Monday, April 16, 2012

#WIPMADNESS April Check-In Week 3

It's another morning-after-insomnia Monday and I'm running character sketches through my brain.  That may be why sleep eluded me last night. Too many ideas that would not take a break. As I'm scurrying about trying to lay out the details and backstory of my main character, one question nags me:  what is this book going to be about?  Seriously. What is its final raison d'├¬tre?

Have you ever launched into a project with a wisp of a notion but had no idea where it would end up? I don't know that I would say my current predicament is quite that extreme, but I am wrestling with two different possibilities and finding it hard to reconcile them. It is a ghost story, as mine tend to be, but this one is going to be more than that. This time I really want the character to drive the story in a way I haven't developed before.  How do I do that?

That's what all the research and sketching is for.  I've written about how every story finds its moment. It will be told when it is ready.  The problem is I'm just a little too impatient about this one. So it is back to the journal and the preliminary doodling for now.

How has the madness treated everyone this week?

36 comments:

  1. Hey hey! I finally made it. Most of my madness has been backstory, as well. And that lead to going waaaay off on tangents with research and ideas and then losing sight of the actual story. Think it's time to get back to the writing, writing part so I can ground myself back in the book. Also have a dialogue workshop I am attending this Friday and have a couple of books I need to finish reading for it! Enjoy the week #wipmadness peeps...see you on twitter!

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    1. YAY! I know how seductive that research can be. The workshop sounds like fun!

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  2. I usually have a vague idea of where my books are going when I initially start writing, but since I'm mostly a pantster, I'm always surprised by what ends up happening. It makes writing both frustrating and exciting.

    I had a good past week, got 5000 more words written in my WIP and still on target to finish by the end of the month.

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    1. Way to go! I guess I'm sort of a half-pantser... ;-)

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    2. Wow, Jennifer. Nice going. I am a half pantser, half plotter. I am slooooowly coming to the conclusion that maybe I have to pants the first draft, then start over and plot out then write the second draft from scratch-ish.

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  3. The madness is good, really good... finished my revision last night! (That was my March Madness goal. Even though I'm two weeks late, I'm really happy, LOL.) If it sucks, I guess I'll be back to square one, but for now, a little stickerage is in order!

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    1. Well deserved stickerage!! That's terrific. I'd do a Snoopy dance, too, but I'm weighed down by a green-eyed monster. I wish I could stop wallowing around with my ending.

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    2. Aw, sorry about the ending woes. Call me if you need to bounce around some ideas.... (Heading out soon for the morning, but home this afternoon.)

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  4. I'm a pantser slowly learning the ways of a plotter. I find that by the end of whatever I'm writing it becomes something different, which I have to fix up in editing. So for each project I start I spend more and more time planning
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    You could always try plotting them out both ways and see if there are any obvious problems. Or just jump in and try a direction. It could take you time to backtrack but you might come up with other cool characters or ideas along the way even if you make a wrong turn.

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    1. I always make a wrong turn somewhere, even when I plot it out. I'm trying something new this time around, so I want to have a clear picture of what it's about when I start writing. I know things will change, but it's still a little too vague for my comfort. But some of my pants stuff is the best! So I never count that out ;-)

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    2. lol on the pants stuff...it is often surprising when you go back and read it and think...hmmmm, not bad!

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  5. Good morning! I'm finally healthy this Monday. Had the flu the other week, and a cold last week thanks to starting back to school. But feeling good and brimming with motivation today. Despite the gray rainy day :)

    Indeed I've had an idea sweep me up in its clutches without any rhyme or reason, and no real plot point until days later when I wondered just where the heck were these characters taking me? I do prefer to have an idea beforehand, but you never know where ideas take you.

    Good luck working out your story's direction, and I hope you're able to get rest soon!

    Have a great week wipsters! Have missed you!

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    1. Thanks, Marie! I'm glad you are finally feeling better. School always spreads the germs around...there's just no winning that one. I hope your week is full of inspiration!

