For this blog chain, Kat chose the topic:
Be sure to check out Sandra's answer before me and Kate's after me!
And of course I want to know about you, dear Reader. How do you research? What have you learned?
Obviously if you have questions or thoughts related to those areas that you want me to be sure to include in the book, now's the time to tell me!
I've also discovered that while it's easy to find movies and books that make mistakes when talking about things like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, it's not so easy to find ones that even address things like ADHD and anorexia.
I've also been brushing up on the Sopranos so I can talk about the show in the book. I also got copies of In Treatment from my library, since I don't get the premium cable channels. Kinda looking forward to In Treatment. (I mean, let's face it, I could definitely do worse than having to look at Gabriel Byrne for an extended period of time.)
On the fiction front, I am nearly done with my NaNo novel -- or at least, done enough to have my readers take a look through it and start hacking it apart. Alas, it is shorter than I want it to be, but I'm vaguely aware of some parts that might be strengthened, and if my readers notice the same things (and hopefully have some suggestions to help me figure out how to make those things better), that might add a few words.
Once people are reading that, I'll have to get back to work on A Touch of Madness. I've decided to switch the whole damn thing into third person. If that doesn't work...well, let's just not even go there, shall we?
For more information on Work In Progress Wednesday, you can visit Kate's blog -- she's the one who started this madness. And definitely feel free to tell me all about how your WIPs are going in the comments below, or to leave a link to your own WIP post!
Labels: wip wednesday
Want to use psychology to give your story authenticity? I'm going to start answering reader psychology/writing questions on the blog. If you have a question, feel free to send it to me using the Q&A form on archetypewriting.com.
Labels: Q and A
I am still working steadily on my NaNo novel. I'm finding myself quite pleased with it. There's just one problem. It's not going to be long enough. (*gnashes teeth*)
Can I just tell you what a strange reversal this is for me? For years I have written ridiculously long novels. Epic sagas, even. Hundreds of thousands of words. I've got one I've been struggling with for quite some time now, trying to get it down to 100K. It's still at 130K, and I can't figure out where else to cut.
And then all of a sudden, two novels are too short? Whassupwiththat?
Annie finished her crit of my novel A Touch of Madness. She did a stream-of-consciousness type of crit, giving me all her reactions. It was so totally helpful, and kind of funny sometimes, too! But I've concluded something I already suspected after I finished.
There is a way to save ToM, a way to make it long enough. And that is to switch it from first person into third person.
Ugh. I am so tired of this novel. I feel like I owe it to my wonderful crit-mates to do what needs to be done, though, and see about sending it out. They've helped me so much with this thing over the last year, I don't feel right about hurling the thing out the window the way I'd like to.
In the meantime, I'm going to continue to agonize about my NaNo novel being too short. I didn't worry a whole lot about it when I wrote it, because I thought it might just end up being a writing exercise, but I really, really like the story. So now I'm praying that after I make it as long as I can manage, my fantabulous crit-mates will be able to help me again.
What do other people do when their stories aren't long enough? How do you find more story without adding fluff, or essentially starting a whole second story? Or does this only happen to me?
My agent asked me to put together a schedule for finishing up the remaining chapters for my book. There are 12 chapters total. Five are complete, 2 are in progress, and 5 still need to be written. I have until October 1, 2009. That's when everything is due to the publisher.
So my goal is to finish 3 chapters by the beginning of next month, two chapters the following month, and two chapters the month after that. That leaves me some time at the end in case something happens to mess up the schedule, and lets me put together the table of contents, index, and so forth.
The chapters I have yet to do are a couple of chapters on psychological disorders, one on physical and biological interventions (stuff like medications, electroconvulsive therapy, vagus nerve stimulation, that kind of thing), and one on the psychology of villains.
It's going to be full speed ahead for the nonfiction, so I hope the words flow!
Labels: wip wednesday
Do you write romantic relationships in your books? If so, what do you do to show the attraction between your characters? What problems do your characters encounter? What qualities do you think make a romantic relationship work in fiction?
I do write romantic relationships in my books. Relationships in general fascinate me, but the romantic dynamics of a good couple are even better.
What do you do to show the attraction between your characters?
I try to show attraction the way real people show attraction. They look at each other more than at other people, they're comfortable in each other's space, they talk about the person often and with feeling.
What problems do your characters encounter?
In real life, finding and getting along with your “other half” is difficult. Have you ever read a story in which the characters constantly misunderstand, insult, and stonewall each other, yet by the last page you’re to believe that they will live happily ever after with none of the conflict that filled every page before the last? In real life, it doesn’t work that way, and it shouldn’t in fiction, either. Conflict is the engine that keeps every story going, and the love relationships between your characters are one of the most important parts of that engine.
A problem I see in some fiction is that there is no reason for the characters to fall for each other or be in love -- other than the fact that they're both excruciatingly hot, of course. As in real life, your characters should be attracted to the people they're attracted to for a reason. What attracted your character to the love interest in the first place? What needs does the love interest fulfill? Why is the love interest different from all the other men and women out there?
In real life people choose the partners they do for all kinds of reasons, some of them noble and romantic, some of them less so. For example, maybe they had great "chemistry" with the person. Maybe they had a lot in common. Maybe they need to feel needed. Maybe they wanted to get out of their parents' house. Maybe they were ready to settle down. Maybe they needed someone to help them parent a child. Regardless, there is definitely a reason other than that someone needed them together to make a particular storyline work.
And once people are together, why do they stay together? Doing couples therapy was always a fascinating endeavor, because couples with enormous problems would come in and complain about each other and the relationship -- but still want to make it work. They still loved each other. And they could usually tell you why.
In my stories, relationships are usually messy. People say the wrong things,. have affairs, and hurt each other -- sometimes accidentally and sometimes on purpose. Ex-partners create havoc, hidden histories drive wedges, but in the end love always prevails for me. I like to pretend to be pragmatic and sensible, but the truth is that I'm a hopeless romantic, and in my stories, love really is the greatest power of all.
What qualities do you think make a romantic relationship work in fiction?
I'm most drawn to fictional relationships where there is a strong, identifiable reason for an attraction at the same time there are problems (internal or external to the relationship) that are trying to tear the couple apart. Right now I'm writing about a couple with tons of chemistry and lots in common -- the only problem is their respective peoples hate each other. In other stories, I've let misunderstandings or mistakes be what kept the characters apart. For me, the attraction to each other has to be stronger than the problems, but not by much. The characters have to keep coming together the way a pair of magnets will. They might push against each other, but inevitably, they snap together and hold on.
What do you think, dear readers? How would you answer Sandra's questions? I'm looking forward to reading your thoughts! Also be sure to check out Kate's answer -- she's next in the blog chain!