1. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    I've ruined it. Help!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Midnight_Adventurer, Dec 5, 2011.

    It’s a mess, a total and utter disaster and despite how much I urge myself to continue and ignore the fact I’ve screwed it up I just cant.

    Here’s my problem.

    Chapter 2 is a very important chapter. It introduces a strange and somewhat unique character, Gabrielle. It’s a high school setting, but in a small town where getting a new student is big news. This chapter, along with most of the story, is seen through Garth’s eyes via 3rd Person POV and is the only senior student who notices something odd about her straight away (this is actually important to the rest of the story). What I’m struggling with is showing this through the school day. I just seem to jump from class to class and a lunch break without any real mystery. I can see it playing out in my head— what Gabrielle is doing and how Garth reacts— but it’s not coming out right. I don’t feel I’m inside Garth’s head as much as I should be for this chapter. I'm not accurately portraying his thoughts, emotions etc, so how do I do this? I need him to notice Gabrielle's odd behaviour without anyone else noticing.

    If I’ve made any sense and you understand my problem, please offer some advice :redface:
     
  2. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Write out his thoughts (is what I would do). Nobody can read his mind (I think :p).
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Forget about writing it from his POV for now and just work out objectively what everyone is doing, where everything goes, how to time and pace it. Once you have it objectively planned, you'll know exactly what Garth will experience and be able to use those points of connection to create mystery. If even after that sort of approach you can't translate it into what you're hoping for, then try it from a different POV entirely and just play around until you find something that works.
     
  4. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Hi Jhunter,

    That's a good idea. I should really focus on what Garth is thinking, get it onto paper and then incorporate into the chapter.

    Hi Arron,

    I have a general outline of what needs to happen in the chapter but maybe it's not detailed enough. You’re right; I should spend some more time figuring out what exactly needs to happen. And I've also thought about changing POV, but that might create a completely new problem later on, lol. You've given me a lot to mull over.


    Thanks guys, you've been really helpful :D
     
  5. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I think you shouldn't put too much thought into it now. Write it one way, and keep writing. You will end up changing the earlier bits in your piece many, many times, and I think you will get a better idea of how things should be done later on in the project. That's how I roll, anyhow ;)
     
  6. Mr. Rugs
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    Mr. Rugs New Member

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    I'm a new member, so my advice may not be the most reliable, but I think this has happened to me many times when writing. I fell like the story is choppy and too "They went here, then did this." Am I understanding you right?
     
  7. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Oh how right you are jwatson and I know I should just keep writing it seems to be the ultimate remedy when writing a first draft. Just ignore all the problems and write! Unfortunately, I have a streak of perfectionism which has got me stuck on chapter two, but be assured I'm trying my best to push it aside.


    In a nut shell yes Mr. Rugs, this choppiness seems to be localised entirely within chapter 2 at the moment. I’m finding it hard to make the transition between first period, second period, recess, third period, lunch and the final two periods flow without sounding like a list or sounding boring. I haven't had this sort of problem before.
    Gotta love writing! :rolleyes:
     
  8. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    You need to remember that people do not want to read a play-by-play of someones life (in most cases). Some jumps in time are needed to keep people wanting to read (people most of the time do not want to read filler). But if you really want to write out the entire school day,with no jumps in time, than write it how any old school day would play out. Just remember (in either situation you choose) to have Garth notice and think about the things you want him to. It doesn't need to be in first person to show someones thoughts. You can still keep it in third.
     
  9. Mr. Rugs
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    Mr. Rugs New Member

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    Try adding more detail. Say he took a test from the table and started working on it, for example. Describe how he took it, where he took it from, who he saw on the way to his desk, and what they were doing. This could be used the same way in-between classes, or at least I think it could. But what do I know? I'm new. Hope this helped.
     
  10. L a u r a
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    L a u r a Senior Member

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    Maybe you could try writing up a sort of mini-story within this chapter. Now, I don't know what is "odd" about Gabrielle, but I'll try to give you an example of what I mean. (NOTE: I'm tired, so my example is going to be...well. It's gonna be really dumb.)