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  6. Plots come to me first, then I have to figure out who the characters are. Sometimes it takes getting to know the players as I write the first draft. They often surprise me and the plot ends up taking twists and turns I never anticipated. But right now I'm stuck. Here's why:

    This past week I've been lurking around in a blue funk that turned darker over the weekend. My wandering soul has longed for a dramatic change for almost four years. I want to move SO BADLY it stabs like a sharp knife. Waiting for my first novel to sell is child's play compared to waiting for this house to sell. The grown-up me has hundreds of reasons why I am grateful and appreciative for all the blessings in my life, but the petulant child who dominates my moods is acting out like Veruca Salt (from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factor) I WANT IT AND I WANT IT NOW!!! This blue funk is killing my creativity. Yes. I'm being childish. Stomping my feet and turning red in the face because I can't have my way. Remember what happened to Veruca? I fear I'm heading for the same fate!

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    1. I have soooo been there, Veruca! 3 years ago, I had to move from the PA that I love to the armpit of the South. I still have not recovered. I long to be somewhere else. And it does make it hard to embrace my creative bend, especially when there is nothing here to nurture it. It's not GA or the South in general. It is this corner. Even the locals call it the armpit.

      I hope your house sells and you don't end up in the trash chute like Veruca. Let the madness inspire us all!

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    2. Sorry your creativity is taking a beating. I can't say I really understand a serious need for change, because I'm a person who likes deep roots. But... my hubby gets restless, so restless, and so I just go wherever he goes when he needs to go, lol. But I do get that the need for change can be an all-encompassing thing.

      Hoping your house sells & life takes an interesting turn for you very soon! In the meantime, wishing you peace and creative energy....

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  7. I had a really productive weekend. I'm still not exactly sure how I'm going to end this book, but I better figure it out pretty quickly, because I'm nearing that point! Still working at getting 2500 words per day, but had a couple of stellar word count days last week while my husband was away (one around 6k!). I have to speak with my agent about a different project this week, so I'd like to at least have this finished in my brain if not on the page before I switch gears.

    Good luck with your character sketches! I usually do mine after writing a first draft--during the writing, I end up learning so much about them, but realize I still need to learn so much more!

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    1. 6K?! Wow, you were on fire! I'm waiting on my agent to respond to the WIP I finished in March. I always discover new things about my characters as I write...I hope that means that they grow. This one, though, I just have to get right. Its different than anything I've done before.

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  8. Oh yeah, I pantsed this last book and though I like much of it, some of it has me perplexed. And now I've started revisions, albeit slowly. I also had a whirlwind moment of avoidance in which I wrote 1.5k on a new MG manuscript that I thought was sort of stupid the next day, but it may just be jumping between YA and MG voices.

    My Cheryl Klein workshop is this Saturday and I'm back at school so, my writer life will slow once again.

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  9. I can't wait to hear about the workshop. She's a hoot! I've pantsed it before, but the last two books I plotted the first half and sort of grew into the finale because the research was so cool. This one is more personal. Hang in there. School is almost out...right? We're done (kids) May 23rd. The university is done May 5th.

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  10. I TOTALLY know what you mean. That's exactly what happened with my WIP, which I've set aside for this month in favor a short story. ... And it's what's happening now with the short.

    Ah, well. The short is coming along. Not as fast as I'd like, but I AM writing. Glad to have my wipsters about to keep me on task!

    Good for all of you cranking out pages!

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    1. YAY for forward motion...even if you have to go sideways sometimes!

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  11. Oooooh! Here I am! Such an interesting thread and what a great variety of responses. I used to be a pantser back in the day, and I still need to start a project by writing a chapter or two to get to know the characters and what's at stake etc., but from there I need to map it out before diving in full-force.

    I am so glad to be back in the #wipmadness! I'm all moved to our new house now, and I spent the last week polishing my query, and now I'm on to those last pesky revisions before subbing. So glad to be here with all of you hard workers! Congrats on all the fab progress!

