February writing:

So, this morning I woke to a new week to find that somehow I had completely vanished from the blogosphere last week. I try to post at least once a week, so I’m not sure how I managed this vanishing act.

Now, I was still around. I know I popped by to read people’s blogs, and I found a few new ones (I’ve just started reading Kristen Lamb’s and Jami Gold’s blogs, both full of fun and useful info.), so I’m sure some of you have comments from me. But no blog posts last week from me. What’s up with that?

Hmm. Well, one, I finally broke down and created a Facebook account, so if you’re on Fb, please log on and friend me so I can communicate with you via that avenue. And if you have a fan page, please recommend it to me, either via a Facebook message or as a comment here. So last week I expanded my horizons, both blogging and social media in general. But I assure you; I was around.

I also attended the Virginia Romance Writers’ monthly meeting in Richmond, where Rebecca York (Ruth Glick) spoke about the intersection of plot and character. She took a really interesting approach to the subject that got me thinking about my current WIP. Maybe it got me thinking a little too much because I spent a lot of time reflecting on plot and hammering out the details.

I haven’t been stuck. Far from it. I’ve been making good progress with the current novel-length manuscript I’m writing, but I’m taking a different approach than in the past.

My goal for February was to write 28,000 words. With one week to go, I’ve penned (OK, typed) about 23,500. But the current draft is only about 17,000. See, I ended up writing the same scene about four times before I was remotely satisfied with it. And I’m sending it off to my crit partners this week, so I’m sure that I’ll be revising it a few more times before it’s reader-worthy.

There are a few reasons for this, but mostly it boils down to one thing: My main character, Zoe, is the most stubborn, fiery, skeptical, hard-nosed, pain-in-the-ass character I’ve ever met. She doesn’t want to believe anything or trust anyone. But because of the situation she’s in, she’s going to have to start believing and trusting someone, ‘cuz she won’t find her way out of this one on her own. Imagine trying to get an impossible character to believe in the impossible. Yikes. I don’t feel too bad for myself, though I do feel bad for Blake, my male lead, and every other character who’s had to deal with Zoe’s insanity.

It’s meant a few rewrites of an essential scene. One of the points Rebecca York brought up at last Saturday’s meeting was that your plot has to emerge from your characters. It has to be believable based on who they are. Which, I know, sounds obvious, but it’s not always the easiest thing in the world, especially with Zoe. I like the unlikely pairing of  a skeptical character like Zoe, who could pretty much say “yeah right” throughout the entire book without batting an eye (relax, she doesn’t. and Zoe is way more colorful than that, anyway.). She’s frustrating, and that’s why I like telling her story. It’s when we’re writing the impossible, when we’re scratching our heads and thinking, “Now what the hell happens?” that things start to get interesting. So getting Zoe where she needs to go has been challenging and will continue to be, but I’m not complaining.

Normally, I just write a scene and keep plowing through the story. But I’m on draft two (2.2, technically), and I’m at the stage in my writing process for this story where I want each scene to build upon the previous. My first draft was somewhat sporadic as I learned about my world, my story, and my characters. The aim of this draft is to be cleaner, so I can move from points a to z, building the story as I go. Some scenes will be cut, others added, and some rewritten twenty times, but if a key scene is problematic, I know I’ll need to stop and work on it so I don’t get stuck later.

I’m not one-hundred percent certain that I’ve got the aforementioned scene where it needs to be, but I feel I’m getting close. More forward momentum is opening the story up to me. I know where I’m going now; my sense of direction is stronger than it was in draft one. Draft two isn’t a final draft. It’s intended to be a “from-start-to-finish” draft for my crit group. Later this year, I hope to get a stronger draft to my beta readers, who will have their way with this story and hand it back to me, hopefully full of questions and honest observations. So, onward I go.

So, I really am still around, even if my blog was eerily quiet last week. I hope everyone else is enjoying their own writing and having fun duking it out with their tough-to-pin-down characters.

2 thoughts on “February writing:

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