The reasons for this blog: 1. To provide basic author information for students, teachers, librarians, etc. (Please see sidebar) 2. I think out loud a lot as I work through writing projects, and I'm trying to dump most of those thoughts here rather than on my friends.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pulled up my WIP this morning and sat staring at it with no clue how to begin. So I tried to put it off by calling a writer friend to see how wf's WIP is coming along. Instead we ended up talking about my WIP while I sputtered around trying to explain why I don't know where to begin with this chapter--about all the things this chapter could and should do and show and set up. Of course I don't understand what it's supposed to set up, exactly, but I know there are lots of things.

We tossed that around a bit and wf got me to narrow down some issues and pinpoint a couple, and then it was down to mainly one, which is Character 4 and the fact that I don't "get" him yet. I described him (personality, not looks) to wf and gave some examples of people we know who are like that, sort of, and how I know what he feels because I strongly feel that way about some aspects of writing. Wf suggested that the clothing of the people we know like that sometimes shows their personality. We talked about how Character 4's personality traits might come out in what he wears. I was like, okay, he's poor and does hands-on labor, so he has one or two sets of clothes at most and they're hardly ever washed, probably patched. And he's not vain at all, but there would likely be one outward indication of this huge inner dramatic streak he has. I thought it would probably--logically--be his hat. Once I got started thinking about one specific thing (under the direction of wf) I could feel this guy getting a little stronger and moving away from the shadow of the other three characters and all the plot stuff that's fogging my brain. So I got off the phone and started working.

Specifically, Character 4 doesn't have any money, and everything he owns is worn and faded, and his hat would probably be shapeless and utile. I'm thinking it would be felt, not straw, and it's likely red, but like I said, very faded now. But...I'll bet he'd wear with a little dramatic flair, either put something in the brim, or flourish it every once in a while with a dramatic gesture, or change the angle or roll up the brim.

For some reason, this made his words fall more into place and the other characters' words recede a little, and I saw all the crap I had to cut that was me blah-blah-blahing in dialog. I didn't delete it, but cut and saved it under a separate file in case I need it again later. Now the chapter has a backbone to work with.

Thank goodness for writer friends. Worth their weight in M&Ms.

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