Writing While Writing – Round 5

So I’ve been having what I have referred to as Sleep Bulimia for the last couple of weeks, in that I’ve been having wildly fluctuating sleep-patterns from day-to-day. Last night I went to bed at 11pm in an attempt to rectify this and ended up not sleeping at all. It was horrible. And now I have a cold, so I spent a couple of hours today just snoozing in an attempt to feel better.

What ended up happening was that I actually felt kind of worse, and I think it’s because I tend to become very insular when I get sick – I become very self-focused. Which makes sense I guess; your body starts acting up so your attention naturally fixes on the disturbance. But then it’s not just a change in health and comfort that you’re dealing with, but also a change in habit and activity, and just gathering from what I’ve been experiencing today I assume that’s just as disorienting.

So with that in mind, I’m going to do whatever I would have done today had I not been sick. I mean if I had the flu or something then maybe I’d just give today a miss, but then again, maybe not. Plus now I have chilli to eat. With other stuff. Not just straight chilli. My mother can do that, but apparently chilli-tolerance is not hereditary.

To the climax!

~~~

Whoops, almost missed a pretty big slip-up. Although it may have been intentional, now that I think of it. I hope it wasn’t. It works, as in it’s the sort of thing other stories do all the time – two characters with a lot of unresolved tension are having a conversation, some important, plot-hinging-upon issue is about to be raised, but then the conversation gets derailed by one of the characters bringing up something personal and they have to deal with that first and the other thing is never brought up again until it’s too late to do anything about it and cue climax.

I hate that.

And it does make sense that it would happen, given the kind of tension that these characters have, but it’s also such an obvious distraction, the kind of thing that tends to take me out of a story because the answer to the question is conspicuous by its absence and in this case turns out to be a huge plot-point, and almost always is when this happens, so it’s so easy to see through if you know what to look for – a self-fulfilling lampshade, if you will. A good story will be able to distract the reader so much by having them engage in what’s going on with the characters that they may not mind at all, and to be fair this might be one of those cases, but still, on principle I am a little bit disappointed that I did this myself, especially since I don’t think it was my intention. But then, in that case, I guess there’s no point in blaming myself.

~~~

Oh dear. I wonder if I just committed a bit of a Deus ex Machina.

That’s two! Two cliches I hate and yet am guilty of using myself, ah-ah-ah!

~~~

And another Deus ex Machina … I mean it’s technically foreshadowed, but it needs to be made more significant, even if I do want it to be a surprise twist thingy, because if it’s just a surprise twist then it feels cheap, and is cheap. But if there’s enough foreshadowing, even if it’s very subtle (which is probably the best kind), then it’ll feel like a payoff when it’s finally revealed, and it will be a payoff.

Hmm, I think being sick is forcing me to be nice to myself. Which I do appreciate, I must admit. Gives me a different perspective on how I make notes. After all, constructive criticism is the best criticism, and really the only one I want to have to deal with, so I should probably hold myself to account in that regard as well.

~~~

Ah, character-arcs.

I mean I’m really steadfastly against the idea of making this book into a series. But it makes a lot of sense in a lot of ways, regarding what I want to show with characters and give them their turn in the spotlight. The reason I’m against it, though, is that I honestly don’t think there’s quite enough there to make more than one satisfying self-contained story, and I much prefer self-contained stories, even as part of a series. Harry Potter is a good example of a series that does this well, with the exception of Half-Blood Prince, which is why it was my least-favourite when it first came out, whereas now it’s tied equal-first with Azakaban and Hallows, because the series is finished and therefore counts as a self-contained story in and of itself. I had the same issue with Empire Strikes Back until I saw Return of the Jedi. And basically I don’t want Tallulah to be a serial. It doesn’t have to be, but again, I don’t think there’s enough story here to fill that much narrative space. So I guess my option is to cut down on some of the characters’ roles.

😥

~~~

“Back” is a word that, if you use it enough times in succession, stops looking like a word. back back back back back back back back back it’s like a sound more than an actual thing like something you’d see in the old Batman show when they hit each other or something back back back back it’s really ugly-looking too just that arrangement of those letters and the sound that it makes and ugh yuck

~~~

It’s one thing to think up a soundtrack for your book. I mean I think plenty of writers do this, or at least have writing playlists and stuff if not for specific books. It’s another thing entirely to want a specific cover of a specific song for a soundtrack for a specific book and to have that cover not actually exist and for it to make you just a tad more upset than it probably should.

I mean seriously, it would be perfect. Like theme song perfect. Except that I’ve already got a designated theme song.

I tend not to listen to music while I’m drafting, but revision is a different matter entirely. Music can be quite helpful while revising, just because it makes me feel less anxious. Having background music just kind of makes things more chill. It can still be intrusive, though, so one has to be careful.

And i just spent like half an hour making a new playlist … I wish I could say that I’m only feeling so distracted because I’m sick and haven’t slept in like 24 hours, but that would be a lie …

~~~

So there’s a lot of last-minute exposition going on in this chapter, which is not only last-minute because it’s never been brought up before and is important to the plot, but also feels like last-minute exposition, like the kind you’d find in a bad 80’s fantasy film. Such as Krull, which I watched a review of today, and dear lord does it look horrible in terms of storytelling. Or like what I’ve seen of that horrendous Earthsea miniseries, only with both of those examples the exposition is not last-minute, because it’s spread out throughout the entire thing. Even in my first draft, let it be known, I managed to avoid what two big-budget productions could not, on my budget of patchy self-discipline and personal satisfaction. So that’s pretty good.

~~~

Hmm.

There are scenes that are meant to be hectic and panicked and kind of thoughtless, and this chapter has a sequence where I felt the same way while I was writing it, more or less – it’s a scene where Tallulah has to improvise, and I was improvising while I wrote it, so there was a feeling of synergy there. Now, reading back over it, it just seems like she’s being a dunce. But perhaps that’s just me being hyper-critical. Maybe it’s fine. Maybe it works.

~~~

Oh Jenna Marbles. You so cray.

Uh, I mean, this chapter has some promising ideas that I can totally develop in draft 2. Which I am aware of, because I am totally paying attention to this revision. Which I have been doing for like four hours now.

… I hate being sick …

~~~

Well, not bad. A lot of the issues with it are simply the last-minute feel of a lot of it, and then just some consistency problems. But I think almost every idea in that chapter would work great if I take the time to develop it.

Only one chapter to go. That’s pretty rad.

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