Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Short Stories!

Naturally, I picked THE EXACT TIME that image uploads are disabled to write the post. I'm freaking brilliant, people.


It's Weeeeednesday, which means that I have to give some sort of status update on my WIP. And I actually have good news, ya'll! Let's retrace the steps of MASQUERADE (working title):

How I write a novel

1. (2006) I have an idea while walking along a beach in Boston. I scribble down a few sentences.
2. I come up with plot lines and character arcs and hate them all. I loosely plot the book. Nothing is working. I hate it. I don't write anything. I loudly proclaim my despair. I forget the idea and work on something else that IS making sense. I write 6 other books before returning to this one.
3. (2009) I remember idea. Love it all over again. Scribble ideas, brainstorm, daydream. I put it aside, afraid to write it. It's not ready yet.
4. (early 2010) In a burst of inspiration, I discover the ending to the story and thus the entire book begins to make sense. I begin plotting and brainstorming characters. I dream up Shana. I love her. But I haven't quite figured her out yet.
5. (spring 2010) I begin writing while procrastinating on another book. At my in-law's house, I invent the romantic interest. I immediately fall in love with him. More writing.
6. I run into horrible trouble. Nothing is working. The characters feel flat and lifeless. I don't know what the emotional point of the book is, I don't know who anybody is or what they want. They all have secrets they're hiding from me. I become discouraged. I rant to my husband about character motivation and eat too much ice cream cake. I contemplate changing the POV.
7. (summer 2010) I discover, in another fit of creative brilliance, what my main male character is lying about. I realize why he and the queen have so much baggage, and why he can't fully trust my main character Shana. I decide I'm a genius. I begin writing again.
8. I impose a new rule upon myself. Must write for internet--I can't get online unless I've produced 1k of story. I get a lot done, but it's haphazard. I abandon much of the original plot and gleefully chase after secondary characters. The story has more rabbit trails than a petting zoo bunny enclosure. I discover lots of wonderful things. All semblance of order goes to pot.
9. I hit 45k and decide the whole thing is ruined. Angst mingles with horror. I throw everything out and declare that I'm starting over.
10. I decide to plot this time around. I write paragraphs of notes about each chapter, carefully making note of clues for the mysteries in the book. There are now all kinds of mysteries and twists and liars and secrets.
11. I finish plotting. I love the book. I already have ideas for a sequel.
12. (This morning) I write the first 2 chapters. I like them. I resolve to finish the 2nd draft by the end of January.

And there you have it. That's basically how I write a book. I've barely begun, really (I'm in chapter 3!) but at the same time I'm really about halfway done. I'm feeling pretty confident, though. HOPEFULLY this will all come together this time around.

Other news

I'm completely in love with short stories again. Yesterday at work I read a short story that knocked me flat. It was amazing. I went home and promptly began writing about paradox, which lead to writing about a girl at her grandmother's funeral, and her complicated relationship with her mother. I have no idea what I'm going to do with this vignette, but I am determined to finish it and make it into something beautiful. Also * deep breath * I want to try submitting some short stories. I've always wanted to but never dared.

Has anybody out there ever done so? Any advice?


  1. I'm terrified of short stories! I've submitted a couple in contests but they went nowhere. I don't do too well with having a ceiling on my plot! Good luck to you!

  2. @Jamie I guess the thing I like about them is how well, short they are. A novel is a commitment with a capital C. A short story is like a one night stand in comparison. LOL

  3. Haha, aww, your process sounds horribly familiar. That said? Go you with all the progress!

  4. Haha, thanks! Hopefully my recent burst of progress will stick with me ... I barely wrote all summer. But my new rule helps me. Or at least it cuts down on internet procrastination.


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