i have made quite a bit of progress since last week, in accordance with me and my mentors conversation before my previous blog post, I have been researching grammar in writing of novels or “non-scientific styles of writing”, and have begun my first edit on chapters 1, 2 and 9, I plan to have done a first mainly grammatic edit on chapters 3-7 by next blog post. Me and my mentor have continued to discuss the grammar of my book and the plot, “the plot shows a lot of potential” ( quote Michelle Bettauer my in depth mentor).
Since my last blog post I have completed the rough draft of chapters 7-9 and have a good plan for chapter ten and possibly eleven ( assuming time permits). Making the outline of what I want chapters 9 and 10 to look like has been an obstacle since this is the first time that my characters go out of there element which covers steps 5 and 6 of the Heros Journey, the crossing of the threshold and tests, allies and enemies; in many books this is where the first character arc or if following the save the cat style ( explained below) the beginning of the secondary plot and the second act.
Save the cat writing style (explained in more detail then in previous posts)
The save the cat writing style in the division of certain “times” in your novel ( such as “the villains close in” or ”the time for the protagonist to make a choice”) divided up by either page number or percentage.
The steps are: opening image ( page 1), the theme/main idea (pg 5), background for story (pg1-10), set story in motion/ change the world ( pg 12), choice for the protagonist ( 12-25), enter new situation/ act 2 (25-30), second plot line (30), promise of the premise ( 30-55), false victory or defeat (55), villains close in(55-65), all is lost ( 75), why is all this happening? ( 75-85), the eureka moment/ act 3 (85), solve problems, defeat the villains (85-110), the final image, this can be a mirror image of the first image(110).
This may sound much more complicated and structured then the heroes journey ( and it can be), so for my person writing style of combined the two styles, using the heros journey 12 steps as the structure and using save the cat, to fill in blank spots or to use if I’m having some degree of writers block or simply don’t know what order to put in different plot points.
I’m a bit frustrated with semi colons at the moment, I have asked my mentor about where they should be applied and done some research, but I am still struggling to figure out where I should use them.
Changes to process
With the information I’ve collected since the beginning of this project I’ve mainly had to make changes to dates that I want things to be done by my current schedule from now on is..
|February 28||Complete rough drafts of chapters 1-9|
|March 11||Complete chapters 10 and 11|
|March 22||Do first preliminary edit ( mainly spelling)|
|March 23||Begin second draft (most likely the last draft I’ll be able to do)|
I hope that the rest of my project time line will stay the same.
A website for improving punctuation
The every thing guide to writing your first novel
A book that seems to include almost every technique in the novel writing business
By Hallie Ephron
Evidence of progress
The second half of chapter one and my finalized names for chapters 1-9
there was one thing that I still had to do I climbed up the loft bed, checking out my window that my parents weren’t watching, ok good they were packing the car. I leaned out over the side till I barely touched the wall and pealed back a bit of the blue wallpaper behind it was a small hole in the wall.
it was where I kept the presents….
If your not in my family or you’ve never met me then you won’t know what the “presents” are every year on my birthday my parents give me one present and hide one with very complex clues, we’ve done it for decades, probably centuries it was one of the things we just did, I’d never known anything else,
it was just a fun thing that we did as a family; I never really learned where it started but I heard it was because my family used to be very poor and had very little, it was a way of making presents seem more special.
it was a fun tradition but it got… competitive my dad and his twin sister competed on his 18th birthday to win there fathers fortune; neither of them ever found it, and so when my grandpa passed away his house was left to my dad,
both my dad and aunt left home after they realized that there whole life at there fathers house had been a contest to prove them selves worthily of his money,
my dad moved to Milwaukee and met my mom,
my aunt moved to France, we haven’t heard from her since.
My dad refuses to talk about anything from before Milwaukee but I guess I’m going to find out about the town he grew up in, because that’s where we’re going now.
Weirdly enough I was- Concerned to go there, my dad had such an aversion to even the memory of the place it has to be awful,
its in the middle of no where of course its awful! I told my self and with that cheery thought I started pushing over filled boxes out into the hall,
the long red and green embroidered carpet was covered in boxes of all shapes and size, several of which were blocking the door making the hall way dark and claustrophobic.
I crawled out under the long mirror and stood up, my mildly insane looking curly dark brown and blue hair looked like I’d been pulled through a lake and it had been tied in a bun before it had a chance to dry and my eyes were still red from not getting any sleep, well they were red and almost black brown and I had a random spray of freckles across my nose.
I rubbed some Dorito dust of my face
“safina” my mom shouted,
down to one world, she must be mad now, I crawled as quickly as possible jammed a last few thing in my backpack and prepared to leave,
I looked around for one last time and smiled “bye… I guess” I whispered,
ok deep breath; I crawled out of my room and bolted out of my house down the lawn and turned around,
the window and doors almost looked like a face, an old friend ready to say good bye, how had I never noticed that before.
“ safina c’mon” my dad snapped,
he’d been uptight since we decided to move back to black pine. Black pine, black pine, black pine.
