Friday, October 21, 2011

Nanowrimo Approacheth, 2011 Edition.

Last year I even used the very same blog title: Nanowrimo Approacheth. I think I'm predictable.

My nano book from last year has been in constant development for the last 12 months. It's now about about 60k-ish words (I took a few months to contemplate midyear) and has changed dramatically. The fairytale aspect was dumped, the lovecraftian aspects pumped, Red's name changed to Zai, and I figured out my primary theme ('The third path and the trials involved in finding said path'). I managed to keep my roomie's interest through two pages of what I considered kind of boring transitional stuff, so that's a good sign that the whole thing isn't terrible. I am splicing in scenes with backstory (foil-flashbacks, though it remains to be seen if they'll work as intended.), and there are a couple of scenes that feel really good even where the rest feels a bit doughy. Overall, not terrible.

As of now, I won't have to rewrite anything to the extent that Princess needs it, though as I am adding scenes, I am rapidly approaching a weird section. I haven't decided if I want to rip the weird bit outs and put in a couple of flashbacks or to leave it as-is. It's not really a bad section, it's just not the correct section for the book.

Apologies that it's not at the 'send out to people' stage. :) I'm still working on it, though, albeit slowly, so there's that.

AS FOR NANO (ahem). I am using Nanowrimo this year to explore conflict and complex antagonists. My story was prompted by ideas from three of the vignettes I have lurking within my sketchdump of googledocs: Imaginary wings, shapeshifting dragons hiding among humans, and time loops.

The intended goal for the piece itself is to infuse the dark urban fantasy setting with low-grade horror, throw in healthy dose of mind-bending time travel, and have the reader seriously questioning whether or not the good guys SHOULD win by the end of the book. My goal for me-as-a-writer is to attempt higher-stakes external conflict and practice designing a bad guy who I can love to hate.

My three characters (who I am going to try and tight-focus on), are Natasha, Mercury, and Roland. Roland is, of course, the antagonist, because all the most badass characters are named Roland. *grins*

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Narrative Kinks!

Prompted by Sixwing and originating from Seanan-McGuire, I thought this was a really interesting meme-sort-of-thing where everyone is identifying what bits and baubles, story elements and narratives that each reader finds most fascinating.

My Narrative Kinks:

*Reunions - I've read books again just because they have a particularly satisfying reunion between two characters ripped apart at the beginning of the narrative. The whole running across a field of flowers and throwing themselves into each other arms is ever so very satisfying.

*Brothers and Besties - The easy comfort of people who platonically love each other is like catnip for me. It doesn't necessarily make for very interesting stories, but having someone There to Back You Up always makes characters so much more 3d for me. It's just, warm and fuzzy and oh so appreciated.

*Shapeshifters - Reading about act of shifting between one form and another gives me a very visceral sense of enjoyment. Bodies working, limbs moving, and just pure physicality in description.

*In-character decisions - I love it when I know a character well enough to say 'oh, yeah, they could never make a different decision'. Especially when the decision is made without hesitation.

*World consistency - I kink hard on worldbuilding. The more complex, rich and hopefully-coherent a world, the more I love it and the more I crave more.

* Non-gender-conforming characters - My favorite example of this is the Fool from Robin Hobb's books. But I also love characters like Alanna the Lioness, defying gender norms to achieve Knighthood. I like genderless and gender-stereotype-breaking characters. The more it doesn't matter 'what' they are or the more challenge is part of it, the better I like them.

* More-than-two people relationships that appear functional - I have a soft spot for triads and I hate love triangles. Usually the primary romantic conflict is 'you have to pick one!' the only reason for picking one is something stupid like 'because you can't have both'. Why the hell not? Give me one good reason besides convention! I understand if the 'why not' reason is, "Because they live in different dimensions and you are going to be trapped in one of them, but you have to choose so they can close the damn portal before reality breaks down." That's a legitimate reason why you can only pick one. I know that most people don't even think about it, but if a character has to pick one, it needs to be for a REALLY good reason.

* Hard journeys described in detail - I love adventure novels about the grit of the road, or journeys through the center of the earth, of pitching camp and watching the stars, of climbing mountains and hunting for food. I have no idea why, but I think they're awesome.