Books for Everyone

Books for Everyone

10/31/08

The eve of NaNo is here. Am I ready? My outline and character arcs are finished. I can hear the story unfolding in my head. Yet, there's a part of me that wonders if I am ready for this annual event. As with the previous three years, I wonder if I can make the allotted 50,000 words before the end of November. This year, I've set myself a higher goal, like every other year. But never before have I decided to do two first drafts. Can I make it? Wait here for details.
Now for the character in my first effort. Kim lives with her family. Not so unusual. However, even though she's the middle child, she looks nothing like her four brothers, parents, uncles, or grandfather. She lives with violent and humiliating abuses. Kim believes something's wrong with her, since her family constantly refers to her as the wrong one.
A chance encounter with a teen during one of their interminable moves brings dreams of a better life but it's a someone else's life. A girl who has people around her that love her. Kim hears strangers calling her by another name. She sees things that seem familiar in the new town where she lives. Slowly, she learns she may be this child she's dreaming about as the pleasant interludes from her family's violence turn to nightmares.
A particularly violent punishment leaves her injured. She decides to walk away from her family, literally, and goes to a place someone told her would offer help. There she learns she is the missing child. Now she has to learn to live with love and caring people around her. Can she do it? Can I write her story. Only this next month will tell.

10/27/08

NaNo Begins Soon

I've decided to not only go for the 50,000 word challenge for the fourth year in a row but to show my word count as I push myself to create a new young adult novel. Every year, I find myself looking for new challenges to participate in this worldwide competition. What do I win when I cross the mark? Nothing but personal satisfaction. While I do this, I'll also be blogging here and with NaBloPoMo - a blogging site where you have to post once a week. As many who know me will say, right! I'll probably log on daily while the race is on.

Look for more on the characters involved in this story. It promises to be very interesting while addressing something teens deal with.

10/8/08

Bullies Part II

Continuing the subject of bullies, I wonder if the antagonist, the bully, has to be the same age as the main character. In a new book I'm plotting, the main character has to overcome something that happened long before she was born. Not a time travel book. The paranormal comes into play here, where she has to prove her great aunt's innocence while also making the town believe their mayor, the man her granddad hates, is responsible for the woman't disappearance. While I've kept the nearly 70 year old man as the main antagonist, he does enlist his granddaughter's assistance to remake the town into the place he remembers from his youth, with some modern updates.
I know. I know. Cowardly to add a younger antagonist along with the main one but it's important to the plot line. Isn't that how writers justify keeping in things they should edit. However, plotting this, done in first person for the modern day and third when the ghost comes into play, is really testing my skills. My character has always lived with people calling her by her great aunt's name, because they're mirror images of each other. Now that she's had to give up some of her dreams, to help her family, she wants to be an individual, someone who didn't rip off the town and run away.
How does she accomplish it when faced with prejudice, witnesses either dead or unsure of what really happened so far back? By diving in and kicking the odds. She does have friends and they do help but it's mostly up to her since she has the most to lose. This particular piece of work is challenging me as none other ever has. I think it's because I had such a different vision of it and now I have to condense the scenes from the fifties in order to make the present and the mystery more important.
More later.

10/1/08

Bullies

What can I say about a bully? They're a fantastic antagonist? Well, they are but you must craft them carefully. No more of the usual kick in the seat of the pants, steals the lunch money, and generally makes your protagonist's life miserable kind of bully is acceptable. No, today's bully must by sly. They must lurk in corners, finding chinks in your armor and then, but only then, work though it to destory you in so many ways you often wonder if they're not right.
Have I found myself the target of bullies? Sure. Hasn't everyone? How do I handle them. Well, most might say it's not right but I've found they implode if no one listens to their diatribes.
In my latest WIP, the main character finds herself reviled by her community. They've decided, without any doubt, she ruined not one but two lives. And how did they come to this conclusion? Why she did it. No previous problems in her life. An honors student, part of an elite but not elitist group, yet she did it with no other questions asked. And how did the community come to this conclusion? Because someone else stood up and shouted she did it first. That's all. Very simple. Ah, but impossible you say. No one would ever do this?
But doesn't it happen in real life? I whisper. Don't people, when they don't receive satisfaction from their do it my way or else attitude, immediately slam the person until they curl up into a ball? Doesn't reality have a huge impact on our writing?
Someone commented I should use character questionnaires to delve into the personalities of my characters. Sorry, I disagree. Questionnaires are hidebound. They allow no room for character growth since you answer questions about your character long before you actually write their story. A story evolves as you write it. It becomes connected in ways you never saw possible. Good stories, that is. Some characters grow and others remain rooted in what they see as their most important moment in their life.
So for those who believe a character is nothing more than electronic bytes or pen on paper, please look at those around you. They are as human as the people we interact with daily.