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This week, I worked on exactly one step in my 21-step program, step 14. OK, that's not exactly true. I went back and redid step 13, and then was able to even attempt step 14. Basically, steps 12, 13, and 14 in this program is when you take your character work from the first eight or so steps and think about how your characters fit into the "world" of the story.

When I was doing step 12 last week, I interpreted the "world" of my characters as the world they inhabit when the story starts. The exercise is more or less couched in those terms, and my main characters are ordinary people living in the city of San Francisco.

And yet, this story is going to be the sort of urban fantasy where ordinary people have no knowledge of the supernatural, and discover it as the novel progresses. So in fact, the "world" the characters' journey happens in is not the "world" that is effecting their existence when the story opens.

This um...duh caused problems when I got to step 14 this week, because that steps asks you to write about how the world of the story helped or hindered the character's personal goals--in other words, it is the step that starts to flesh out the plot of the novel. I needed to be writing about the world they couldn't see in steps 12 and 13 as much as the world they could, because it's going to be the world they couldn't see, initially--the supernatural world--that guides the plot and is the whole point of the story.

I mean, jeesh, eight whole months of supernatural world-building and still totally misinterpreted the instructions to step 12.

Anyway, I do have eight months worth of notes on the supernatural aspects of my contemporary San Francisco, so that gave me a lot of material to dig through in redoing step 13, but once I did, it only took me a couple hours to do step 14.

Thinking in terms of the characters with goals getting thwarted thing was a very useful exercise. It made me realize I didn't have nearly enough obstacles in the way for them, and specifically, obstacles in the form of other characters. I had to rethink some characters I'm rather attached to, and make them a lot more dark/morally ambiguous than I was making them.

So it was a productive week.

And now...now I realize I've gone over a week without looking at The Destroyer. I need to get this ep done before the end of the month, or I'll still be writing it at the end of the year, when I want to be writing this story. So I will probably be taking a break from my steps and these updates for a few weeks.


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( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 8th, 2009 09:34 pm (UTC)
Actually it sounds like a fun program =)
Aug. 8th, 2009 09:41 pm (UTC)
It's been helpful in moving from stream-of-consciousness brain-storming to actually having something that resembles an idea for a novel.

; D
Aug. 9th, 2009 04:55 am (UTC)
I'm not so sure I'd worry too much about misinterpreting #12. I've seen other writers in my various groups get so bogged down on the process and the how-to books that they never get anything accomplished

on the other hand if yuo're happy with what you've got done, that's good too
Aug. 9th, 2009 12:56 pm (UTC)
I gave up on reading how-to-write books in my 20's because I was so busy reading them I didn't write.

Then, in my 30's, all I did was write, and write, and write, and ended up with an unwieldy too-long manuscript not geared towards...well, any writing market.

So now I am trying to discipline myself a little bit to find a happy medium.

Edited at 2009-08-09 12:56 pm (UTC)
Aug. 9th, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
understandable. As natgel said it does sound like a fun program
Aug. 9th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
I think, like anything else, it's what you make of it. You could do this lazy or intensely or something in between. I tend to go intense.
Aug. 9th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
knowing me, it be lazy
Aug. 9th, 2009 03:16 pm (UTC)
And yet, somehow, you're way more prolific than I....
Aug. 9th, 2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
yes but the question remains, is it any good?
Aug. 9th, 2009 03:38 pm (UTC)
Someone liked it, they put it in an anthology!
Aug. 9th, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
this is true but doubts seem to linger
Aug. 9th, 2009 04:30 pm (UTC)
Don't they always? I have to get past that, myself, or I'll keep writing stories and storing them on my hard drive.

Or worse...back-up discs!
Aug. 9th, 2009 07:08 pm (UTC)
i hear you. IT's a scary thing sending the babies off to the publisher but it has to be done
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
As soon as I figure out the best strategy for this 230,000-word epic.
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:12 pm (UTC)
luckily the one I had that long was easily broken down into book 2 & 3 of a trilogy that STILL needs use to finish and polish
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:15 pm (UTC)
Which is why I'm concentrating on my new story. But again, as usual, it's a novel.

One of these days I'm going to need to learn how to write short stories.
Aug. 10th, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
they're much harder
Aug. 10th, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, I think so.
Aug. 11th, 2009 02:47 am (UTC)
as are novellas w hich hurt since you know if you're writing it for something like my space opera and they dont' want it almost no one else does either
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )