Meeting that deadline xbyfri

This is a miserable process.

The more I study character archetype, the more conflicted I am. (That’s good, conflict!) My goal? Fix the character archetypes to match the standards of whichever system you’re using (there seem to be several, Jungian included).

Doing that requires that I fix the story to meet the requirements of the character arc. The start point of the writing has been changed three times now.  It may get changed again. From my previous post, I had the story start with the navy crew detecting four ships. It was a yawner. Well written, but boring from a plot perspective. [Modestly speaking.]

So I yanked that out. Started it with the Captain getting on the bridge, evaluating the threat, saying alert the marines.

This is still inadequate because it’s not meeting a scene/sequel format.  I believe that the captain scene will also be dropped.

Alternate currently considered beginning: Marines get alert, get ready, load on shuttle, some equipment failures, shuttle launches when ship is in danger and the shuttles make their way back to the planet.  The ship becomes a bookend ship (destroyed in first act).  Obviously, this is moot, writing like this, since there’s no plot.  I’ve abandoned the one I have, so I need to go back and re-do that part.

But first things first! Back to creating a plot.  The one I have isn’t going to work, primarily due to the character arc.  I. Am. Throwing. Clumps. of. Hair. On. The. Floor.

Argh! back to my outline.  Define the character. Surround character with the stereotyped characters. Create goal. Create conflict.  Redo characters. Adjust story to characters. Expand from general short outline to one page on each act, then create scene sequel pairings with specifics: goal, conflict, disaster, recovery, dilemma, (oxford comma ftw) and decision.

This is going to be bloody.  Step back.  I will do this.  There will be a book series. I will prevail.

Scene and Sequel – bloody progress. xbyfri Part A

After playing an hour of terrible BF4–either everyone was hacking or I was terrible, or both–I settled down with Word to churn out my ten pages.  I managed to do 6.

This is an analysis of what I’ve written. I won’t reproduce the actual writing here, as there is no point. I will talk about my processes of what I’m doing. This might get messy. Those of you in front might get splashed with outline.

At this point, I’m putting content on the page. It looks pretty. Garamound, twelve words a line, and hanging quotes.  Yeah, that kind of pretty. What’s happening in the story is not pretty.

The first scene, the one that’s supposed to grab my reader by the throat and light ’em on fire and offer no hope at all… that one is meh.  Heart pounding excitement? Nope. A routine destroyer makes long range contact with four warships.

Yawn.

How dull.

Where’s the conflict? The XO is afraid to wake the captain. That’s it. That’s the conflict. And it’s not much of a conflict. See, we know that when the warships get close enough, then you HAVE to wake the captain and say “we’re in a pickle Captain” and maybe you get yelled at, but we also know if the ship gets destroyed, like so many bookend space vehicles do, it was justified for him to wake the captain and we aren’t emotionally invested in the XO because we know he’s going to die anyway, right?

So let’s discuss the bookend space vehicle.  A bookend space vehicle is a space vehicle that is destroyed or disappears in the opening scene of a book or movie. It may be the focus of the story to discover or uncover the reasons behind its destruction. Because it is frequently used, readers typically do not want to invest in the BSV at the beginning because it usually turns out to be a waste. If we start to identify with a character and the character is then snuffed out, we mistrust the writer because that was Not Nice.  The BSV does afford a good grabbing moment as the BSV can be put in horrible straits and suffer destruction and it makes an exciting opening scene.  If, however, the BSV is the focus of a Goal/Conflict/Disaster, it is almost impossible to provide a sequel to the scene and thus it is stand-alone.

So there’s my answer. Putting on my Pontius developmental editor hat, I’m going to have to scrap the scene and either replace it with a scene sequel or leave it out.

The next scene is the marines aboard the ship being alerted and them getting suited up and loading on to a shuttle.

Purpose? Introduce us to the marines, and then locate them on the shuttles for the upcoming Disasterous Space Battle.  Focus is on Lcpl Yuen, who leads a fireteam. We meet the fireteam and find out things about those four characters which fill in our background.

The writing there is adequate, but again, where’s the conflict? Um… Yuen has to get her team suited up in a hurry.  The new guy is slow.  That’s conflict?  I guess it could be.  Marines are about conflict. Maybe some background–the fireteam is in trouble for not being fast enough or efficient enough, and they’re under the gun.  If they screw up one more time, Yuen gets a negative counseling statement on her record. Who cares about immanent destruction of the ship when your career is threatened by the new private screwing up by the numbers all the time? If he fails, it’s your fault.  We know, as long as I’m writing this much detail about these characters, that we’re going to be packed up in their duffels for the long haul, and that even if the ship is a bookend, the marines are not.

