Welcome to the writing log, in which I tell you how my writing progressed or didn’t during the previous day. (Character names and other details will be mentioned judiciously to protect what I’m working on, obviously.)
Word Count: 0 in fiction / 366 in blog posts
Writing Summary: Got the second writing log done. Good for me–I didn’t stop at the first one.
Thoughts: I didn’t get much written on Wednesday and Thursday aside from my writing log post, and usually I would be miffed with myself, but in this particular case, I’m going to call those two days my “days off.” I was completely exhausted and couldn’t seem to snap out of it, so I dropped all pretense of doing other things, sat on the couch, and watched Oculus on Netflix. Sometimes you just need a mental break (and a little Karen Gillan). In this case, it wasn’t a break from writing that I needed so much as a break from trying to slam as much productivity as possible into the four hours of the day when I’m both awake and at home. And that’s fine.
I did, however, go back and reread some select items from my archives. Among them were a few chapters that I remembered really enjoying from my project Art House.
So here’s the thing about Art House. I started writing it in 2002, mostly for fun and to entertain myself and my friend. Ten years later, it had over 90,000 words and 33 chapters (and who the heck stops when they’re that far along? Seriously!). Now, this is just the nature of the story. It’s long. It’s crazy. I’m not even technically halfway through it. But it was a lot of fun, and I was able to stretch my writing muscles while also writing about a ton of my characters. You can see obvious changes in my style over the years. Some of the writing is laugh-out-loud funny in the sense that it’s so melodramatic that it makes me want to roll around on the floor giggling. I kept imagining that, after some of these scenes, other characters would walk around the corner and say, “Seriously? Do you hear yourself? You’re an idiot.” Art House was something like an in-progress learning experience for me, and that’s half the reason I love it as much as I do.
Now, one of these days, I actually do want to start working on Art House again. Once it’s finished and then edited to within an inch of its life, I think it’ll be not too bad. But that’s after Bluvale is finished, and after I work up a larger story arc for the Bluvale universe in general. (So many plans.)
But there’s a point to this that relates to my current project. I swear! Just hang in there.
So, one of the fun things about writing Art House is that I get to play with one of my favorite characters–I mean, let’s be frank. He’s my absolute favorite. My Star Pupil, if you will. I know the ins and outs of his mind, his weakness and strengths, his good traits and bad ones, his history and his future–I’ve spent a heck of a lot of time with him. This is the same character I referred to in my last writing log as being a really terrible person (in the most hilarious fashion possible). Well, in rereading Art House, I realized that…wow…he really is. And I love him for it. He does the most unexpected things. I mean, literally, I had forgotten some of the things he had done in this story. And my reaction, more often than not, was “Holy cats, I can’t believe you just did/said that.” Because it was so out of nowhere, and yet so in character.
The tragedy of the character is that he’s so multilayered as a person, but he doesn’t understand this about himself. He just goes about his very manipulative business and actually tries not to have any moments of self-realization because those moments scare him to death. Only people seeing him from the outside, especially people who’ve been with him a long time, can see who he really is. But God forbid they try to tell him the truth about himself. That’s one way to get themselves killed. It’s not until much later in his timeline that he starts delving into his own psyche, and even then, it’s dicey. His compatriots pretty much all take unexpected vacations at that point.
Now, as I’ve mentioned before, one of my big problems with Bluvale at the moment is that I don’t feel like I have enough conflict. This could, of course, be entirely in my head. I’m my own worst critic, and so on, and so forth. But sometimes I feel like my main character isn’t making enough of his own decisions. He’s not particularly headstrong about most things, so he gets pushed along with the current sometimes.
This is completely opposite of the situation in Art House, where the main character is headstrong and makes a lot of decisions (most of them bad). But then you throw in my Star Pupil, and well…once he shows up in a story, shit goes down. Always. The man slips one toe into a room and it’s like…bam! Conflict. If he’s not pissing someone off, then he’s scaring the bejeezus out of them. Sometimes both simultaneously. He’s an antihero in his own stories and frequently an antagonist in the stories of other characters. He’s fun times, and he makes things happen no matter where he is or what he’s doing.
I feel like this is what’s missing from Bluvale: that person (or thing) who can throw everyone into a tizzy. So the question becomes, do I continue with the story as it is and see where that takes me? Or do I pause to analyze whether or not I need to be doing something else to make it better?
My initial reaction is just to keep going. I can always return to the beginning another time (preferably once it’s finished) and determine whether or not I need a new plan of action…or a new character…or something. There’s never going to be another character like my Star Pupil, and he won’t be entering the Bluvale universe (I know you’re mad, guys, but you gotta get your own) but I’m sure I can do something else to spice things up.
Art House might not be my shining jewel when it comes to style (at least, not yet), but it’s a great reference when it comes to creating conflict. At the very least, it proves to me that I can do it.
Meanwhile, my Star Pupil still wants all of my attention. I keep getting glimpses of scenes for other stories he’s in, and not for the one I’m actually working on. As usual, he’s being a pain and a manipulative attention whore.
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