Reading

T5W: Character’s You’d Invite to Your New Year’s Eve Party

Top 5 Wednesday is a tag used by Goodreads readers and other bloggers weekly to discuss books and specific topics. For more information, check out the Goodreads group.

Hmm. I’ve never hosted an all-out New Year’s Eve party, but I’ve been to one of two in my day. This was actually a hard tag for me, as I certainly don’t want to copy the other choices I’ve seen folks make. We’ll see if I’m up for the challenge!

  • Jax from the Air Awakens series by Elise Kova
    • Jax is a beast and a major bag of cats. I think he would be a riot at parties with his wit and charm along with that slightly manic energy that has everyone in a room scratching their heads, feeling slightly uncomfortable, and entertained all at once.
  • Perival Endicott Whyborne from the Whyborne and Griffin series by Jordan L. Hawk
    • This precious little cinnamon roll would feel so awkward at a party and be a wallflower for sure. His shy nature and propensity to shun the spotlight would be a perfect example for fellow introverts. They’d have someone to gravitate towards and stand watching the merrymakers with.
  • Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
    • I mean, he’s a wizard, right? Think of all the magic tricks he could do to wow the crowd! As much of a ham as he is in any situation, he’d be sure to hog the spotlight.
  • Bob from the Hearstrikers series by Rachel Aaron
    • Similar to Jax’s manic energy, Bob would be a must-have addition to any party. The Seer would no doubt be attempting to orchestrate the outcome of every situation to his satisfaction, all while delivering witty, pithy, cryptic remarks that leave everyone baffled and frustrated.
  • Yokozawa Takafumi from Yokozawa Takafumi no Baai by Miyako Fujisaki and Shungiku Nakamura
    • Because every party needs a tsundere in attendance.

Who would you invite to your New Year’s Eve party? Share one of your picks in the comments!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

-Leah

About Me · Indie · Publishing · Reading · Writing

Coming to the End…

I realized yesterday that I am very close to finishing up the first draft of my newest manuscript. This time is always hard for me. It’s not so much hard from a writing perspective, though there certainly are challenges in tying up just enough ends to satisfy the reader. It’s hard for me, because I grow so attached to my characters. I love them. Wrapping up their stories in a satisfying way for me is sometimes hard. I like books that give me hope for their continuing story, even if I’m not there to read about it. I try to give my stories that same quality. At the end of each manuscript, I can only hope I’ve succeeded in doing that very thing.

My manuscript will probably clock out between 80,000 and 90,000 words. My novel I’m currently prepping for publishing is 100,000+, so I feel somewhat sad that I couldn’t extend their journey a bit longer. But sometimes…you just know. For me, I knew yesterday that I would finish the current chapter, write one more, and it would be the end.

At first, I thought I might make it a trilogy. Now, I’m thinking I’ll probably keep the novels as connected, but-could-be-stand-alone works. I like having a world in which characters connect and interact, but each story is a story of its own, too. We’ll see.

Do you ever feel strange when you’re nearing the end of a first draft? For me, there is a strange sense of finality–even though there is SOOOOOOOO much more work to be done to prepare it for publishing. I just get so melancholy and happy at the same time. It is a weird feeling.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you react to the endings of your stories! Are you happy? Sad? Do you treat yourself when you finish a rough draft or do you wait for when you publish? Share!

Thanks for stopping by,

 

L.M.

Writing

When your characters have a plan, but you don’t know what it is…

“I think I have a plan,” Character A said. 

But I didn’t know what his plan was. That’s where I got stumped this morning during my writing time. When I typed those words, I knew it was true for Character A  to have a plan in his mind. He’s a smart guy after all. He figures things out. He’s good at solving puzzles. But I’m not. For a few moments, I sat scratching my head and staring off into space–afraid that Character A’s plan would derail my writing session today, because I didn’t know what his plan was!

I stared at the Sailor Moon wall scroll next to my desk. I watched my rats snuggle in their house. I stared at the carpet. I listened to the “Skyrim OST” on my iTunes. Then, finally, it hit–his plan! I started typing as fast as my fingers could go, afraid I’d forget the snippets of Character A’s plan that had come to my feeble mind. Thus, the writing continued quite smoothly until I’d written over my daily 2,000 word goal. *Whew*. We made it to the other side of Character A’s plan.

Isn’t it awkward when your characters know more about what’s going on in a story than you do? After all, didn’t you design your characters? Didn’t they come from your head to begin with? How is it possible, you might ask, for a character to have a plan and you not know what it is?

That’s a hard question to answer. As I’ve written here before, I truly feel like stories are already created and complete before you start unearthing the words that go with them. That’s why I maintain that Character A had a plan and it was a good one–I just didn’t quite see it yet.

How do we discover the plans our characters have? I don’t always know. Sometimes I have to rewrite. Perhaps I didn’t get the story quite right on the first go-round. Other times, like this morning, I’m able to somehow pull all the strings together and figure it out with grand “Aha!” moments. It’s still hard, though, and if you’re not careful, being out of sync with your characters can unravel a whole scene or chapter.

My advice? Don’t rewrite until you’re absolutely sure you can’t reconcile a character’s words or action with what needs to happen next. In some cases, you may need to step away for a while. Go write something else. Take a break, then come back and see if you can go on. If you can’t, chances are you might need to rework the dialogue or an entire scene. Other times, you have an epiphany and can get right back to work without rewriting; you’ve figured it out! Woohoo!

Writing is harder than most people think. Even for those people out there that have natural talent, writing is a skill that must  be nurtured and flexed as often as can be managed. For me, the hardest part about writing is plotting. Characters come very naturally to me, for some reason, but plotting? Nope. Especially since I’m mostly a pantser, writing a detailed, complex, and connecting plot can be a great challenge. Hence the reason Character A can have some grand plan in mind but my poor brain is stuck trying to figure out what it is…

Do you have any particular writing areas that you struggle with? Share with us and tell us how you go about correcting or exercising that area.

Thanks for stopping by, as always!

 

~L.M.

About Me · Observations · Writing

The Planner // Pantser Hybrid

Are you planner or pantser?

If you are unfamiliar with these common writer labels, planners are writers who sit and outline or plot every detail in their stories before they get too involved with their manuscripts; pantsers are the folks who write by “the seat of their pants” and often start with a blank manuscript page and just jump in to see where their preliminary ideas take them.

I am somewhat of a hybrid between the two. I often begin stories with a preliminary idea and one or two characters. I then try to think as much as possible about this story seed and I start making some beginning plans. I might make genealogies of the characters I have in mind. I might begin a rough outline. I might sketch the setting or basic plot. But after I get about three chapters in? I just wing it. I rarely look at my outline after the first few chapters (and I write long manuscripts.) The beginning plans soon turn into a huge story that I write on the fly. I love writing this way. I have just enough plans to get me started, but after that, I simply take it a scene at a time and let my mind get creative.

I find that writing this way brings me the best results. Sometimes, new characters dash onto the scene that I had no intention of creating. They end up being some of my favorites. Sometimes, an idea for a new story plot point will just tumble onto the page and I’ll be surprised by it. I love this. I love it when my own writing takes me by surprise. I’ve told my husband often enough that I really feel like stories are completed before we sit down to write them. I titled this blog “Unearthing Words”, because in my opinion, every story is really already in existence. It’s just waiting for the right author to sit down and uncover its story. I feel almost like an archaeologist discovering ancient ruins. A story is already there; I’m just responsible for unearthing its words one page at a time.

What about you? Are you a pantser, a planner, or a bit of both? I’d love to hear about your own writing processes! Share in the comments section!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

~L.M.