).  That’s awfully close to thirty.  So, what I’m going to do is make it to that bloody thirty.  Then, if I still want to switch, I’ll switch.   But I’m going to make a full month before I stop.


The Middle….Ugh.

Right now, I find myself facing the middle of my novel. I think this is the spot where I shift from my villain going after the main characters to the main characters going after the villain. Problem is, I just swept out my villain’s motivation from under her feet. All of a sudden, she’s got nothing to do….and no reason to do anything.

Hmm. I have plenty for my main characters to do, but I’m not sure I can really let them do anything until my villain starts doing something again, but even if I find something for her to do, she has no motivation for anything anymore! She’s useless!

This is one of those problems, I think, where outlininers tell discovery-writers, “This is why I outline. So I don’t run into plot holes like that.” And it’s true. If I had fully outlined, (instead of just outlining the first two chapters), then I wouldn’t be having this problem. Things probably would have turned out far different, so there wouldn’t be a plot hole. Hmm.

But, I didn’t outline. I’m a seat-of-your-pants writer and I did that—pantsed. And so here I am, facing that ginormous plot hole in the wall. Or ceiling. Or both.

At the moment, the only thing I can think of to solve this is to bring in another villain, to steal the show for a little until my main villain can pull herself back together. Problem is, I’m not very good at creating villains… They’re always hard. I love writing them, but creating them always seems to be a pain.

Well. Guess I’ll have to figure something out. Especially since I didn’t get a chance to write anything yesterday, so I’m going to end up falling behind if I don’t write.

Review of Camp Day #1

Today is a beautiful morning, with clear blue skies (but then, we almost never get anything but that where I live) and noisy little siblings. Today is April 2nd. But blue skies is not what I’m thinking about this morning. I’m thinking about what happened yesterday, the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo.

The day before yesterday, I was brainstorming to make sure I was all set for Camp and knew where I was going with the book. And I had a pretty fair idea. I had two main characters, a plot, some problems to be solved, some magic, and and half-developed villain. I even knew that I was going to write the book in tight third person, switching PoV between my two main characters and my villain. Why the villain? Because I thought it might be fun, and her story is important enough to the plot to be told through her eyes.

I wrote the villain’s chapter yesterday. Guess what happened?

Now, I’m sure you’re thinking that I made some amazing discovery. A plot twist, perhaps. A new, better plot. Some new characters. No, I wish, and nope. What did I do? I lost my villain.

Let me explain.

My villain character has a troubled past, as all villains (and often protagonists) have. Her parents are dead (both her real ones and the ones that adopted her), and she hasn’t heard from her brother in six months, ever since they got into an argument and he left. She’s got a temper and her magic isn’t the most…awe-worthy, to put it nicely.

Sound like a nice villain? Guess again.

As I started to write her, her personality just fell into place. She immediately showed me who she was and who she was going to be. She wasn’t going to be a villain. She’s not evil, or even mean. Not in the slightest. She’s a little troubled, but not villainish. She likes giving people nicknames. She loves her brother a lot. She’s a good cook.

Still sound like a villain? I didn’t think so, either! She’s just not a villain, and I can’t force her to be one. She’s a very fun-to-write character who would make a far better protagonist than antagonist.

But…now I have three main characters and no villains! Hm. That sounds a tad bit problematic.

I haven’t quite decided what to do about this yet. At the moment, I’m just going to keep writing and hope a new villain pops up on his/her own. I do have another character who I know is crucial to the plot, though I don’t know how, and she doesn’t have a personality yet. She may be able to fit into the villain role—but then again, she might decide not to listen to me, either.

Wish me luck!