1. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Mystics: Progress Journal.

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by OJB, Nov 19, 2016.

    Hello everyone,

    My name is Ory, and I am working on a graphic novel titled Mystics (not really a comic book, more like a novel that will have illustrations to go with it). I will be using this journal to keep track of my progress, post ideas, gain feedback about those ideas (if anyone is so inclined to do so), and to jot down things I've learned.

    My goal is to have my novel finished by December 31st, 2017. Currently, I am working on the second draft, and I am also taking an English Grammar refresher course (my grammar skills are a bit behind, so I thought this would be a good major step to take.)

    My first post is going to give a general idea of what I am trying to accomplish. Before I get into that, I'd like to state that this is an adult horror and as such deals with sexuality, sex, violence, and obsession. If such themes and elements offend you, know that this story will likely not be for you (I believe there are children on this site, while I do not plan on posting any graphic descriptions, the ideas I plan to present will be sexual in nature. If this is against the rules, I believe they said give a general warning, I will change the scope of what I post.)

    Introduction: I am attempting to create a fantastical horror in where there is 'doubt' in the narration if the events being presented are uncanny (weird but plausible) or supernatural. I give an 'out' for the reader in either direction, but the character herself remains in a state of doubt, hesitation, and fear of her survival until the final scene of the story (at least that is how I planned it.)

    Burrowing, in part, from my hero Grant Morrison, I want the finished result to be filled with philosophical themes and concepts (my main character is a philosophical concept I turned into a person), theology and occultism, allusions to other literary works and historical events, symbolism, dream-like imagery, highly emotional situations, ultra-graphic violence (I don't have a lot of violence, but when it does happen...) eroticism, and some dark and disturbing subtext.

    I know what I am aiming for might be ambitious (He who dare, wins) but I am also realistic. I don't have any grand delusions of writing a masterpiece on my first novel ever, I just want something solid and good.

    My goals this week:
    1. Finish writing Chapter 7 and start chapter 8.
    2. Post my notes on my Main Character, and her problem (story goal!)
    3. Finish reading The Art of Subtext by Charles Baxter (If anyone has suggestions for books that explore subtext and how to implement it, I'd love to hear them.)
    4. Keeping doing my online class for Grammar (learning more about verbs this week.)
     
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  2. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    Ory,

    Good luck with your graphic novel project. A 13 month time-frame to finish is a reasonable one.
     
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  3. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Thanks, TWEriven2.

    I woke up last night (around 2 A.M.) and a scene from chapter 8 just came to me, like a bowling ball through a window, and I jotted down the ideas and images on a notepad. I am going to spend this morning at a breakfast buffet I like, and I am going to organize my ideas and plan out the scene before I write this afternoon. The scene is of erotic nature. I love writing sex scenes (there not the greatest at the moment, but I hope to improve that) because I love coming up with ways to create conflict in a sex scene while stilling making it hot. In this scene, there are two women that are trying to be intimate with each other, but some eerie sense of dread overcomes them. I think today is going to be a good day.
     
  4. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I wrote 951 words today. (about 1/4 of chapter 8). While I am not done with chapter 7 at the moment, chapter 8 just seems to be in my head so I am going to roll with it and get the chapter done before Thanksgiving. I might actually get both chapters done by the end of next weekend.

    So I wanted to post my notes on my Main character, Theme, and Story Goal. A lot of thoughts went it to this (about 6 months worth of research to be honest) and I am proud of the concepts I've developed.

    The theme of the story is: Perception is Reality. This theme has affected just about everything in this story, from me wanting to create doubt in the narration, to character herself, to even the narrative mode I've chosen. Some people are about the theme, some are about plot, and others are about character. I've done my best to have all parts equal.

    Bartlett Cloverfield, A bi-sexual ballet dancer with Empathic Synesthesia: The inspiration for this character came from a piece of music, the first 55 seconds of Brian Reitzell's Tome-Wan. I decided then since music was what inspired my character; music would be what perception I gave my character. There is a philosophical concept called the Dionysian aspect of human nature and art. It is also called intoxicating music. The Dionysian aspect encompasses sensual and intoxicating behavior (Music, dance, and sex), emotions, intimacy, and chaos. Everything about this character (job, name, sexuality, drives, gender, powers, and the problems she's trying to overcome) are based on this philosophical concept. I'll go through it and show how.