Thus:

Scene: The XO and crew are terrified of the captain, who is asleep.
Goal: XO wants to get through the watch without any incidents.
Conflict: Possible incoming fleet is not acting friendly. When to tell the captain?
Disaster: Waiting too long to call the Captain when the ships are, indeed, unfriendly.
POV: XO (executive officer, second in command)

Sequel: The Captain bawls out the XO for waiting too long -in front of his troops-, and will put a note in the XO’s file derailing the XO’s career. Captain attempts to hail the incoming ships.
Reaction: XO mourns that his career is destroyed by drunkard Captain.
Dilemma: Should the ship run or turn and fight the fleet?
Decision: The ship will fight and probably lose.

To fix the scene, we’re going to have to emotionally invest in the XO and we need to ratchet the captain into a real Queeg character- a drunkard with a mean temper who will never be promoted above destroyer Captain. The focus is on the XO’s internal processes, not the brick brack of running the ship and routine contacts and all that jazz.

More on the marine section later. That’s going to need a good tweak to introduce conflict and make sense.

What do we call it? WriTePaByFri? The 10 page 7 day writing challenge

I’ve got this goal of 10 pages by Friday. Good pages. I can write 10 pages of mediocre adequate slush in an evening, so the amount isn’t the problem.  It’s the content.

One of the problems is to name it something, so it’s iconic and stuff.  Write Ten Pages by Friday becomes WriTePaByFri, or Writepabyfri. Which sounds dumb.

Maybe latin? Decem ceras a veneris. That’s hard, the Romans didn’t have pages per se, so it’s ten wax tablets by Venus-day.  Maybe XCeaVe. Exceave? Sounds like a sleep medication for seniors.

A mix! WriXpabyVen.  No, no, that’s not it.

XbyFri.

That’s what I’ll use.  Mind, I think nano is a horrible name and emulating it causes me digestive stress, but it’s just what we’re going to go with.

I’d ask for your votes, however, I’m impassably dictatorial about this and you’d probably all decide Writepabyfri is your favorite, and who cares what I want?

I WON! I WON! Wait. What have I done!? Sacre Bleu! The 10 pages challenge

I was commenting on Kristin Lamb’s blog, like you do, and after the careful slapdash application of humor and chutzpah, I said, “Oooh, ooh, did I win the internet? Where do I send my 20 pages? Aw, wait, that was a different month. Never mind. I’ll go back to my story spreadsheet.” That is, to send her 20 pages of my fine writing and she’d critique them, probably put lots of red marks all over it, and send it back to me. This is something she offers as an incentive to people commenting on her posts – one person a month wins that.  At least, that’s the idea I’m getting.  And she must be good; she’s got 15,000 followers, and that’s about 14,000 more than Jim Jones ever had.

And she responded, saying “You know what? Points for creativity. Send me ten to kristen @ wanaintl dot com. LOL. Thanks for the laugh!”  See, chutzpah for the win!  I will also point out that this makes me a paid writer: I wrote something humorous and received compensation in kind, which is critique of 10 pages, normally a service for which Kristin charges… mmmmph dollarsUS.

One little tiny problem. I don’t have 10 pages.

It’s about 200 words a page, and I’ve got 75 pages of non-conflicty fiction, 15,000 words.  Those aren’t representative of the new me, the one that knows stuff. Like three acts and scene/sequel. But the new me hasn’t written that much, because new me is trying the whole outline-your-book-so-you’re-not-rewriting-it-when-you’re done.  Sure, there’s a lot of dashes, but you gotta do it.

And you hate to send in 10 pages of crap.  She’d hate it, too.  Don’t make people regret their acts of kindness, Pontius.

This leads me to my dilemma (conflict, if you wish): How to produce 10 pages of high quality product that will lead to hearing excellent insights from an industry professional. If this was opera, I’d be the new tenor doing a master class (a short one) for Dmitri Hvorostovsky.  Gulp. With writing, I can fake it (sorta) since it is, after all, my native tongue.  But you can’t fake tension. And conflict. And scene/sequel. And a really fantastic outline.

So my mission is to write ten pages of scene sequel in… I give myself a week.  High quality. Fantastic top level stuff. This ain’t nanotanemo bay writer’s challenge, it’s 10 pages. One week. High quality.

First, I have to repress the urge to write boring scenes full of conversation and not much action. So… start with an explosion? That’s a helpful place to start. I so want to start with the discovery of the enemy fleet and ease into the hot tub from there, but I know that’s deadly dull and will kill it flatter than Kansas.  Get a running start and start it at the moment of: impact.

And Tuesday I’m flying to Reno and driving back. So it’s 6 days.


Go ahead, comment. It won’t kill you.  And, um, it’s not because I’m desperate. Because I’m not. I’m NOT! Just comment. If you comment, I’ll be your best friend!  C’mon. I’ll give you a cookie! Yeah, I love the “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” books, too.