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    1. Hurray for the new house and the new revisions!

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  12. "How has the madness treated everyone this week?"

    Kookiness lives company. Glad I'm not alone. My latest story has no idea why it's there...

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    1. Ah...but it will... Waller around in the madness awhile! :-)

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  13. I took the "April Word Count" widget OFF my home page. Does that tell you anything? The "0%" was getting to me. I've been writing, but it's more like revising. I keep going back and reworking previous chapters so I'm not getting the forward momentum that's needed to find an ending for this one. Ackkk! I have a couple books I want to read, so I promise myself I can read a chapter only after I write a chapter. That's left me thumbing aimlessly through my gardening magazine. You are all putting me to shame, especially Shari. Finished! Woooeee!! And Denise... all those words! Wow!!

    My first novel was a flying blind thing and I kept asking myself if it had a point. In the end it did, but I'm not proud of how it turned out. After that I became more of a "sort-of" pantser, in that I do a bit of pre-planning and have a beginning and an ending in mind, but not a lot of plot points to guide me through the middle. That's let me wander a bit too much in this one and the intended ending isn't fitting. ::sigh:: We're only half way through the month, right? Still time to figure something out. Hope everyone (including me) has a productive week.

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    1. Hey..."unwriting" is writing! That's what I call those mid-point revisions and those temporary expeditions into where-the-hell-am-I-going-land. Hang in there and don't be too hard on yourself.

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    2. LOL, Ghost Girl, I have so totally been in where-the-hell-am-I-going-land!

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    3. I spent so many months un-writing this WIP in my head (and sometimes on paper or on screen), and it's a really brutal thing to be stuck in. Self-doubt, second-guessing, questioning, wondering what on earth I'm doing, wondering if I should scrap the whole thing, being depressed about lack of "progress"... yeah, it was all there, and it was NOT pretty.

      I have to make a conscious effort to remember that mulling is a valid and vital part of my process. It would be easier if I could relax through that stage, and hopefully when it hits next time 'round, I'll do better. Anyway, all this is to say, maybe you're a muller, too. (Reminds me of the Dr Pepper commercial -- wouldn't you like to be a muller too... heh.) And letting your subconscious work while you indulge in other creative pursuits and filling-the-well pursuits, and while you think and mull and wonder... maybe that'll shake loose the ending your story is meant to have. I hope so!

      Hang in there.... You know we're all rooting for you! :)

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    4. Shari, I now have the Dr. Pepper theme in my head and it won't leave! LOL ;-) I agree with you. Mulling IS writing. It's all part of the process, as frustrating as it can get. When I got stuck on my last WIP, I was approaching the big climax and still didn't really know where it was going. So I decided to go back to the beginning and start revising with some of the new ideas I had picked up along the way. That gave me some new momentum to launch me into the climax with a better idea of where I needed to go. You can do it, Carol!

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  14. Sorry I'm late posting! This week I'm going to concentrate on my second round of edits as I'm starting scoring 4th grade writing exams. Let's just say the next few weeks are going to be crazy, busy.

    I'm also waiting for feedback on the first 30 pages of my sekrit project.

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    1. Oh, I don't miss grading those papers! I hope the news on the sekrit project is good and that you find at least a little time for some #wipmadness.

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  15. Wow, I don't know what's come over me that I forgot again to check in.

    I totally get you about the sketching ... and the impatience. I have one character who is so eager to get on the page, she's trying to come to me in *scenes*. Opening lines, in fact. But I can't right now. Got some revisions to do first.

    Well, I'm making some progress with my goal of finishing the rewrites. And just today I had a fire lit beneath me to get it done, fast - a YA open submissions came across my desk. So I'm going to go for that. I figure why not?

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    1. Fabulous! Sometimes a new opportunity is just what I need to light that fire and finish what I'm doing. Good luck!

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