Monday, November 2, 2009

30 Days of Write: Charting by the Stars

Mornin', y'all! Hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween. To catch you up, I finished my rough draft of Mara's story on Friday night, had a blast covered in blood, mud and beer at Voodoo fest, and managed to get in my writing quota yesterday while my poor body recuperated from a surfeit of dancing and Blue Moon and Hurricanes and deafening music. And the food. I don't know about where you come from, but here, people get just as excited about the food as the music. I had crabcakes, crawfish bread, deep-fried oreos (my favorite)-- I spent just as much time in food lines as I did in front of stages.

I almost won a game of Bingo!, saw a zombie trapeze act, a zombie burlesque act, and a zombie cellist, saw a huge Japanese gospel choir, and sang along with tons of songs.

I went to see Gogol Bordello and danced my ass off (and got the t-shirt). This band has been one of my biggest muses while writing Mara's story, so it was amazing to be able to see them the day after I finished my rough draft. I even listened to their CD while I wrote on Friday, I am that much of a dork. Saw Jane's Addiction, Parliament, and a lot of guys dressed like Gene Simmons, even if I didn't see KISS onstage. It was fun-- and MUDDY!-- and man, am I sore!

Oh, you wanted to hear more about how NaNo is going for me?

Actually, it's been an interesting experience so far. Since I spent so little time plotting this novel, I'm not actually sure where the story might take me. It's a strange feeling. Writing a novelization of Hansel and Gretel, I already have an established storyline to follow. But as I write, I'm having to decide what to keep, what to toss, and what to change or add to the story.

Usually I plot by stringing along scenes that come to me the most vividly, the scenes I'm pretty sure I want to use. The stars, for the sake of this particular metaphor on writing.

The end, for instance, when Hans and Greta return to their father, will be a bittersweet reunion. I'm not sure how they escape from the witch yet, so that scene remains uncharted. In fact, my "stars" are looking pretty dim right now. As time goes on, I'm sure they'll come into focus, but for now, I'll navigate by the ones I can see.

Of course, I thought it would be easy to turn a 32 page fairy tale into a 50K word novel, but it's turning out to be a bit more of a challenge to create believable characters out of almost cardboard cut-outs. My Greta is turning into a lazy dreamer, and Hans her keeper. I don't actually have an idea of what I want the witch to look like or act like, but I know she'll lure the children to her and treat them like her own. It's not my Hansel and his young flesh she's after, though.

It's Greta.

I'll keep you posted on my progress, and I hope everyone who decided to write or revise had a great first day of NaNo. I'd love to hear about your stories, or progress.


Abby said...

You can't see me. I'm not here. I'm unplugged. But I just have to say...

Yea! You got your first draft of Mara's story done!

That is all. Happy writing!

Susan R. Mills said...

Congrats on finishing Mara's story. Good luck with Nano.

Lisa and Laura said...

Your retelling sounds fascinating! I can't wait to see where you go with it!

Tere Kirkland said...

Where's Abby? I don't see her anywhere! ;) Thanks, it feels really good to be done.

Susan, thanks for the congrats and the luck! For a few days there I thought I wasn't going to make it, but I do really well under pressure. If I just sit my butt in the chair for an hour a night, I might actually "win" NaNo this year!

LiLa, I might post some early snippets, just to demonstrate the new work-flow I've been using. I'm trying to just write what I see and hear in my mind as it comes, and I'll deal with rhythm, style, spelling and even descriptions later.
For now I'm mostly just spewing out dialogue and exposition from Hans's point of view, which is coming out pretty quickly. Thanks!