    Say Gabrielle has some sort of power over animals. Like, maybe she can read their minds or something. So at the beginning of the school day, maybe Garth goes into a certain classroom because he has to talk to the teacher about a missing assignment. The classroom has a gerbil in it that's all alive and healthy, munching on its carrots and whatever. Here you'd add something that would spark up Garth's personality; maybe he hates gerbils because of a nightmare he had when he was three years old about an army of giant rodents that took over the world. (Work with me, here. ;) ) Throughout the day, Garth passes this classroom, each time making a mental note about the stupid gerbil, until seventh hour when he has the class with Gabrielle. Here he notices Gabrielle staring at the gerbil--and the gerbil staring back. He notes a few other oddities, such as the animal following Gabrielle with its creepy little eyes when she went to sharpen her pencil. The only reason why Garth would notice this is because he pays special attention to the animal; he doesn't trust the thing, so he keeps an eye on it at all times.

    The point behind my weird little scenario? A mini-story--one that would connect Garth to Gabrielle--might be the solution you're looking for here. Rather than describing random events that happen during the school day as space fillers, have a point to your writing and create a little mystery.
     
  11. L a u r a
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    L a u r a Senior Member

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    I second Jhunter's point! If you find yourself slopping down a hum-drum list of "he did this, he did that," it could be time to switch it up a bit and skip over to lunch. Reverting back to my idiotic gerbil story, maybe after Garth passes by the classroom at second period, his stomach grumbles and he starts to think about lunch. Then you can make the transition and skip a few hours of the day, starting the next paragraph by talking about how, once Garth caught sight of his soy burger and floppy fries, he was no longer hungry. The trick is to make a connection between the endpoints of the moments you skip so that there's a smooth transition.
     
  12. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Oh, I have no intention of describing every minute of Garth's school day, I do jump to the important times. It's just getting there that's got me caught up, it's making the transition between those times flow. Yeah I intend to use 3rd POV, nevertheless Garth's reactions and thoughts throughout the chapter are proving to be difficult to convey, despite having them clear in my head.
     
  13. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    LOL! :D Oh that's such a cute little story Laura, it's made my day. This is how my chapter progresses.
    Gabrielle is an angel, but she's not exactly on par with how our world and human's behave. As a new student she's quiet and observant which everyone expects, but Garth notices at the end of class that she's sat statue still and hasn't taken any notes despite having an open book. Strange much? She ends up in Garth's 2nd and 3rd class where she acts the same way. At lunch, Garth and his basketball teammates have their game interrupted when the "Populars", you know the type, show up with Gabrielle tagging along. The guys are going gaga over Gabrielle, but Garth is slightly wary. Again she doesn't do or say anything. Garth's last class is double History and Gabrielle is there. He does his best to ignore her, but receives a note (from a student) telling him he's being watched. It's Gabrielle, no surprise, and she's staring right at him without any hesitation or embarrassment for being caught. This really unnerves Garth and things just get weirder throughout the story until everything is revealed.
    As you can see I’m going exactly what you suggest I shouldn’t try to do and I very much like your idea of creating a central event. What it could be I have no idea yet, but it would simplify the chapter and could make Garth’s thought patterns and emotions a lot easier to write down.

    Thank you so much for your insightful little story :)
     
  14. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Drama is life without the boring parts. So write just enough about the daily grind for people to emphatize, but not enough to bore them. Stick to the unexpected and unusual parts, not to the humdrum. The humdrum of life is what most readers try to escape by reading fiction.
     
  15. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I think what is needed really is to get away from the action. Write something completely divergent from what is actually happening and have it curve back to the action as the plot requires it. Play around with digression...not everything you write needs to advance the plot in a linear way, and by taking a tangential approach you might find a way to navigate the action without being merely descriptive.
     
  16. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I have two(maybe more) young people going to class, I think we all know, the average class is boring to sit through, let alone to read about.(sorry to any and all teachers, but I hope you even know its true...alright, there were a couple classes that were almost never boring.)

    The first day is about confusion, new experiences, meeting new people. So I tend to skim over the first days events, then mention how school is going occasionally, maybe have a scene in a class.

    Writing is squeezing every drop of interest out, and throwing away the boring remains.
     
  17. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    Sounds like he's not the only one who notices something strange about her.

