Don’t you love the smell of fresh ideas in the morning. Because let me tell you ladies and gents I have them. Loads of them. LOTS of them. I used to think when I was a kid and wanted to be a writer, where the holly molly did they get all of those ideas? I mean seriously. How did they do it? All I could ever come up with was a knock off of the last book I had just read.
Now though, now they are like water, flowing freely. Ummmm.. But only if you live in Canada. And you know sometimes you might need to drill through several feet of ice to reach it, and it might be a little cold, like a lot. But yah, totally like water flowing freely.
But first let’s start off with last year and where I went WRONG. Yup you heard me. Wrong. Last years writing sucked!!! But last year I was also just learning. So I forgive myself. And you know what. You have to do things wrong in order to learn how to do them right. So no beating myself up over it; just looking at where I can improve in relation to last years failure in writing.
First – The 2009 NaNo project. It was really 3 books in one. Great character ideas. Will hopefully someday revisit that. In the mean time, shelved. I want to take some of the concepts but rather than present them in epic fantasy giant one book; I want to break them down into their individual story elements and focus on one thing at a time. I am not George RR Martin, and while I greatly respect his work, I know my limitations and will work within them to hopefully grow and expand to a shadow of his level some day.
Second – Sands. Sigh….. Getting a job in the international department has given me great insight into how little I know about world culture. And now I get on the job opportunities to learn how to change that lack of knowledge. Awesome. However, what I wanted to do for this novel, is not what I ended up doing for it. It needs research and lots of it. Also one of the problems was that I was writing it chapter by chapter, polishing as best as I could as I went and letting my critic group bite it, and tear it up. This was a great way to learn about the craft of writing and how to shape it, but it also caused the book to go in a direction I didn’t see it going. Also, if and when I do start to rewrite it, well it might be from a different POV instead. Just saying.
Third project – the script that shall not be named. Great experience in learning about script writing. Boy do I have a long way to go. Mostly I just fooled around for a month getting to a hundred pages without any real plot. Next time I am taking a novel idea and turning it into a graphic novel, because I think that would be perfect.
Fourth Project – 2010 NaNo novel. Oh my. How did I not go wrong here? I wanted to tell this really sweet story of big town girl small town boy. I wanted to write YA, didn’t want to do contemporary, so threw in some idea I had for a magic system and threw it in a blender like spam and chocolate. Did not work out so well. Magic system = an evil genious who controls things through baked goods. Cool. But learning about your powers as a teen when you should have been raised with them, well I couldn’t find a way to explain that without compromising other elements of the story. A monster rehabilitation program. Okay so I still really like this idea, but it didn’t belong in this book. AND trying to write a book were I hadn’t knocked off the parents and thrown them out the window. Sometimes parents just need to go, especially when it comes to magic. So I sent her to grams place, with no real reason for being there, figuring I would figure it out later. I didn’t. Gram was supposed to be sweet but turned out mad, kind of amusing. Small town boy wasn’t so small town, he had really just moved from big city and was really just using her. Booh!!! What really happened was that I was trying to force two polar opposites together, and well it just didn’t work. Great ideas, just not all together. So I have a beginning, a very rough middle and an even more rough ending. If I ever revisit this concept again it will be MG, with a sweet little girl in pony tails skipping about baking goods and killing demons. I think the concept would be much better suited to that, then to someone just magically discovering their powers now. And the love story idea. I am totally rescuing that right now. MUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!
As you can see each idea is salvageable in a rewrite if I take it in a different direction than where I ended up going. What this has taught me is not to mesh too many ideas together for the sake of getting them all in there. Focus. Also, I really really need to get to know my characters first before I start writing them. Really, a lot. Knowing who they are, what they want, what they are afraid of, helps to throw obstacles in their way to getting that and making for a more interesting read. I know in life I tend to avoid conflict (I probably have mentioned this sometime before), but a good story has it.
I am uber excited for this year. I have great plans and I totally intend on executing them.
I have given myself permissions to ditch last years WIP and start a new project. It is made of awesome.
I told some people about it, they already pitched their ideas on it, I am discarding all of them and blocking them out until the rough draft is written. So there will be radio silence in regards to the WIP except for the word count update and sharing AHA! creative moments, possibly, but not story elements (like so and so does such and such and it is going to be awesome). I want this to be 100% my story.
The bright side is though that I was honest with my critic group and let them know ahead of time what I was doing and that I probably won’t have any critic pieces until I get this whole novel out of me and am ready for them to tear it to shreds. We have ideas for short story prompts and critic those once they are complete. Which will help to keep me limber and teach me how to finish something (I hope anyways).