February 6, 2010

Snowmageddon in Practice

Posted in Updates at 1:11 pm by jajohnson7

I’ve nearly finished using the Snowflake Method to outline my novel. I still need to figure out that fourth quarter of the book. It didn’t take as much time as it could have because I’d already sorted out my main characters and just needed to decide on / create the series of events that make up the actual plot. Then I accidentally skipped a step and went straight into the multi-paragraph description. Oops. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you obviously didn’t check out the link from yesterday. Shame on you!)

Today I’m taking advantage of the snow-in to write the first chapter. I’ve added a Progress Box on the side *points to the right* to keep me accountable. It works too. As soon as I added it I felt embarrassed about that huge glaring “Wordcount: 0” and immediately started writing.

The one disadvantage the snow-in is giving my writing? The frequent stops to shovel what’s fallen since the last time I shoveled.

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January 23, 2010

Plan A 2.0

Posted in Updates at 11:14 am by jajohnson7

Confession: the Regency thing isn’t working out like I’d hoped. It’s harder than I had thought to re-arrange characters and [sub-]plots I’ve had in my mind for almost three years.

My solution? Go back to Plan A, and make it less epic. It was the epic part that was catching me up, so I’m ditching it. Epics aren’t my kind of story anyway. Now all that’s left to do is update and see where the story takes me. Some ideas I had for ditching the epic part:

1. No cultural fights of doom. Originally, I’d had the main character as part of a conquered people, and she was going to rise up and lead her people to freedom. Yeah, definitely epic. It’s getting tossed.

2. Put her in a school. Sad to say, but schools are not epic. That should ratchet down the stakes quite a lot.

3. Make her younger. It’s like the younger you get, the less likely you are to do epic things (mostly because it’s expected you have to build up to it). Think about it: Dumbledore = EPIC; Aragorn = epic; Little Red Riding Hood = not epic.

If you are as equally frustrated at my lack of decisiveness as I am, all I can say is: I warned you! In my first official post, I warned you that I have too many ideas in my head to function normally. This is the result. Pathetic, but true.

January 8, 2010

Plan B

Posted in Updates at 9:53 am by jajohnson7

Wouldn’t you know it, I changed my project Tuesday night. I still like everything in the list I’d made, but the plot it created was more epic than I wanted to write right now. So, after consulting some new ideas, I decided to pull out a project I’ve been trying and failing to write for the last three years. How, you ask, will this year be any different?

The reasons I had failed before was because the story’s core was a quest format, which I have never been good at or interested in writing. I much prefer one to a few locations, rather than a wide range across realms. So I threw out the quest.

I changed the time period from medieval-fantasy to regency-fantasy. The only regency-fantasy I’ve read is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. That doesn’t mean it’s the only one, but it’s certainly a smaller genre. Also, I’ve been wanting to write a regency story for a while now, I just had too many options in my head to decide on one. (Big surprise.) I figured this would be a good time to do so.

I threw out some characters from the original outline and added in a few more to fit the new one. Right now the story is driven by the characters, but I’m not sure if I want to keep it that way or not. I guess I’ll write and see what happens.

While writing the introduction, it finally really hit me (which I’m sure most of you already know; and certainly what Jane Austen knew): the best regency stories have ridiculous characters. I just have to remember to use them. You wouldn’t think it would be difficult, but I have to find a nice balance between silly and boring, which I’ve never done before.

Challenges all around.

January 1, 2010

Welcome to 2010 and A Single Bell

Posted in Updates at 11:48 am by jajohnson7

Good evening on this fine first of the year. Let me welcome you to A Single Bell, my experimental blog. I’m giving myself a year to write and perfect a novel, and hopefully, to find someone to publish it as well.

This is not going to be a simple tally of achievements, or a place to vent frustrations on character development and finding my voice (although I might not be able to help myself on the latter). Hopefully this blog will be a place of inspiration and enlightenment, both for me and the plethora of readers out there. (ha!) And if you do happen to feel inspired, I urge you to accept my challenge, and join in the writing spree that is 2010.

So here’s to New Year’s Resolutions, and the strong draft of determination it takes to write and finish. Hopefully, I’ll see you at the finish line.