Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas is over, Now back to work...

Well, the holidays were really nice. We traveled up to the northern part of the state to spend them with my husband's family. Unfortunately, we were only able to visit everyone for a few days, driving up on Christmas Eve and coming back today. Luckily, we were able to see almost all of the family we would normally see on the holidays. But sadly, we weren't able to hang out with all of our friends up there though. We were only able to see one friend during our visit and it was because we went to torment him while he was at work. I really can't wait until we can move up there. Not only do I absolutely adore his family, but it'll be nice to live so close to the friends that Erich has known since high school.

I won't lie, this particular group of friends is comprised of quite a few interesting characters. And, I'm not ashamed to admit that I've borrowed various quirks and characteristics from these individuals to help create characters in my writing. Never copying them exactly onto the page, mind you... just taking various unique qualities and infusing them into my pre-existing characters in order to make them more realistic. My husband laughs when we spend longer hanging out with these friends then planned, and I say that it's for research, so we shouldn't feel guilty.

Speaking about the book, it's going pretty well. I think my writing gremlin took Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. He was giving me all kinds of inspiration into the wee hours early Christmas Eve morning, and then *POOF* he disappeared. I guess I don't blame him for wanting the holidays off, but it felt so weird not having him there for inspiration for a couple of days there. But, bright and way too early on December 26th he woke me up and was itching to get writing again.

We spent all morning re-outlining the one chapter that my beta reader had been confused by when she first read the outlines for it. I had originally thought that it was confusing because it's a very short outline and I figured that the story just wasn't explained sufficiently enough to make it easy to understand. Boy, was I wrong! My Writing Gremlin presented me with a few new ideas for the chapter and, of course I loved them. The new minor characters that the chapter introduces are more believable and the experience does a better job showing why Casey values normalcy so much. I'm able to keep a couple of good bits of dialogue and internal monologue, but don't have to write up a lot of useless stuff now. By simply reworking one character, not only am I able to get through the important parts of this chapter faster, but I'm able to do it without being bogged down with useless information that only created an unbelievable character anyway.

Then, later that evening, inspiration struck again. I've been pretty nervous about writing one particular section of the story. It's a pretty big event, but nothing so big that I want to use several chapters to explain. I wasn't sure how I could get across all of the necessary emotions in just one chapter, so I was worried. I know everything that happens during this specific week in Casey's life but didn't know how to express it without having to explain everything. This would have easily taken three or four chapters and would have really slowed down the main story line with a lot of useless information. Now, I'm new to this novel-writing business, but even I know that allowing that to happen is a big no-no.

Well, while waiting for Erich's father to get home from work, it hit me. Well, not exactly "hit" me, more like gradually crept up on me. The beginning of the scene started playing in my head and I found myself in awe, thinking, "of course!" I exiled myself into a darkened room an let it play itself out and slowly the rest of the scene began unraveling itself, piece-by-piece. Within my outline, all of the necessary emotions are able to be portrayed realistically and yet somehow it all fits in one, normal-sized chapter. Oh, and thanks to this scene working itself out, I now know the catalyst that helps Casey work through a difficult situation later on, and it works out wonderfully.

I'm really excited to get to write this chapter out, not only because of getting to write a really emotional Casey flipping out, but also because of all of the other scenes that this one will inspire me to finish. I already know at least one other scene that is directly inspired from this one that is very eager to be written now.

So, now it's full speed ahead again. My Writing Gremlin and I took the necessary time off for the traditional holidays and now we're back and ready to get this book written. The number of scenes that are simply outlined is getting smaller and smaller every day as the blue, italic text continues shrinking.

What does blue, italic text have to do with anything you might ask? Well, I compiled all of my chapters and outlines into one big document a while ago. To differentiate between outlines and finished chapters, I decided to edit the outlines into blue, italicized text. It's worked really well and gives me a real sense of accomplishment watching the color fading to black. So, for anyone doing any form of long writing from an outline, I highly recommend this method. Having a visual representation of what you've accomplished compared to what you have remaining is proving really helpful.

Oh, and I've discovered a new way to do my writing late at night. If you've read this blog before, then you've read about my countless nights, hand-writing into a notebook by cell phone light or small night-light. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking this practice and will continue it when I'm writing out full dialogue and scenes, but for random notes and outlines I'm going to use something new from now on. For these quick notes, I've found that using my Palm Pilot is amazingly useful. Not only is it naturally back-lit, so no need for an external light source, but getting the information onto the computer is as easy as syncing the PDA to the laptop.

I'm fast enough using the special PDA alphabet to get basic thoughts down, so this is a nice alternative, and if I'm having a tough time writing this way, there's also a pop-up keyboard that I can use. Ultimately, I think that I'm still going to hand write any full scenes with dialogue that I come up with if I'm too lazy to get out of bed and make my way to the laptop. I just don't think that I'll be able to input scenes that full onto the PDA quick enough, with the correct formatting. My brain just seems to work too fast when I'm writing these types of scenes and I'm not sure if I'd be able to keep up while being able to format everything correctly. But for random notes, that don't need proper formatting or capitalization to be useful, this will be invaluable.

Well, it's getting late and I still need to reformat some notes that I just synced from the PDA... Yeah, I admit that I forgot the USB cable for it when we packed...but in my defense, I had no idea that I was going to use it for this purpose. We only packed the PDA because my husband has been using it to read e-Books lately...

But anywho, the Writing Gremlin calls...

Until I Blog Again,
Talk 2ya later...



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