Friday, June 30, 2017

Last Minute Plotting

I'm continuing with my amazing skill at writing vague summaries that make the story sound way cooler that it probably will be. I was just doing a little scribbling, trying to get the backstory and setting worked out, and I came up with this:

The Lower World was uncovered some years ago at the bottom of a mine shaft. It's an endless labyrinth of tunnels, marked by ruins of some forgotten civilization. The inhabitants have long since vanished.

Or have they?

Have they just moved further down into the darkness? What still hides in the shadows?

Several expeditions were sent, led by Professor Harcourt "Harry" DeWitt, in an effort to map the Lower World and learn of its former inhabitants. On one such journey to the highest city, not far beyond the modern, human realm, DeWitt even brought his preteen daughter, the adventurous Catherine. She grew up among the ruins and the artifacts, learning the lost language of Subterranea.

And now, on a recently funded expedition to the lower reaches, the professor and his team vanished. A rescue team found nothing, and risked becoming lost themselves.

So Catherine, now grown and an explorer in her own right, must seek out a man with unusual skills, if she ever hopes to find her father.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

To Hell on a Handcar

After writing my last post, I did in fact play a lot of Minecraft. What I can tell you about spending most of your time underground is that you really lose track of time. There's no day, no night, only artificial light. Then you come above ground and you're surprised to find it's dark out, because it's always light where you've been. It's disorienting. I don't know if that's going to have any bearing on this next story, but it's certainly something to consider.

Now, in addition to digging all those tunnels, as I do, I've been laying rails. Minecarts. Transport. All that. So there's that railroad. Then I've just finished that story that starts on a train. And I'm nearly through Terry Pratchett's Raising Steam, which is about, you guessed it, trains. So I have trains on the brain. And I had a thought for the introduction of my main character, occult detective, who still doesn't have a name. And wouldn't you know it, it involves a train.

Imagine this: the story opens on some… something… happening, deep underground. A murder. A mysterious shadow in the dimly lit tunnels. I don't know. It's the teaser before the opening credits, if you will. We leave that unresolved a cut to our hero, on a train from somewhere. Maybe he's on his way back from his last job. He's about to be recruited by Miss DeWitt, on a mission of utmost importance.

Friday, June 23, 2017

For the Love of Clichés

Ah, romance.

I swing wildly between thinking the romantic aspect of my story is going to be the easiest or the hardest part. "Oh sure, I'll just throw these people together and they'll grow to like each other." "Wait, is this a horribly clichéd and contrived plot?"

Now, I've never read a romance novel. I've considered it, for research purposes. But they always sound so boring. It all "Sassy von Heroine spent her life doing X, but everything changed when she met Hero McStudPants." And I don't know if those are just the crappy ones, but that's what I keep seeing. So I just googled "best contemporary romance novels," clicked the first thing that wasn't Fifty Shades… and well, I'm not impressed with that either. I just don't see the appeal.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Will the Plot Ever Twist or Will I Still Resist?

I have so much to do for my next project, and only about two weeks to do it. It feels like such a big undertaking and I don't where to begin.

I need characters.

I need a setting

I need a plot.

You can see the problem. I mean, sure, I have some vague ideas. But it's a far cry from an actual outline.

But we're not going to talk about my shortcomings. Not those shortcomings, anyway. No, we're going to talk about a vital piece of plot that I've never really managed to use.

The Plot Twist.

Friday, June 16, 2017

A Review on Revisions

As promised, I read over Draft Two of "My Soul to Take," made a few revisions, and here it is.

So go ahead and read that, because we're going to talk about it.

First off, my whole determination to have a proper omniscience narrator didn't really work out. The whole point of that was to explain the soul thing, because most people don't really grasp the metaphysical junk going on around them. But then Evie just says, "…it ripped something out of them. Like it tore their souls out." And boom, there we are. Souls and things that eat them. So maybe I don't need an omniscient narrator. Or maybe I'm still just no good at writing one.

Second, I have some interesting descriptions. I was trying to think outside the box and not use the same tired old phrases. Because I fall back on the same tired old phrases all the time. So I tried to get creative.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Second Time Around

Draft Two of "My Soul to Take" is, for all intents and purposes, done. And I'm pretty pleased with it. Half the time when I finish something, I just want to put it in a box, in a drawer, in a locked basement, and forget about it for a while. But this one… I like it. I'm not angry and frustrated at it.

So, some highlights.

Just past the midpoint of the story, Jake was starting to not be a total selfish asshole. He'd found a possible way out, but then Evie was in trouble, and he decided to go back and he ran in for his Big Damn Heroes moment.

So in all that, I wrote a paragraph. It was just a paragraph, to get everyone where they needed to be for the next scene. But the more I read it over, the more I like it.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Consequences of Vagueness

Outlining is great. We’ve learned this. We can put all our plot points onto a line and see the skeleton of our story.

But it's just that. A skeleton. It doesn't have any tissue or muscle or ligaments. No juicy bits to bring the skeleton to life. That's what actual, you know, story is for. The scenes and the action and the dialogue. And that all comes later.

The problem arises when later comes and you realize you don't know what's supposed to go on this part of the skeleton.  We know the general shape of it, from the bones, but is this supposed to be a hand or a flipper or a wing? The squishy parts are unclear.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Digging Deep

It's hard to finish one project when you have all these ideas for the next one. So I'm trying to figure out how Jake and Evie are going to escape the soul-eating entity, but then I'm thinking about subterranean worlds in 1912, government psy-ops programs, nerdy romance, and coal mines.

So I'm going to give you an idea of all the stuff I've been looking through.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Antihero's Journey

There's another session of Camp NaNoWriMo in July, and oh my god, I'm so excited!

That right there, that's why I keep doing NaNo. If I ever stop looking forward to it, then I guess that's when I'll stop.

So as it stands, I'm planning on doing my Subterranean Detective Romance for July. That gives me a month to finish what I'm doing and get some kind of plan going. There's a lot of research I need to do for this. I have a whole list of things I need to look into. I think I'll get into that next time.

Today, we're still working on that silly train story. I wrote about 860 more words last night, so I've nearly doubled what I already had. If we're going by my little plot arc thing, I've covered the first four plot points, and am about to reach the fifth.

It's been interesting, this antihero business. I mean, usually your heroes are… heroic. Moral and noble, albeit with their flaws. Jake Barlow is… well, he's an asshole. Also a murderer, but I feel like that's beside the point. Well, I mean, he doesn't have much of a soul, on account of all the murdering, so that probably contributes to his attitude.

That was an issue I had in the first draft. He was supposed to be this indifferent sociopath, but he came off more as just a guy who happened to kill people. I've been trying to fix that this time around.