Monday, January 30, 2012

Looking Ahead

This week I started writing again! Well, sort of. After a few days of thinking and dreaming, I drew up a summary for the last scene of the story of Ian Nightshade. Since this scene is a couple books away, it may be a little premature for me to write up its summary. However, writing this scene helped me work backward and figure out what has to happen and who my characters have to become for this final scene to happen. I feel good about the last scene - I felt more like I was watching it happen than that I was inventing everything, and my best work comes that way. Also, I could see how all the characters played a part in what will happen. I will not say here (way too early) what occurs at the end. But I will say that themes of alienation popped up and its a little darker than I planned.

I need to go back through my current manuscript of Nightshade and use what I learned in working backwards to flesh out characters and themes. For example, the idea of alienation. What kind of place in this world does a dreamwalker like Ian have? Every night becoming a voyeur into other people's minds, and as his other powers grow having to be very careful what he says. Ian doesn't quite fit and as much as he claims he doesn't care, I think he might. I have to reread my book and mark where his character has to be redefined. I also need to make sure the other characters are in line to play their parts in the last scene.

For example, my character Ethan comes off in my MS as a goofball, maybe too much so. But the truth is he is very smart and an excellent friend to Ian. He can be serious when it matters. That is important at the end. I need to make sure those veins in Ethan come out in the first part of this story so it doesn't look out of place later. Also, Neil is not the monster Ian thinks he is and I need to deepen his character. He's brusque and physical, but not cruel. That needs to come out more.

Books I've read this week: I finished The Hobbit and am now on The Fellowship of the Ring. I read a Jonathan Stroud book titled The Ring of Solomon and I admire Stroud's wit in his character Bartimaeus. It's a real blast to read books where characters are clever and make smart comments. Now I'm reading a book called Sebastian Darke, Prince of Fools. It's about a jester that's not funny and how he rescues a princess whose evil uncle is trying to kill her. It's funny and exciting, but I'm not far enough in to pass judgment. I will say that I really like how creative the characters are: an unfunny jester, a hip-high soldier who bests men three times his size, and a pessimistic talking buffalope. (That's not a misspell, by the way).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Year, New Resolutions

I think my first New Year's Resolution should be: blog once a week. I haven't been that good about it since I stopped taking classes that required me to blog. But I think if I plan on doing it every Monday from now on I'll be in good shape. As for other resolutions, I resolve to graduate with Honors, get into grad school, continue to write and develop new ideas, and get published. We'll see how many of those turn to to be unrealistic.

I've done mostly revising since Christmas break, working on my thesis and making changes as my mentor recommended. Sadly, I haven't been doing much new work, first drafts or pre-writes. That might change in the near future, though, because I am taking some very inspiring classes (a class on Tolkien being only the prime example) and I have suddenly felt my blood start rushing. I feel alive, which is weird for it being only January - this doesn't usually happen until March. I feel up for an adventure, whether it be real or imagined. All I need is a cause and few characters and something will sprout. I'll keep you posted.

I have done some thinking lately about the continuation of my "Nightshade" story. I've started to outline the details of how Ian, my hero, will defeat his major foe and what it will do to him. I'm of the belief that if you have a story where the stakes are high (saving the world comes to mind), the heroes cannot return home unchanged. Sacrifices have to be made. This view annoys some of my friends, but to me it feels more like a real ending. I'm not going to say here how it ends. You'll have to wait for my books to get published.

I've been reading pretty heavily. Nothing, though, that particularly stands out. I have been reading "The Hobbit" for my class, which may have contributed to my premature yearnings for adventure. I really admire Tolkien for being able to create a world, rather than just a story. The geography and languages add to the reality of the illusion. It's those stories that feel real to the reader that last and are reread.