Altering Characters, Abilities and Adding Details

Though not productive in numbers, I did well today.  Very well, it feels like.

I started out with 451 words written last year, background on characters, two of which are only hints in this first novel.   I had to change a few things built into their characters, the magical abilities and predilections.  As I finally built the bones of the magical system, now I have rules in which to play, thank goodness.  Rules set limitations and limitations add stress, risk and reliability, to name a few things.  The also, most importantly, provide conflict and a world in which your reader can become accustomed.

So I went down to 326 words, then began building the characters up through their characteristics, physical looks, magical traits as well as natural, non-magical but still paranormal traits.  I built up a little bit of the past as well and started integrating the character whose background I needed to build in order to gather the motivation of the villain (you can see where I figured out what I needed while backtracking through what I didn’t have in Not Quite a Fail).  So I’m getting there.

Considering the research I had to do, the berserker kittens that went insane and cost me about 7 minutes of writing and the 5 minute coffee break, I did well.  With 48 minutes I ended up with 1255 words, 929 of them new.  I ended up with images of two of the characters homes and a bit of research done to indicate what elements each character (past) would focus on.  There was also a lot of sitting and thinking, trying to figure out just how these characters differed and how their home lives would effect their choices.  I’m not done but I’d like to think I’m halfway or more there.  Then onto the victim’s backstory.  I just need to get my MC’s family tree open and it’s with a program I originally only had a trial of, argh.  I could have sworn I had purchased it.

I might write more today, but I do also have commissions nearing their deadline and these need to get finished (for the smaller ones) and worked on (for the paintings).

Altering Characters, Abilities and Adding Details

Pirate Story for a Pirate Sculpture

A friend of mine and owner of the Fan Art Workshop Consortium (come on and join us if you’re a fellow artist!) on Facebook has been sculpting a pirate and started a short story tagging me to continue it.  I honestly don’t even remember and didn’t check back to what he’d written because I had this idea that I had to go with instead.

Before getting to the writing, check out this super awesome work in progress!!  All work and photos by Chris Thompson and copyrighted as such.  Shared with permission.

Forgive any error in writing or research.  I had 20 minutes to get the story down and different correct references down.

The heat felt as if it were sealed into the back of his neck as he stood there, mouth agape, unsure if he were seeing what lay before his eyes.  The ocean’s soft waves could still be heard even though it was at least a stade away.

“Rotten… filthy,” he muttered, throat parched.

He was a wanted man, as are many pirates. By the Queen of Spain, his head was demanded.  By England, William III wanted him dead or alive.  The colonies weren’t safe to him either, as many a man had heard the tale of Cristofer Thomsun.  He’d not been kind, he’d not been gentle and he’d not suffered a fool.  No one crossed a man as ruthless and as bloodthirsty as the great Pirate Claythumb.

Until now.

He’d been hunted.

His crew had died, one by one.

He’d nearly died of thirst… or starvation.

Maned by only him, he’d managed through the most hellish storms; surely the ungodly sirens and the great, fierce ocean beasts had come within a mere palm’s length from making him a feast.

What a bitter, tough, sour feast he would have been, he’d thought to himself as he pulled himself from the wreckage of The Bahbross, previously a beauty to behold.  He’d consoled himself with the fact that he still had his spyglass, shovel and map… and the last two jugs of booze – one wine, one rum.

Now, fully out of supplies, he stood over the treasure site, sugary sand piled up in a crescent shape around him.  It had been a miserable half day of digging.  He stared down at the contents of the hole.  X had marked the spot.  But of this?

“A… a joke?  A JOKE?” he rasped.  His knees buckled under him, the spyglass slipping from his hand and, as if to add further torment to his last moments, he banged his head on the handle of his shovel as he fell to the sand.  He barely registered the blistering heat through his threadbare clothing.  His other hand clutched desperately at the stone-smoothed, sun-beaten map.  It had never been sealed or weather proofed and so the lines had faded… but they’d still lead him to this.

The grave of another pirate lay before him, the ‘treasure chest’ lay atop ole Mr Skull and Bones.  On it was carved fifteen stick figures.

His wife had given him the map.  After he’d spent so much time with his crew, after pirating had become his obsession.  She’d said she’d stolen it from another man at a tavern.  Now he doubted the truth of this.

“15 men,” he croaked, falling into the grave, the lights behind his own eyes fading.  “On the dead man’s chest.”

The wind blew the salty air around him, sand softly falling around him with the breeze.  “Yo ho ho.”

The last words of the great and feared Pirate Claythumb, Cristofer Thomsun, who’s only crime was loving the pirate life too much.

My first intentional use of an allegory that I can think of HA!  The “pirate life” he so loved is actually The Artist’s Life.  There are several inside jokes and references in the story itself and I had a blast.

It might be a complete miss if you’re not a part of the group and that’s fine 🙂  It’s not meant for everyone, but it was fun, I wrote it and I wanted to keep it somewhere I could find it.

