Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nano Countdown: Research

Hawn State Park Pictures - Sept 2010 Time gets away from you so easily, I'm afraid.  I am short on Old West research for my nano novel.  You may be in the same position as me.  So what can you do?  Schedule reading periods.  Read something before you start the day's writing.  Read something after you are done for the day that will help you with the next day's piece.  In my case, I have to decide what I need to know about Old West for each "key scene". 

For instance, the Beginning "Scene" or "Story Arc" is Walker's exile and entrance into a new world.  His first impression.  Originally, I envisioned this as a grassy open place with a dusty road, kinda nondescript.  If I want to hint at my Old West inspiration right away, I am going to have to do better than that.  That is where research comes in.  So nondescript is out, however whatever Walker sees cannot be super scary.  I am saving that for the Launch Scene/Arc, the first firm sign of this world's weirdness in the form of a supernatural and rather toothy horse.  So although this scene is short and my research vague, I know if I do some reading, I'll find that which I need.

The next key scene is the Launch.  It involves the actual meet of man-eating horse and man, so horse research is needed.  After all, the horse makes a living pretending to be that which it is not--a regular horse.  It has to act . . . horsey.

That is the first two bits of research I need to do.  How about you?  Research all done or do you conduct research on an as needed basis?

Friday, October 29, 2010


Recently, I was reading The Real Kate Chopin by Lorraine Nye Eliot--great book, especially for a yardsale find--and in it, Eliot wrote:

"For years Kate Chopin had been reading authors she admired in search of an authorial voice suited to her temperament.  She found it as she began to study and translate works of a French writer who would have as great an influence on her writing as Gustave Flaubert had on his."

It seems odd to seek in the voices of others your own voice, but I have to admit whether or not you seek, you can find it that way.  The biggest influence on a great deal of my fantasy writing is an author who taught me about how pace, action, and humor can co-exist with engaging characters, emotional connection, and angst.  He taught me this through his own works--books I could read in a day.  Books I couldn't put down.

I don't try to emulate this author.  I just try to learn what I can and apply it in my own way to my own works.

My greatest influence to this date is Jim Butcher and his Dresden Files series.  Chopin's was Guy de Maupassant.  Who is yours?


Links and Books of Interest in this Post:
(Through Amazon - Amazon Affiliate Sales)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Story of your Nano Story

In Mommy Millionaire, author Kim Lavine suggests having a story for your brand--that is,  

"a written document twenty-five to one hundred words long describing the unique values and benefits of your product or brand".  

This brought to mind a start-up business class I am taking (First Step FastTrac), in which we budding entrepreneurs are to write a business concept statement.  A business concept is brief--one or two paragraphs and no more than seventy-five words.

This brought to mind how agents and fellow writers tout the ability to describe your novel very briefly.  In fact, they suggest about the same amount of words. 

Doesn't seem to be a way to get away from sharp summarization skills in life, huh?

So, time to think.  What is the Story of this year's nano story?

So far I have thus for Walker Novel #2:   

Due to his actions in Novel 1, Walker is exiled, but this supposedly paradisal world has gone to hell--being filled with a hungry mist and even hungrier monsters.  Worse yet, hell is catching, spreading to his home-world too.

This is rough, but even if it weren't, this would likely change as I write the novel.  However, the First Step literature gives you some very practical advice that relates to writing as well.  This is
"it is common for the initial Business Concept Statement to change during the process [of writing the feasibility plan]"--which is the point of the class.  "In fact, you may have more to worry about if your business concept doesn't change as a result of the feasibility plan."

I feel the same is true in writing.  The premise you come up with in the beginning is not always the same as that you finish with.  It will be interesting to see what difference 50,000 words makes on mine.


Books or Items of Interest Mentioned in This Post:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Naught For One, but Something for Two - Nano Strategy - Walker Universe

Well, my plans were for naught on Walker Novel 1. But I did get more ideas for the series and Walker Novel 2 (Nano'10 Novel). I am trying a different method based off a book I was reading, the Weekend Novelist by Robert J. Ray. What I am doing is as follows:

  • Key scenes intro.  I have Beginning and End, Plot Point One and Plot Point Three, Midpoint or Plot Point Two, and finally, I have Climax plus one more.  Literary agent Donald Maass spoke of bridging conflict in his Writing the Breakout Novel.  IIRC, his idea of bridging conflict is the series of conflicts that lead up to the first main conflict or event of the novel.  So, in the name of balance, I decided the introductory conflict is not Plot Point One, but falls in between the Beginning and that, like the Climax is between Plot Point Three and the Ending.  This key scene I call the Launch, for it is where things start getting more serious.   Therefore I have seven key scenes.   Now, what do I do with them?
  • Key scene use.  I write these key scenes first, generally by pairs.  Why?  Because I am trying to keep my ADHD brain engaged.  Writing out of order helps.  But I also dislike rewriting, so my plan is once I write these key scenes, to go back and edit them into shape.  From around these seven pillars, I can start the process of filling in the rest of the novel.  I'll speak more on that in another post.  
So that is it thus far on my technique of laying out foundation or pillar scenes.  I'll leave with books of interest (through Amazon Affiliates) that might be of interest.  I have not read the last book below, but it looks like one to put on my to-get list:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nanowrimo 2010

This year's nanowrimo novel is second novel in the Walker series.  The first of the series was last year's nano winner.  It's been quite a while since I wrote fiction, so in preparation for this year's marathon, I am starting a personal marathon.  I will rewrite Novel #1. 

Stay tuned for more information on this series, my rewriting technique, and how it goes.