Monday, December 28, 2009

Oh the horrible things we do

I heard a quote once that went something like this, "It's the responsibility of authors to create interesting, likable characters and then do horrible things to them."

I am reminded of this quate almost every time I sit down with my laptop and punch a few letters that will undoubtedly having my poor characters begging for mercy. Writing had to go on hiatus during Christmas, not due to family activities or even the need to spend time shopping or wrapping. No, actually it was because I needed to do something horrible to a character that I absolutely adore, that would cause him no end to pain. I know I've said in the past that when you're stuck on a scene, violence is always the answer. Write something violent and you're sure to stir things up and make them interesting. In this case, however, the impending violence tore at my heartstrings and I agonized for days on a way to fix it, change it, or simply write around it to spare my poor character from having to go through it. I even imagined in my head what I would say to him if he ever confronted me about my bloody pen (or keyboard, as it were). Honestly, I have to say that I have a great answer for him having something to do with the fact that things were already heading in that direction when the story started and for crying out loud, I'm trying my best to write him out of it.

There are always going to be things we can't prevent. Do we ignore these situations and hope they go away? Do we try to fix it knowing that the end will be the same anyway or maybe scoot around it trying to find a different solution? Well, every situation is different and any one of those solutions could possibly work.

However, in this particular case there was no way around it. I had to do that horrible thing to that wonderful character and you know what? He's handling it fine. Coming right around despite what I put him through. You can often find a rainbow on the other side of the storm.

Monday, December 21, 2009


As milestones go 50K words when you're writing a novel is a pretty good one as the average novel size is between 70K words and 100K words. Why am I spouting off about word counts again? Okay, okay, I'm sure you already guessed it. Yes, I hit and passed 50K words yesterday.

Thank you! Thank you very much!

I actually am not entirely sure how I feel about it. On one hand I'm ecstatic that I've written as much as that and gotten as far as I have in the story. On the other hand, I have been writing in a thousand different directions putting in so many deliberate inconsistencies simply to get the story down.

I say deliberate and I mean it, although I am not happy about it. The thing is, I have a general idea of where the story is going. Characters will go to location A and then leave for location B before dropping character X over into a ravine before moving onto location C. So far I have done just that, moved my characters to the locations I want them to be. The trouble is, I'm not at all clear about their end games or their motivations. Only the conclusion of the novel can clear that up for me but as that is yet unwritten I have locations A, B, and C accounted for but the reason character X was thrown into the ravine only makes sense in chapters 7 and 9 but not chapters 8, 12 and 13.

This happens to grieve me deeply and causes no end to problems with writers block and irritation with my characters because I'm not entirely sure what they want. I suppose if this were my first novel, I might be able to live with it simply because Stephan King said so in his novel on Writing (a new writer's bible on the craft). However, this is my second novel I am operating on an entirely different way of writing than I'm used to. R.A.G.E. was edited to the T throughout every step of writing. I always felt really good about whatever was written previously before I went onto the next section.

Both ways have their pros and cons, although I find myself increasingly more frustrated with Risk, and not at all certain it will ever come fully together. For now I'll continue along the path I sprinting down, (I say sprinting because sometimes I feel like I'm running so fast, I'm stubbing my toes and tripping over rocks whereas with R.A.G.E. I was tiptoeing ever so carefully for the 8 months it took me to write it).

The editing phase sometime in January or February (if I can continue at this pace) will probably be just as much work as the writing phase. However at least by that time I'll have the ending and hopefully know all the characters motivations. I might even be able to save character X from that ravine.