Pirate Story for a Pirate Sculpture

Not Quite a Fail

This morning I was dragging!  I used to have to get up at 4:30 to 5am to complete a very lengthy process to get to work by 8am.  Our car had been totaled, we had no money for another one, so I was walking (eventually I rode a bike once we had a little $ to buy one) to catch a bus to get to the Tri-Rail (when we lived in South Florida) and then from there I would walk or ride my bike, unless a friend of mine picked me up.  I’d leave work around 6 to 7 to get home around 9pm and crash around 10 to start the whole thing over.

All this and yet I feel as though 7:30am comes so fast!  Still, I’m grateful I am no longer where I was.

Today I sat down to my computer, found out my mom had been in there already for a half hour.  She did GREAT today!  I, on the other hand, struggled.

I got some great notes on how to start integrating one character’s past through just actions and little hints.  That was the first ten minutes, but then I was done with that.

The next task was to find the detailed motivation for this antagonist to kill his victim.  Of course, this should have been covered pre-book writing, but I had been so excited by my concepts that I rushed ahead.  Now I’m carving out and slim-grinding these bits and pieces to fit the puzzle I have created.  Not for the faint of heart.

What’s worse is that, while bits and pieces of his motivation ARE in HIS backstory, I needed his victim’s backstory.  And to create that I needed MORE backstory and 3 bios along with a clearer definition of three now-dead characters’ past powers, updated to fit the newly created magical system.

So before I can create the motivation for a single character, I need all of this.  It’s actually a good thing to have figured all of this out and now I have a clear direction.  Hence the “not quite a fail” title.  It’s still difficult, but I have a solid path in front of me.

Off to work!

Not Quite a Fail

Another Amazing Morning in The Focus Room

My mother and I did our focus room again, this time extending it to roughly two hours with one ten minute break in there.  So the total approximate time was 130 minutes.  I lost out on about 15 to 20 minutes of writing time with various issues, but for the most part got in a good amount of time!

I got a total of 2194 words.  Not bad for the time involved and, again, this was creating a magic system for witches and, once that was finished, creating the backstory of how two characters met – I had to read some of the previous backstory written for one of the characters as well.

A neat thing that came from this work was the creation of another character that I really, really like right now and that will surely die in some horrible fashion somewhere in this 7 book series.  So sad!

What’s also neat is how writing all of these things I need to know to have a solid series (and of course, first book) opens up more and more and ties everything in together in awesome and unpredictable ways.

So I’m giving some huge shout outs to having a writing buddy and a Focus Room!

Another Amazing Morning in The Focus Room

Words Done but in Background

My mother ( and I set up something that we both currently need.  We’re up early, we have an hour in a private chatroom where the only sentences are pretty much “Go” “Stop” and reports on what we accomplished and encouragement.  A kind of Focus Room.  Every day, Monday through Friday with few exceptions, we’ll meet there.  We’ll get words or revisions done.  I missed the first day, yesterday, due to needing to take my cat to the vet for an emergency illness (which turned out to be an abscess).

Both of us are busy and we needed something structured and something together to just kind of help and also it creates this amazing sense of accomplishment at the beginning of the day.

So today I got 1789 words done in 65 minutes.  It’s not my best but this isn’t a competition and that’s something I’ve got to work on.  This was a great amount done on building my magic system for the world I’m working in, a world where Fulton Hills exists.  I’ve had this idea for Fulton Hills since I was maybe 17 or 19, somewhere around there.  I’ve written things previously where it’s been mentioned or stories have been located in or near it.

This story is mostly near Fulton Hills.  The book and series takes place in Standing River but Fulton Hills will be featured.  This is a world of the paranormal and the extraordinary.

The first draft is written.  I am about 75-85% through revisions.  The Write-In is coming up and I have a LIST of things I neglected to build while writing the first draft (started on 9-31-16).  So I’m working my way through this background material during our sessions.

I also have commissions for art (10 paintings and a handful of portraits) as well as customer service & website work for my mom, website building for me, studying and marketing to do.

But at least I will be making consistent progress every weekday no matter what.  And that feels incredible.

Words Done but in Background

Another Day, Another Blog

I’ve had many writing blogs in the past, my oldest being a Livejournal blog which was a mixture of writing and life.

This one I figure will also be that.  I don’t think you can really separate writing and life too much.

I’ll post snippets, word counts, behind the scenes, updates and books here.  I’m more than excited to share my journey and my writing.

I am currently working on Glass House, which is now deep, deep into revisions.  This is so huge for me, I’m in love with most of it and hoping that by the time I’m done with these hellish Days of the First Big Revision I’ll be in love with 100% of it!

Big shout out and thanks to Holly Lisle for the amazing How to Revise Your Novel course.  It’s Revelation and Torture and Education all in one!

Another Day, Another Blog