    This could be your central scene, perhaps. He's maybe thought it was just in his head, that Gabrielle wasn't actually acting strange and he was overreacting, but the fact that someone else noticed a part of it makes him realize he's not making it up. And then it occurs to him that she's been following him all day, and he starts wondering if she's some kind of nutsy stalker or something.
     
  18. L a u r a
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    L a u r a Senior Member

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    Haha! I'm glad I made your day. :) The plot you have here sounds interesting enough, though; I think you've already got your mini-story. To make it stronger, though, perhaps you could think of a little quirk or habit of Garth's (maybe an experience he had when he was younger?) that makes him especially prone to observing others. Of course, some people are just observant by nature, so maybe you wouldn't need this bit of background info....

    I don't know. It's your story. Perhaps, if you still feel like it's choppy, you could post an excerpt of it for critique?
     
  19. OutlawedAngel
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    OutlawedAngel Member

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    Hey Midnight, don't be so hard on yourself and think you have ruined it. Remember the other night when i mentioned to you that i tend to write freestyle for a rough draft and then look back over what i have done and plan around that to flesh it out etc... well my suggestion is don't think you have ruined it, just get the initial concept you have down on paper and then try to fix it.

    However i would suggest that a) you don't neccasrily need to do it in an entire school day as this could be what is holding you back, you could cut to specific important times throught that day, e.g. a specific class, lunch etc....

    Secondly you may find it difficult to hide her odd behaviour - when you say from everyone else do you mean your audience or the other characters in the work? As if it's the other characters in the novel and its from Garth's mind state then you coudl portray him either as being paranoid, or perhaps you could have him comparing her to other girls he knows and how she is so different from them etc.... If however it is your audience then it might be diificult to hide as Garth being your hero then the reader is going to know what you want them to know though him, unless you lessen how much you want to give away at this point of the story.

    Anyway hope there was something there that might help you.

    OutlawedAngel.
     
  20. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Ya know what? I didn't even think of that and it's funny because Matheson tries to say hello to Gabrielle earlier on but gets totally shut down. Hmm, maybe he's a character I should invest some more thought into.


    Thanks Laura :) I like the idea of tweaking what I have by including a bit more background info about Garth, something quirky. He's actually good at picking up "vibes" from people; he can kinda judge what they're like. He's not too sure about Gabrielle though, only that she unsettles his nerves. I think I really should post an excerpt; it'll be much easier to read what I'm struggling with rather than me scrambling for the right words in this thread, lol.
     
  21. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Hey OutlawedAngel,

    Yeah I'm not going class by class, I'm cutting to the important times during the day, but the fact Gabrielle ends up in all of Garth's classes is a point I want to focus on a little. Like I keep saying, I'm also finding it tricky writing the transitions between these important times, getting the chapter to flow without it sounding too choppy.
    I mean I’m trying to hide it from the other characters, the other 150 odd students in Garth’s year level. I essentially need Garth to notice she’s odd, strange, unusual, weird whatever without anyone else catching on. Kinda like, and I know everyone will groan with contempt, how Bella suspects there’s something odd about Edward while everyone else seems oblivious. It has nothing to do with love or fascination though; Garth wishes he didn’t notice a thing about Gabrielle. Ugh! :confused: Does that make sense? Maybe I’m making this too hard for myself.
    Posting that excerpt is sounding like a good idea.
     
  22. OutlawedAngel
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    OutlawedAngel Member

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    Understandable altough just want you to know that i think in Twilight (i havent read the books, i was forced to watch the film, which i slated for days) but i think it works in Twilight as Bella is the new kid. The others are used to it because its normal to them. But its all weird for her new school, new people, etc.... However you could make it that Garth notices these things because noone else is as tuned in as him, like he has a sixth sense or sommit - i'm unsure, like i said i'll have a look over your draft and get back to you with some comments :)

    OutlawedAngel.
     
  23. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    Yeah I haven't read Twilight (as you know) I'm just assuming/going on what I know, naughty naughty. You're right though, in this situation the roles are reversed. Garth is naturally observant and everyone's just infatuated by Gabrielle, someone new to talk about and pretty to ogle over. I guess this is the cover that blinds everyone except Garth. Yeah I'll get onto that.

    Thanks Angel :)
     

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