    Gender: Bartlett is female. The reason I made her female is actually due to my faith. There is opposite concept called the Apollonian (image/fantasy/dreams/memory/logic/and order). I was raised a Christian so I took from the bible: God created man in his image, and created woman from the desire of man. Since desire is an emotion (and emotion is part of the Dionysian aspect) I made Bartlett a woman.

    Drives: What drives Bartlett at her core is she desires, and drives for, Emotional intimacy and Sensual sensations. These two things intoxicate her and are the reasons for her erotic behavior. Let me make clear, this is not a story about Bartlett learning about her sexuality. She is 30, she knows who she is and what she is, and in that self-confidence is her true power and strength.

    Sexuality and name: These two things come from the same idea. Bi-sexuality and androgyny are not considered a sin within the view intoxication (in fact being bi-sexual is in line with it as gender is not meant to be roadblock in terms of intimacy.) So I made the character bi-sexual and I gave her an androgynous name.

    Powers: This part was fun. So keeping in mind that the theme is Perception is Reality, and that this is meant to be a fantastical horror (meaning we are not sure if the story is uncanny or supernatural) I gave her a really cool affliction that is based on fact (I've might have over embellished it to serve my purposes). Bartlett has Empathic Synesthesia. What this means is that Bartlett experiences sensations based on the emotions of the people she is interacting with. An example: If someone is in a state of rage, and Bartlett is interacting with them, it feels as if she is on fire (and it is very painful). Positive emotions result in positive sensations, and negative emotions result in negative sensations. Let me be clear, every emotion has its' own music, taste, smell, color, and sensation that goes with it. So in the story, Bartlett is not sure if what she is experiencing is due to her synesthesia or if something supernatural is going on. This is how I plan to create doubt and uncertainty. Also, due to Bartlett living in a state of such intense sensation, she can see colors more vivid, smell and taste are stronger, hear the nuances in music and people's voices clearer, and touch to her is much more sensational. Last, while Bartlett seeks intoxication through being intimate with other people, the reserve is true. Bartlett is very empathic, sexual, and charismatic in her social interactions (people become drunks off of her.) She's not an evil person (I don't have her sleeping her way out of problems) but she knows her power and strength.

    Job: This seems minor, but does influence the story I am writing. I made Bartlett a Ballet Dancer. This is shown in the fact that I have her describe her movements in ballet terms, and she is very away of other people postures, and always looking at her reflection.

    Bartlett's problem (The story goal): Now for the crutch of the plot, as there can be no story without a problem to solve. When Bartlett was 12, she witnessed her mother's murder at the hands of her father. Bartlett craves to have an intimate understanding of why it happened (this keeps the story goal in-line with Bartlett's basic desires). Bartlett returns home after 18 years, now a confident, powerful adult, and attempts to learn the truth about what really happened.

    I hope everything I've posted looks solid. The theme, character, and story goal are the foundation of my work.

    If anyone wants to offer up suggestions, or questions. I'm always open to discuss ideas.

    -Ory James Berner.
     
  5. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Another sleepless night (And I have work this morning!)

    I've been thinking a lot about subtext lately, and how to layer it in. Right now my second draft has some subtext, but not as much as I want. I just learned about staging. Staging is where the environment of a setting reflects the psychological state of the character(s) during the scene. I have so many scenes I feel this would greatly enhance. Staging is shown through micro-detailing. Right now a lot of people have said I need more detail in my scenes, and I believe that by putting in Staging, and along with it micro-detailing, I would solve both my subtext problems and detail problems (At least some of them.)

    I am hoping to get another good chunk of Chapter 8 written again today.
     
  6. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    561 words. Not great. I have 1510 words for Chapter 8 done, and I am about 1/3 done with what I want to put in it. I could have written more, but I am reorganizing some of the ideas in my chapter, and I will most likely get 1500+ words tomorrow done. I plan out my chapters, I don't just free write.

    Last night I was reading through a thread about how to reveal what your character looks like when using first person narrative. Due to my theme, I am writing in a first-person Narrative and it got me thinking. At first, I hated how I revealed what my character looked like. But the more I thought about it the more I actually love how I did it. I don't think a lot of detail is needed unless the character has a magnificent look them. Just a few, but important, details will do. I'll kinda show what I did.

    My character has green eyes and red hair (The color combination of red and green represents the destruction of mankind. Red represents the fire in the apocalypse, and the green represents the water in the biblical flood. This is why Freddy Kruger has a red and green sweater and why he is always surrounded by fire and stream (water.) ) Remembering how I've been studying subtext, I actually did layer it into the scene. I'll show down below what I did.

