Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Case of the Irrepressible WIP

Scumbag Muse... is Scumbag at picking WIPs...

So I was going to finish up "Merely Meredith"....

...I had every intention of going back and finishing "Merely Meredith" instead of the other choices of Works-in-Progress that I have sitting on The Shelf....

.... I went through the work of weighing out pros and cons, and "Merely Meredith" came out on top for a variety of reasons:
  1. I had just finished a fantasy novel, after poking away at it for two years running.
  2. "Merely Meredith" is one of the few manuscripts that is plotted all the way through, but I never finished the first draft.
  3. "Merely Meredith" isn't fantasy.
  4. All of the other WIPs I have are fantasy 
  5. In turn, most of the WIPs I still have in reserve are old drafts I "finished" years ago, but need to be rewritten.
  6. "Merely Meredith" is more like realistic fiction with a little bit of romance because it's based on a Jane Austen novel, not something out of my own head.
Get the picture?

 But NOOOOO. Muse isn't happy with the idea of writing not-fantasy. Muse thinks I could use more dragons and fairies in my life. Muse doesn't care that I just spent two years thinking about a fantasy and now maybe I want to focus on another kind of character that isn't almost exactly like the character I've just been dealing with for the last two years! Muse thinks its just fine that not only is this (now) current project a fantasy, but also the novella that I still need to edit for an upcoming anthology is--YEP--also fantasy.

Grrr.... NO! STAHP!

And for all my complaining.... I sat down just this morning and wrote (or I guess rewrote...) the entire first chapter and am well into the first scene of the second chapter, and the inspiration doesn't seem to be flagging at all. *le sigh*

So, after all that, maybe those of you still reading this (and feeling sympathy for me, hopefully...) will want to know what I'm going to be working on (and posting excerpts/updates of) every week from here on out.

The Current WIP: "A Writer's Tale".... The Series

What's up: So this is technically something I wrote before... actually, it was the fall of 2012, my second-ever attempt at NaNo. A friend was having trouble coming up with an idea for his NaNo project, and I had just read "Arabian Nights" and thought it was so clever how one story just led right into the next, with nothing really connecting them, except the fact that a character in one story would say something like "That reminds me of a story..." and the next story would start as if it was the character from the previous story telling the current story. (If that makes sense...)
Anyway, he couldn't decide which genre to write in, and so I came up with the solution: who says you can't write them all? Why not write a story that follows one character or a group of characters through scenarios from different genres, as cliche as you like (like space ships and aliens, cowboys and bandits, castles and goblins, etc.) and that way, not only will you have a story that does not necessarily have to be in chronological order (because nothing kills the writing mood like having to slog through a hard part to have things set up for the fun parts) but also, you could be writing multiple parts at the same time, and thus hit the word count in a very short amount of time.
Of course, the more I thought about it... the more I was highly entertained by the idea... and then I began wondering if, in fact, it would actually work... So on September 29, just for the fun of it, I started writing... and, sure enough, I basically finished the thing in somewhere close to a month, maybe a week or two over. 
One problem: it was supposed to be "for NaNoWriMo" right? Well, National Novel Writing Month... is in November. I had just written this whole serial novel in the month of October. Oops.

Anyway, it was fun, and I succeeded in what I set out to do, (Take note, those of you who just want the experience of writing a lot of words and "winning NaNo" without putting much thought into planning out a whole big long story: figure out a "plot model" that works in multiple genres, and just start repeating that model over and over again till you reach your word count goal; if you don't want them all to feel like "cookie cutter" plots, feel free to tweak the stories at your leisure; it's fun, it's fast, and it's writing!) and I posted it as a series on my blog.

Then, I got this crazy idea: Because, you see, in crafting "compressed stories" like I did, there were ideas that I had originally thought to throw in there, just for kicks, but I ended up cutting them out because I didn't want to make the story too long. 
BUT... If I went back and expanded each section into its own little novella, and made it an actual book series instead of a serial book, it would give me the freedom to add those elements back in. Ergo, I began planning out the framework for how each section would fit into seven novellas of roughly the same length, and left it at that.

So this is what I am rewriting, this is what my Muse decided that I should be thinking about, instead of how to orchestrate the lives of three consenting adults into a miry love triangle of assumptions, mixed perceptions, and mistaken persuasions... No, I'm taking a dorky little NaNo project composed on a whim and attempting to fashion something serious out of it.

What's Old: The old stuff is mostly still going to be there. This was about three years ago, and so my writing "voice" has changed a bit from the way I phrased things... plus I'm not going for any kind of "word count limit" either, so that will affect parsing and the words that I use as well. I've got the series laid out in the same order as the sections of the serial. The books will be:

1) The Dragon's Quest (fantasy)
2) The Commander's Courage (space ship)
3) The Sheriff's Showdown (Wild West)
4) The Corsair's Deception (Pirate ship)
5) The Goblin's Riddle (medieval fantasy)
6) The Hero's Choice (superhero sci-fi)
7) The Writer's Tale (urban fantasy??)

Okay, so that last one... Maybe y'all can read that part as it is in the serial, because it doesn't have like any kind of magical beings or anything... just a character who is a "mini person", like in "The Borrowers"... what genre would that be? I don't know, I just come up with these scenarios, I don't categorize them... I might change the title if I come up with a better one, too...

What's New: So there are going to be even more changes than just a straight up "expanded edition", too. This just occurred to me yesterday, (when I wanted to be thinking about "Merely Meredith"...) so bear with me. 
You see, in the original, I just basically had these seven scenarios, but then I had to "plug them in" to a frame tale for the writer herself, who would be going through all these adventures through these random worlds. So I just threw something together, like the writer is in a "slump" and can't decide what to write, and so she just starts pounding out random stuff on her typewriter, then the typewriter "comes to life" and shows her a portal into the first world, and from there, it's just that each world leads into the next... with a twist in that the writer is technically also the narrator of these different worlds, so she can alter what's going to happen (or what is happening) by narrating from within the story.... So it's like she's "telling" the story, but she's also living and experiencing these things and... yeah, not much thought went into that one.
So the other day, I was thinking and I decided that there would need to be a little bit more of a motivation and groundwork for the fact that she is the writer--such as, what if these seven worlds were places she had actually invented and started writing, but every time she only got so far before she gave up and just abandoned the whole thing? So these are actually her worlds, but experiencing them firsthand shows her aspects and elements that she never allowed herself to think of because all she was worried about was "just getting a story down", so of course these stories never went anywhere.
So that's new, and I think it's going to work. 

Lesson Learned
You might think you know where things are headed, but if your mind suddenly careens of in a completely different direction....
Just go with it. You never know but it just might turn out okay.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a WIP to work on.

Catch you further Upstream!