25317 words. Orphanage attacked!

It’s a noisy environment to write. I wrote the scene where the orphanage is attacked. The marines beat a retreat, and Father O’Hara gets to do something noble and cover their retreat.

Little girl is sobbing because she threw away her temp tattoo and now is sad.
Little boy to me: “Cool story, right, and it’s true.”
Wife: “We’ll put it in the car and we can give it to you Wednesday,” she says to her cell phone.
Little girl sticks vanilla smelling chapstick in my face and says, “smell it!”

I consider why the song Homeward Bound is so awesome… not the Simon and Garfunkel noise, but this Irish version:

I wish I could find a full version done by a good tenor.

We went to Chuck E. Cheese for a birthday this morning. The folks we saw are fantastic, but CEC isn’t really my thing. Too busy, too chaotic. Pizza is barely adequate, but the artisan subs they serve are pretty decent.

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HOW TO AVOID MANUSCRIPT MENTAL FATIGUE.

This might be me.

Aw, heck. It is me. I keep going back and refining the beginning. The end slowly expands because I’m busy putting stuff in chapters 1-7. Chapter 8? Not finished.

Lit World Interviews

Why are the first few chapters of your book great and then the yawn sets in as you continue reading through your first draft? Did two people write it?

The problem is common, happens to us all, and is something rarely if ever discussed. I believe it is because we know. We. Just. Know.

I call it Manuscript Mental Fatigue (MMF). We put so much into those first few chapters, editing as we go, and you know we do, then we make it past perhaps chapter ten and it’s over. We just write. It’s not that our ideas are but we just aren’t executing them the way we did earlier. A rule given at every turn about something not to do it, but we spent all of that time on those first few chapters. Instead of letting the words flow, we edited and tried to make those first chapters excellent…

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Disappointing plots you thought would be awesome but weren’t

Sometimes I pick up a book with a great premise, and think, “this’ll be great!” And the author plunges me into the thick of the matter, and we’re jumping from plot point to plot point. Somewhere about 50% I start to think, “where’s this all going to go?” Maybe the author has spent her time unwisely, blathering about stuff that is unimportant to the story. Maybe she hit on something that would be charming and awesome like a character we’d like to know a little better but she rushed off to do an action scene instead. Maybe the pacing sucks.

But then the plot has a twist and all is revealed. And I think, “Wait. That’s it? The point of the whole book was to get me here, and this is the lousy climax?” I don’t throw my kindle down in despair because that’d be expensive.

But that’s the difference between success and failure. Some books have so much potential, it cries out for exposition and plotting and whatforth. Then the author comes up short. That’s okay, you wrote the book you wanted to write, but I didn’t read the book I’d like to read.

New Secret Plan

Dave Koster over at On Writing Dragons made a good suggestion for the next conflict in my treasured novel, which I’m going to incorporate. Of course you understand that I’ve been doing a bit of seat of the pants writing. This is good and bad. Good in that it gets me writing, bad in that I sometimes resort to using whatever suggestions anyone wandering in to the blog makes and saying, “okay, that’s fine!”  I’m the authorial equivalent of the easy girl at the bar. Ply me up with a few drinks and then suggest anything you want for the plot. Sure! That sounds great! Let’s do it.

And that’s how I ended up with Gollum, Harry Potter, and Jack Skelington starving in a sinking lifeboat from the Titanic being hunted by the White Whale and Jaws in a tag team while Japanese Betty bombers try to bomb them out of existence.

You make choices… you have regrets.

His suggestion was to make the next conflict with the narrow minded angry villagers with pitchforks and torches (NMAVWPAT), instead of army vs. small unit or police vs. small unit. There’s some merit in it, and it’ll be do-able with some substantial work to incorporate the NMAVWPAT as a character. It needs a leader who will trigger the conflict, and it needs a bit of mention in the prior chapters to create the anticipation so the reader can see that one coming. NMAVWPAT as a character is one which is in an ugly mood, prone to easily peak in anger and inclined to do stupid things they’d repent of in person. The note is chaos and it typically does not end well; people get injured and killed, which creates more conflict and goals.

 

Was must die.

It’s so easy to fall into it. “He was looking at her.” instead of “He looked at her.”

I’m getting out a big fat nasty butcher knife, and I’m going to kill every single was. Nary a survivor.

After I write another 1000 words. First things first.

What’s your nasty writing habit that you’re too lazy to correct in your first draft? Gotta, um, comma problem? Love your adverbs greatly? (See what I did there?)  Do you love to stick; semicolons in your sentences where they shouldn’t be? Type type type.

So… let’s hear your dream plot. If you could have anything you want, what would it be? Toss it in here.

Obviously, not the plot of a book you want to write, unless you want to throw your secret out there for the possible stealing, that is, I meant possible taking and use by another enterprising individual. Though it’d be hard to duplicate the plots, considering each person has a different style and way of getting to the end result, so it’s always going to be different. If CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein both took a crack at writing the ideal Stephen King thriller IT, what would their books look like?

What genre do you like? What’s the plot?

If it’s already been written, what’s the book name and author, and what’s the one line slug about the plot?

You may comment here. Go ahead. Type type type.

You British people will get to do this tomorrow, since you’re probably all abed by now.  Except you peripatetic types accessing your neighbor’s wifi to check your reader feed, you can post, but it’s not secure. Just sayin’.

23272 Words. Do Chapter headings count in the word count?

If not, then 21 words are cheater words: The title, by line, and two words for each chapter heading. I ought to make a new chapter. 916 words today.

I’ve got the protagonist back to the orphanage, I’ve assembled all the armed men and women from all three sides, so something’s gotta happen. Is it a running gun battle, mobile infantry vs. infantry, or mobile infantry move to transport and escape again?

Which isn’t to say I’m going to be on the NY Times Bestseller List

My previous post notwithstanding, I learn by seeing/watching.  Show me how to do it, then I mimic. I can’t say I’m very original. I’m not. The ideas don’t just flow… that’s gotta be forced, I have to do exercises and stuff. It’s all phariseeical, because…rules. You gotta have rules. Er, *I* gotta have rules. You do what you want.

Which of course leads to the dilemma: There’s all sorts of rules for writing, but some of them are contradictory. Who do you listen to?