    In chapter 1, all I reveal is that the main character is a woman.

    In chapter 2 I have this brief interaction between the MC and the woman who saved her life.

    Azure: "I can see the Irish in you. You look just like your father, green eyes and red hair."

    Bartlett: "I perform ballet for the Chicago Opera house."

    These two lines of dialogue not only paint what the character looks like, but it has two different layers of subtext placed into them. The first requires a little backstory, Azure is the detective who arrested Bartlett's father, a serial killer, 18 years before the start of the story. The fact that Azure would compare Bartlett to such a man is odd but is done on purpose. Azure has great respect for Bartlett's father (despite his horrendous crimes and Azure being the one who ended his rampage) and the reasons for this respect is revealed slowly as the story goes on (some of the scenes I wrote take a whole new feel to them after you've read the whole story. At least that is the effect I am aiming for.)

    The second layer of subtext is revealed in Bartlett's response to Azure. Bartlett does not at all acknowledge Azure's response, not in thought, emotion, or action. The fact that she looks like her father, is far too painful for Bartlett to even acknowledge. She simply changes the subject of conversation (and in doing so reveals her job and what she looks like. We all know, or should, that ballet performers have lean, toned bodies.)

    At first, I really hated this scene, but the more I look at it, the more I like it.

    That's all I got for today.
     
  7. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Well, I didn't get a chance yesterday to write, I was just so busy. Today I got 831 words done. That puts me at 2375 for chapter 8, but I still have another 1/3 to go before I am finished with it. I have to say I am really loving chapter 8, it is far from perfect but it is one of the few chapters that has both types of tension sexual and violent.

    I wanted to put a note in about story structure. Some writers are anti-structure, and to each their own, but I find beauty in story structure. To create an original work within the confinements of a structure takes an immense amount of imagination, and for I emotion, imagination, and the sensations the two can create together is the most beautiful thing there is. The reason John Milton's Paradise Lost is one of my favorite books is that it is written in Iambic pentameter (something I'm not sure most people would be aware of). To write an epic story, of that magnitude, with such confinement is awe inspiring. I read an essay that stated true imagination is not about stuffing your story with as much as possible, it is about doing the most with the least amount of material at your disposal.

    Happy Thanksgiving to anyone reading this.

    -Ory James Berner.
     
  8. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I wrote 531 words today, and I finished off chapter 8. A total of 2906 words for this chapter. Not bad. I really don't have a word count I am aiming for, I just know I don't want the final draft to be more than 200 pages. The reason is for the artist. I don't want to give him a 500-page book, and be like "good luck buddy."

    Also, someone I trade critique's with reviewed my chapter 4. I have to say, I hated my chapter 4 at first. But, the more I looked at it, the more I realized that it was almost planned out perfectly (not written perfectly). It has everything I want to have in a chapter. I might use it as my sample chapter in this journal as I apply the things I learn in an attempt to become a better writer. Of the three reviews I've gotten from Chapter 4, all of them have been positive and has them saying they want to know how this story will end.

    So I've been looking over the plot threads (plot and structure being the only part of fiction I feel I have a good grasp on.) And I am a big supporter of having a logline thought out before you even start to plot. For me, a logline needs five points thoughts out; Lead, Objective, Conflict, Knockout, and Situation. This method is based off of James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure. He calls it the L.O.C.K system. I put situation (S) into the equation after I read Dwight V. Swain's technique of a selling writer (I know the title of the book sounds lame, but it is solid.) where he suggests you know the situation of the MC at the start of the story. Now the conflict should have irony in it, and story wise I do, but I do find it hard to implement the ironic conflict into the logline sometimes. For my story, The conflict is that Bartlett's synesthesia leaves her in a state of doubt (is she really being stalked by a shadowy monster? Or is it just an illusion brought on by her synesthesia?)

    In essence,
    Lead: Your MC. I try to use nouns and verbs when I describe my MC and a single-well-picked adjective.
    Objective: What is their goal? It should be a physical goal that serves to satisfy a spiritual goal (you don't need to state the spiritual goal, however.)
    Conflict: What stands in her way? Ironic conflict is the best type.
    Knockout: What would victory look like? What would defeat look like? I personally think the best endings are a mixture of the two, victory and defeat.
    Situation: With as few words as possible, what is your character's life like before the start of the story? A little bit of Background info works here.