I ran the name over in my head, it was a cool name for a town.
I looked back at the house, I thought about waving bye to the house but that was childish, so I took my backpack and hopped in the car, it was an old blue SUV with massive comfy backseat,
my mom turned around “ what took you so long”
I blushed “ I forgot to pack a few things”
she smiled “oh, ok just a few things?” she winked
“ just a few” I smiled,
and with that my dad speed out of the driveway,
I looked out the rear view mirror for one last look at the house it was old and quaint, it was made of bricks and had the most beautiful garden, and it used to be home.
1 house of boxes 6 they didn’t question me
2 musical interlude 7 lying about broccoli
3 running towards nothing 8 something any logical person could dismiss
4 boring cases of arson 9 the girl who died
5 half way to a gas station
I wanted each of the chapter names to represent both the emotion of the chapter and represent my main characters a bit chaotic and unique train of thought.
How to have a beautiful mind
1.What new information are you getting and what did you ask to probe further into the information.
My mentor is teaching me a lot about grammar right now as that is what both she and I feel that I need the most work on, this week I have been focusing mostly on spacing out blocks of text and researching the proper use of colons and semi-colons, I both asked her about the use of a semi colon and how it adds to the readability, character development, conversation and context in novels
2.Discuss any new points of view you’ve developed while talking with your mentor
I think speaking with my mentor for the past few months has shown me how much detail goes into a novel, you want to be so familiar with your characters that you could answer questions about them that may never come up in the book I.e there favorite foods, books and family history ( although family history does come up in my story) and how many subconscious “tells” you need to write into your characters and how they should interact with other characters based on the emotional scars.
I never realized how big of a deal these sorts of details are to making a good book and, as I read back through some of my favorite books, I have grown a new appreciation for the time and effort that I know goes into creating characters and places out of thin air.
- an alternative perspective that is new to me is how important grammar and spacing are to a novels enjoyability as a reader, despite the fact that I read all the time it had never truly occurred to me how differently spaced and formatted novels are; well writing I’ve never really put a priority on spacing or using colons, my mentor has showed me her perspective on how utterly important spacing and grammar are to the reader and to the way that the story and characters sound.
- How do your mentors values differ from yours
as mentioned above I think that my mentor focuses more on things like spacing then I do, but aside from that I think we have similar values when it comes to writing, all ideas that she’s introduced me to have seemed like good ones, I think we both put emphasis on have fully developed characters with emotional arcs and adding detail.
5.What questions did you ask on facts or details. Elaborate
This week along with talking about grammar we talked about emotional arcs, this is when a character has a moment of severe emotional development, such as when someone shows great sadness that is part of the plot or secondary plot to show great emotional growth/how the character reacts to emotion. So I asked a lot of questions about emotional growth such as is there a limit on the type of emotion the person should experience in their arc. When should emotional arcs come in, in the plot line. I asked these questions because I am new to writing emotional arcs and didn’t know if there was a set of rules I had to follow, which it turns out as long as there is an unusual ( for the character) emotion to show growth there is very little criteria. “ with rules in writing you can often break them, but before you break them you have to fully understand the rule” ( quote Michelle Bettauer)
- ask questions, record them. Why did you ask these
Most of the questions that I asked this week had to do with emotional arcs as shown above, such as is there a limit on the type of emotion the person should experience in their arc. When should emotional arcs come in, in the plot line. And some questions about punctuation in spacing such as, if lines need to be broken up because of a line of speaking can I end a line on a coma or semi-colon such as
“Hello” bob said,
He sounded much happier than usual this morning.
Because in writing I have already been taught that after you find out who said something ( like we know bob did) you should move on the next line.
I think I asked these questions to clarify and review things that I’ve already been taught ( this week we mainly went back over stuff I already learned and was unclear on).
7.Ask explanation for a certain skill you are learning.
As I mentioned last blog post, I was confused and continued to be during our last conversation as to how the spacing and colons were important, it seemed like it could be a lot of extra work, I asked both my mentor and consulted a website that she had recommended to me that was about the importance of colons in writing to explain the point that your trying to get across in your writing.
- ask a multiple choice question, was this helpful?
I think giving someone multiple choices whilst they’re trying to explain something to you is always useful as it can remind them of ideas they meant to share with you but have forgotten or gives them a better idea of what your interested in as far as what your mentor needs to teach you and what you do not fully understand. In almost all situations asking multiple choice questions can clarify both yours and your mentor ( or any other person your talking with) points.
9.Ask questions to clarify the persons thinking or feelings.
I tried to ask questions as much as possible, for the last two meetings me and my mentor have been mostly working on grammar and I was quite confused as to why this was so important to my mentor in novel writing, she has continued to specify it has to do with her love of reading “ I like reading different stories online but if I see bad spacing or large text blocks I often won’t read something that sounded like it could have been a good story” ( quote Michelle Bettauer). So, it was important that I had good grammar and spacing to her because she wanted people to want and enjoy reading my novel.