Monday, February 1, 2010

Umm, I have an even better idea...

So, I'm merrily writing along.  I've got about 40,000 words now.  Half way done.  Yes!  I just finished my masterpiece of a scene, the one I've been thinking about and wanting to get just right.  It's a really dark scene involving torture, interrogations, starvation, and other cheerful subjects.  I go back and reread it.  It gives me chills.  Yeah…I'm good.

It's still horrible stuff really, but I'm writing and getting my thoughts out.  I can always go back and edit later.  Everyone has to start somewhere ,right?  This is my first "real" attempt at writing anything longer than a few paragraphs in years.

Even though I am applauding my bravery, I reflect back and realize how naïve I was.  At the time, I thought my writing was artistic and interesting.  In reality, it was boring.  Nothing happens until page 70 for crying out loud!  And I hadn't even gotten to do the alternate universe world building part yet.  This was all about the MC's boring existence in the plain old ordinary world. 

What kind of fantasy novel drones on about the MC's personal life, or lack thereof, for pages and pages *cough* Twilight *cough*.  Yeah, Bestseller's list here I come!  (Please note that I really am a huge Twilight fan, but you have to admit that nothing really happens in the beginning.)

However, at that point, I was all proud of myself.  Life was still good.  I was still writing the next masterpiece, sure it was going to be a trilogy at least, picturing them next to Tolkien and Meyers in the book stores.

That's when a little, annoying thought started niggling in the back of my head.

I was still reading vampire stories, because heaven knows there's enough of them out there.  I had resolved myself to the fact that vampire plots have been beaten to death with a baseball bat and then the bat broken up into splinters, stomped on and burned to ash.  Coming up with a new idea or unique twist was nearly impossible for a newbie like me.

I guess when I said I had resolved myself against coming up with a new idea, I really meant, I took it as a challenge.  I couldn't let it go.  Even though I was knee deep in my other "work of art", there was a small compartment in my brain that kept chugging along searching for a new twist on the old vampire theme.

An idea flitted across the conscious part of my brain.  What if…

That's all it took.  I was off and running on a new idea.  It was all still in my head.  Vampires, werewolves, witches, pixies, they'd all been done before.  But making them all misfits, throwing them together to fight off the "real" bad guys, well, that had been done before too.

Who is the MC?  Ah, that would be Kat.  She's a misfit too, but because she's an average girl who grew up in a house of witches.  She meets this other group of misfits and "accidentally" becomes their leader.  Her insight is snarky and sarcastic (something I'm well versed in).

My head is busting with ideas at this point.  There's so many ways to go, so many paths.  The words start writing themselves in my head and it's all I can do to find a piece of paper or a computer to write them down.

I get the first chapter done in a matter of a couple hours.  I reread the lines and realize, this is a much better idea than the other novel I have half written.

Printing the pages, I thrust them in front of my wary husband.  He'd been ducking my pleas to critique my work for weeks now.  Realizing he had no escape, he took a deep breath and actually read the first page.

He laughed in all the right places.  He asked WTF in all the right spots.  For someone who had also read/seen a lot of vampire stories, I'd shocked him with my take on the theme. 

He read through the pages, 10 in all.  Setting them down he looked over at me and asked when the next chapter would be done.  I'm sure I blinked at him in disbelief.  This was the same guy that I couldn't get to read one page of my first novel.  I hooked him.  I actually hooked him to the story.

A little shocked at my own ability, I went to work on the next chapter.

So what's the point of this post?  Sometimes when an idea strikes, you just have to go with it.  The second novel is leaps and bounds better.  The idea is better.  The plot is better.  More importantly, the writing is better.

I still have that first half novel sitting in a file on my computer.  It was extremely helpful because it taught me that I can write and I do have a story to tell, enough to fill a book.  I also learned how to play with words and sentences.  I learned that I could box myself in with my own plot lines and other such interesting things.

I fully intend on pulling out that poor forgotten novel and working on it again.  However, out of the 40,000 words, I will probably only keep 10,000 and rewrite the rest.

For now, I'm going where the story takes me.

1 comment:

S. Paul Bryan said...

We all have to hack our way through that first novel, knowing it's junk, but knowing that it is practice for something better yet to come.

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