Sunday, January 29, 2017

This is What I Was Hoping For!

Hello, my beauties!

Long time no chat! If you follow me on Twitter, you know how many road blocks I've encountered in writing these last few days. I mean, seriously, I haven't updated because I haven't been able to figure out what's wrong.

Part of my on-the-fly plan was to cycle Practice Makes Perfect: Query, Pitch, Action to pitch again. As part of the editing process, cycling makes sense. Go back, edit the bitch, strengthen the actual first pitch.

But as I drafted my pitch side by side with the examples of what was supposed to be #5 in the series, I realized that though I'd defined my story as urban fantasy, it wasn't reading that way. It wasn't translating or summarizing like anything other than horror.

The story is not horror. It has elements of horror.

After flinging papers

And watching Bubzvlogz to cope

And stressing

From my Instagram, about the same day.

And avoiding the issue

My teen years all over again.

I finally realized it wasn't about what I thought it should be or what I wanted to write. As a native pantser, I know that's never in my hands.

The first time Vannette showed up on my writing doorstep, she was the survivor of a car accident but had inherited a fatal heart condition. This closeness to death made it possible for her to see and communicate with Dalton, a boy long dead and long forgotten.

The whole point of the short story was being afraid of death and an active decision to live.

I wanted to expand because I was in a rut with another story but I lost interest when there was no action, death, or adrenaline. I mean, okay, there was death but not the kind I like.

Did I mention how I am not a serial killer?
Long story short, I added a second friend to the ones V inherited.

But I was also tired of ready-to-fight, smart heroines. You see where this is going.

Vannette is the most frustrating heroine to work with when you love action and violence.

One hundred thousand words for the first drafted. Abandoned. It was going well, But I didn't know how to finish it.

The ditzy/shallow girl, the stoner, the jog, and the smartie/virgin.

You see, in horror movies, the ones with the cast of friends and a force out to kill, most die. Not fun for me.

I HATE slashers.

Kill all the teens. I don't care.

So I couldn't have this.

So what is the difference between stories?

Little changed in the next drafts of the first stories. But Book II? III? XV? Easy peasy.

Book II, my favorite, has not changed throughout the years. Two reasons. First: the horrible emotional fallout of Book I.

Second: Vannette.

In the first book, V is, no surprise, cowardly. She doesn't change that until the last sentence.

Bad idea.

My big plan is to change her attitude slightly to fix my problem with her. Cowardly, of course she can be, but something to change her tune. Everyone has their limits, right? I made it so she was scared around everyone except people much younger than her.

Vannette has purpose now. She has a future goal—childcare. This matches her backstory too!

But oh boy. You cannot copy and paste a new personality into an old story. Much less an already standing series.

Yeah. I know. This doesn't sound like a step forward.

I set up the Practice Makes Perfect series to make sense of that first 100k that had flow and genuine emotions. (I was a teen when I wrote it so it sounds authentic to me.)

But as you've read, I ran into the same problem.

I was making preparations. I was going to lay this story to rest. I'd been super excited to add on to the series this last November. So excited I wrote the skeleton of 50k in a week.

More stress.

Until I picked up REBEL BELLE. The story involves, from what I gather, the protagonist, a teen girl, getting magical powers to protect a boy.


I have been reading really slow. Between work, life, and politics, my brain has been fuzz, but I've learned a few things. About what I like and don't like about writing fight scenes. Stereotypes I want dead. 2D characters.

But I got a familiar tickle in my insides. Once upon a time, Vannette was the kick ass, violent super guardian of a boy too.

It's a reoccurring theme in my favorite shows, movies, books, stories.

So what's wrong with Vannette?

Why can't she love herself enough to make the story about survival? (I mean because otherwise she'd be too lazy or cowardly or frozen to act alone.)

It's just that I've never really been into survival themed stories. Except THE HUNGER GAMES.

Katniss is in a death match with 23 other people. It's got violence. (BONUS for me.) But there's something else at stake other than whether Katniss lives or dies. We all die, don't we?

And fear that the death match will be too close to call is a real nail-biter. These elements are so basic but so easy to mess up. At least for me.

You know, usually, by the seat of my pants I can make someone uncomfortable in a plot. In a good way, I think. Rock and a Hard Place type thing.

But that's what the worksheets and books are for.

I can slink more personality into the 100k draft this way. Slowly but surely.

Now after realizing that Vannette has no mission, no boy to save in the first book, I can also treat the story for Runaway Plot Syndrome.

It'll take a lot of TLC. Probably a lot of time. And of course many drafts but at least the story can end. Whether the mission is successful or a failure.

I'm going to refresh my memory with the Hero's Journey. I will see you guys soon for the PMP: QPA #5 post.

Stay strong, loves. Donate to the causes that are close to your heart.