Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I don't know what to talk about. Right now I feel like I'm just going through the motions. Where to start?

The story. Okay. Let's start with the story. Or more accurately, the backstory.

A few years ago, my best friend and I came up with the concept of a story. I won't tell you the name of it for copyright reasons. Let's just refer to it as Story E. So we came up with a list of characters for Story E, four sisters. That was my friend's idea. But the names were a collaborative thing. Initially the siblings would each control an element: fire, water, earth, and air. We came up with names and characteristics which branched from their respective element. Ivy was the oldest; Venus had blue hair, etc. I sometimes wonder what happened to that. The blue hair, I mean. No one has blue hair these days, not even in books. Wait, scratch that. In "Daughter of Smoke and Bone," I'm pretty sure the protagonist has blue hair. Natural blue hair. What I want to know is, why don't people, writers, go off on limbs like that? Make the impossible part of their ordinary world? I miss that kind of creativity. There's a story, a prequel, to a series I wrote a couple of years ago about princesses. And the style of the prequel was so different from how I write now I almost don't even recognize it. But I love it. It was formal yet humorous (if I do say so myself) and pleasantly impossible. I miss writing like that.
But here I am, going off on bunny trails, as a friend of mine would say.
What happened to Story E? Well... it's still in progress. I treasure this one probably above all the others. Why? Maybe because its origins extend not just from me, but also from my best friend. So I'm still writing it, and I like where it's going, even though I'm sort of working through it scene-by-scene, none of which are in any order whatsoever. But at least they're being written. Slowly. Agonizingly slowly. Grrr. How is it that the backstory, the history of the characters, is more exciting than the book itself? (Yes, this one is far too complicated to be some 30-some page beach read.) I love just thinking about the characters. My favorite thus far is a redhead; not the orangeish color people label as redhead, but an actual, deep red, like what Catelyn Tully from Game of Thrones has. Of course, George R.R. Martin describes it as auburn hair. Maybe that's my problem. Maybe I have to say it's auburn and not red. But I really like red. There's just something so rebellious and independent about writing someone with red hair. Gah, details. Literally can't write without them. At my writer's group last month, the alpha male of our group was saying how quests are overrated. If an agent picks up a proposal/query letter and sees the word "quest," they'll toss it aside without reading any further. Bummer, right? But I like quests. People like quests. They like the adventure and tromping through forests and swamps and near-death experiences. Quests are an opportunity for change. At least those are my observances.
Story E is basically about a quest. Question is: how do I make it not a quest after thinking of it as a quest for this long, though never actually recalling the word "quest" in my mind? I wonder if the characters will somehow separate. Not by chance or by battle, as with The Lord of the Rings. But what if it was totally natural? One of the characters does meet up with the others by chance, but their purpose is revenge. They have been wronged by the evil dictator and are now out for blood. But what if that person found they did not need their anger to drive them? What if they discovered their own contentment in, say, a village of people they could agree with, and couldn't find the fire that drove their need for vengeance anymore? Could that happen? Would it happen? And what of the others? Who is the lynch pin? What sub-journeys would they encounter on this quest that is beginning to dwindle? None of the characters really had a common purpose other than their destination. Can I really write something where the characters break apart like that? And to what end? To what purpose? All to avoid the use of the word "quest"?

You know what's nice about a blog? It's a great place to unload, to organize your thoughts, and then later, delete them.
I'm not sure who I'm talking to or if this has been a gigantic waste of your time... but if you read this... thanks.


PS: I promise to limit the amount of sappy, emotional girl drama that make it on this page.

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