2006-09-19

Nifty 350 (Thanks For the Idea, James Scott Bell!)

As in 350 words a day. That's going to be my goal until I type "The End" on this story.

I wrote today. Nine hundred and ninety-five words, to be exact. Yay, me! Beginnings aren't easy, but I'm determined, as I blogged yesterday, to go forward and not look back over what I've already written. This is a first draft, so I shouldn't expect anything. Maybe the occasional good line or description or whatever, but nothing that sings off the page.

Not yet, anyway.

I did follow that first index card, where I briefly plotted out the opening scene (and all the other scenes in the story). I feel I'm off to a good start, as I got my point across in a somewhat humorous fashion (which is what I was going for).

A brief synopsis: A divorced, 31-year-old contract paralegal divides her time among her love life, caring (part time) for her Alzheimer's-stricken mother, her job, and trapping feral cats. Her love life is in a coma at the moment (one-night stands definitely aren't her thing), her mother's driving her crazy, her job is going fine but she wants to do it full time.

The cats? Well, one in particular is going to give her a scratch that lets loose with a curse, one that will bring her in touch with a gruff man who sometimes speaks in a strange language, a secret society dedicated to the Egyptian protectress of cats, and a demon bent on ripping apart all those who have the curse...

Meh. Not bad. :-) As long as I can make it sound interesting all the way through. Oh, her one voice of sanity is her grandmother, who's more lucid at 91 than Jackie's (my protag) mother has ever been--at least to Jackie.

Shuffling the Deck

I also tried that shuffling the index cards idea. Although it didn't suggest any different plot connections or whatever, it did suggest another scene which I felt I was needed (this is toward the end of the story). And, I'll probably lay out the index cards after I go through the first three or four, just to see if my mind comes up with something: A twist, another character, another scene, whatever.

No writerly advice or websites to check out; I haven't been online very much today. I will say that I think there are no rules when it comes to whether or not to use an outline. I took an unscientific test in Plot and Structure and came heavily down on the Outliner side. Others might come down on the seat-of-the-pants or Non-Outliner side; still others will have a combination of both. The bottom line is that a writer should use whatever gets her to finish her story.

Keep writing!

3 comments:

MTV said...

~Nancy

A few comments:

I favor an outline. By using an outline you can focus on the execution of the story elements rather than generating and executing at the same time.

Also, with an outline your character backgrounds can be made to register with the story progression in terms of foreshadowing etc.

While it seems like your protagonist is under the gun, with her mom having Alzheimer's and her love in a coma - the question that arose for me is whether that is "realistic" when you couple that with the feral story that is unfolding. I remember reading something on Kristin Nelson's blog awhile back where too many issues at one time could create belief issues for the reader as well a spurious sub-plot issues that take away from the central story. That's just a comment here. It doesn't mean you can't execute this - just be careful how you unfold the protag's issues.

What I see here is that the central issue of the story is complex enough that if she had a perfect life - after the feral issues, life would be plenty complicated enough, especially with the curse about to unfold.

Does that curse thing affect her "coma love" or her mom's issues?

If instead of it being a curse if it was something positive than maybe something gets better in her life. The way it is, is things are bad and about to get worse.

Just some thoughts here. Remember, you are the author and the artist. Those are just some issues that occurred to me as I read your blog entry.

~Nancy said...

Thanks for your comments, MTV. I appreciate them!

Actually, I meant her love life is in a coma, not her love(r). ;-) Maybe I didn't make that clear enough, or it's possible I had a brain drain and forgot to include the word "life".

I'll have to check that.

Good point about having too many things going on at once; I read Kristin's blog, too. That's definitely something for me to keep in mind. In fact, after I've covered the first 3 or 4 cards in the story, I'm going to do a reality check and see if everything is holding together at that point (or I may do that after the third or fourth chapter).

If I feel that her mother having Alzheimer's isn't working, I'll nix that, and just have her bothering the heck out of my MC.

Which reminds me: I think there's one minor character I'm going to get rid of right away, as she doesn't have much to do with the plot. Where are those darn index cards? ;-)

MTV said...

~Nancy -

Sounds good. Missed that her *love life* was in a coma :-)!!! Sorry about that. In that case sounds great because now you have the love interest aspect as well and you can make that work with the story. A love interest can materialize or not to fit the flow. Don't know what you have in mind but several ideas came to me as I wrote that and I don't want to influence the flow of art here :-). I can see several things being generated from that.

As far as it strikes me, her mom's Alzeheimer's should be fine because it is a counterpoint against which your main story flows. There's lots you can do with that. As well as the love interest. Both can fit well into your main plot.

I see the main theme being the feral stuff and the curse and how that then effects her and her life.

Like I said, I liked your story as soon as I saw its premise on Miss Snark and from what you describe here there seems to be lots of substance to work with here. You've thought this through and done a good job here.

How you unfold the curse should be very interesting. In a very distanced way it sort of reminds me of Cujo. There were too many forced elements in that. What I really like about your premise is that there is a very natural evolution to it and you enhanced that evolution with the situation your MC finds herself in.