So, a big part of my being-stuck problem on the RSWIP (Romantic Suspense Work In Progress) was not really having an antagonist, which meant my characters were just wandering around bickering for no reason without any escalation of stakes. They had lots of problems, of course, just not the kind of antagonist-driven conflict that makes things, you know… interesting.
I found that it helped to do some outlining – but it also clarified that my lack of antagonist clarity was a big problem. So I did it again!
I treated the antagonist as if she were the protagonist (don’t most antags think they’re the protag anyway?) and went through the same steps.
This was really helpful at showing me where my antagonist was doing things that made sense for her (Act I) and where she wasn’t (uh…. Acts II and III), and helped me think about whether my antagonist WAS my antagonist, or whether she was a minion (still not 100% sure, even though I’m calling her my antag now).
I’m not sure I have many answers, but I think at least now I know the right questions to ask next time my writing partner and I get together.
I’m also a little bit tempted to give my antag a POV – or to write it as a website bonus – like Jenny Crusie did with the Antagonist Monologues on her blog – but for now, I’m going to try to focus on just getting clues about the antag dropped in the MC’s POV pages.
Hey, remember how I was going to blog twice a week, Tuesdays and Saturdays??
Today is Wednesday.
On the plus side, I spent about four hours yesterday working on writing (lesson plans, work emails, and then–eventually!!–working on the RSWIP with my cowriter in a super-sweet new-to-me coffee shop. So good overall! And I do intend to continue with Tues/Sat as my preferred blog schedule… even though this week I was lying in bed ready to sleep Tuesday night before my eyes flew open in a panic as I remembered I’d forgotten to update the blog.
Aaaanywho, despite having pulled a Maxwell Smart on my first regular blog update of the year (whoooops), I did still get a good deal of writing done, and I’m excited about it–tonight I’m back at it and have just cut over 1200 words from the draft I’m revising.
AND I’m also strangely nervous about this, but I’m going to be submitting pages from the RSWIP to my crit group. Why is this weird? Who knows. Why is this somehow scarier than giving them pages from the YA-SFF-WIP? Maybe because this is Romantic Suspense and nobody in IndyScribes “writes romance” (although most people’s stuff has romantic subplots from time to time) and I feel weirdly embarrassed and dorky about liking Romance, despite the fact that it sells super well, and is super popular, and since when do I care about people thinking I’m a weirdo?!?!
I was nervous the first time I sent them pages from the YASFFWIP, too, so probably it’s just that overall nervousness of “okay I’ve been working on this with my whole heart and soul for literally years now but tell me what you REALLY think of it” and I’m sure it’ll be fine.
So, tonight instead of writing words, I cut about 600 from the draft of the first chapter of the co-written Romantic Suspense WIP. (I need a better name for that. TCWRSWIP? Hmm, not much better, actually… And my writing partner and I definitely agree that I’m not allowed to come up with titles for anything else. Maybe I’ll see if she’s got any ideas.)
Anyway! I sort of can’t believe how much I’ve learned in the two-year fallow period I spent in between bursts of work on TCWRSWIP (for lack of a better title). I’ve been reading a lot about story structure, scene structure, beats, etc. at Jenny Crusie’s side project blog, and that has helped a lot; and, of course, the first version of this scene was sort of a trial balloon that Chel wrote to see if I had any interest in the concept (4 years and 143k+ words later, I think it’s safe to say yes–yes I did). But the story has changed very significantly since then in our minds.
Wrote another 1,184 words on the Romantic Suspense WIP that I’m writing with my friend Chel. (She wrote about 3,300 so like… dang.)
Spent a long time googling ways to describe faces. IndyScribes buddy Laura recently found out she has some face blindness; based on how long it took me to describe Our Hero, I’m not convinced I don’t have face illiteracy. Like: WHAT EVEN ARE NOSES. 🙁
And one of the major benefits of co-writing with someone with a different skillset is that I can feel free to type in phrases like…
The bar itself was polished, dark wood, and the atmosphere was REAL CLASSY OR WHATEVER PLEASE FIX THIS.
She gets her revenge when I get dialog with comment boxes over it that say things like “This is supposed to be witty flirting. It is terrible. Make it sound cool.” (I do my best.)
And maybe I should’ve put more terrible words in there – I mean, after all, it’s NaNoWriMo – part of my goal is to just keep writing, just keep writing, not to get stuck in an endless rabbit-hole of Google image searches of various types of noses.
And sure, I could’ve just slapped in some filler. I’ve already got Our Heroine responding to him in a way that should tell the reader he’s a looker, and I know that if I get too specific I run the risk of it being like the scene in Pretty in Pink where Andrew McCarthy shows up and I know I’m supposed to think he’s teh hawtness but at the same time I’m actually just like, Uh… him?
But you can definitely go too far the other way. One of my big stumbling blocks tonight was something a little silly, but: I’ve realized that I have a real knee-jerk reaction against anything being described as “perfect.” (This is possibly Twilight-related, as I seem to recall quite a few instances of Edward’s features/face being described as “perfect,” and/or him having ” a perfect nose” etc.)
To the point where I spent about 20 minutes trying to figure out how to describe this very nattily-dressed man’s tie without saying it was “perfect”… I mean, I know a lot of words! My vocabulary is seriously extensive! But… I mean…
It’s a tie.
I only care about it inasmuch as it characterizes Our Hero as someone who dresses very carefully. I don’t even have a color in mind (leaving that up to Chel–the suit is navy, so… not black? IDEK YOU GUYS).
Anyway, I gave up at “the knot on his tie perfectly symmetrical,” but I suspect editing (and/or Chel) will find a way to improve that.
At least, I hope that’s the case…
And I need to figure out how Our Hero thinks about his own hair in the mirror – currently the line (in deep 3rd from his POV) reads,
Running a hand over his perfectly placed hair, he waited to see if Rahul would actually manage to verbalize whatever he was thinking.
So if anybody out there can tell me what a(n admittedly vain) dude in his 30s would think about his own hair in that scenario…
Maybe I’ll ask my husbro.
PS–brief shoutout to myself for breaking 10,000 words for NaNo2016!! By rambling about noses to get this blog post up over 352 words… BUT STILL.
So, I am the sort of person who works best when others are around, even if I’m not talking to them. When left unsupervised, I have a tendency to procrastinate horribly unless I’m going to have to perform shortly with a hard deadline (this is why teaching works well for me–with literal bells ringing to tell me what to do next–and writing novels is a struggle, even though I really enjoy writing!).