    My Logline: Having witnessed her mother's murder at the hands of her father (situation), Bartlett Cloverfield, A bi-sexual ballet dancer who has Empathic Synesthesia (Lead), returns home after 18 years to learn the truth about her mother's death (objective). But when Barlett begins to investigate the past, a monster-like figure begins to follow her (conflict). Will Bartlett learn the truth about her mother's death? Or will she fall victim to the figure that stalks her? (Knockout.)

    Tomorrow I am going to start chipping away at chapter 7, though the opening scene for chapter 9 is really vivid in my mind, so I might do that instead.
     
  9. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Well I did not get a chance to write today (I was busy helping someone move.)

    I did finish reading my book on subtext today. I have to say, the book has given me a lot to think about in terms of subtext. I'll give a brief description on what I have learned.

    1. Staging: Where the setting of the scene reflects the psychological state of the character(s).
    2. Give your characters obsessions and Manias. This will make your MC's narrative unreliable (this is what I am going for.)
    3. Your character not acknowledging something is a subtext in itself.
    4. Put a stress on important words in dialogue to give away meaning.
    5. Sometimes it is not what your character says, but what they don't say that reveals the subtext.
    6. Give your characters 'bad manners' based on their desires.
    7. Careful description of the face can reveal information about the character, or the social mask the character wears.
    8. Use micro-detailing to hint at what you want the reader to pick up.
    9. Use Zombie talk (just boring, mundane conversation) to lullaby the MC and reader, but then throw in single important detail into the conversation, just a touch of truth. Maybe the character notices it, maybe just the reader, or maybe neither notice this important detail.

    For me, the most important is number 6. The reason being, I did give my character a 'bad manner (her eroticism), but I was afraid this was a bad idea at first and didn't go full Turkey with the idea in this draft. Having read this book on subtext, I realized that it was a good idea, and I need to go further with it.

    While I do plan on putting subtext into my story, my current draft is lacking somewhat. My third draft (this is one I am going for broke on) I will put layer after layer of subtext into it. I know it seems like I've been focusing a lot on subtext lately, but having spent like 6-8 months just learning about story structure and plot, and before that reading philosophy on the theme of intoxication, I am ready to focus on a different aspect of story crafting for a bit.

    Last, Lustmord- Black Star is such a badass horror song. I listen to it all the time when I am writing my horror scenes.
     
  10. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I wrote 1007 words today!

    I decided to knock out the first scene in Chapter 9, as it was fresh in my mind. I still need to go back and finish chapter 7.
    Overall, not a bad week considering Thanksgiving was in the mix. I did complete all my set objectives! So time for some new goals for this coming week.

    1. Finish Chapter 7, and work on Chapter 9.
    2. Continue with my study on verbs. (This should be my last week on verbs.)
    3. Post your thoughts/notes on Horror and Eroticism.

    Last, so I was reading an article on themes today, and while I've posted my main theme, I thought I'd post the sub-themes and ideas that repeat a lot in my story.

    Themes.
    1. Perception is reality (My main theme.)
    2. If God exists, he must enjoy the suffering of mankind.
    3. Adoration and Infatuation are required for love.
    4. Murder is just an intimate as sex.
    5. There is no shame in being a sexual person.
    6. Knowing is pleasurable.

    There are probably more ideas that repeat themselves than just that, but those ideas and themes come up over and over again in my story.
     
  11. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I wrote 467 words today. Not great, but better than none.

    Horror scenes seem to take longer for me to write than the sex or social scenes, however, today I came up with an idea of how to improve my horror scenes while strengthing the thematic structure of the story. Going to try one chapter with the idea, but basically, the horror scenes will not only challenge the character on a physical level, but they will challenge her on a spiritual level by making her question her own perception of self.

    It is strange, every day that I write this second draft I discover a new nuance to my story and theme, despite the fact I've already planned out a lot of what I have. I don't think this is by some random chance either. I truly believe that by having taken the time to pick a solid theme, studying a philosophical concept and making my MC an allegory of it, and studying story structure and crafting an outline based off of what I've learned, I am able to explore my story with more purpose. It's hard to explain, but I can build ideas on top of ideas due to the foundation being solid.

    In any case, I am going to read 20 pages from Legitimate Dangers (A collection of poems) before I go to bed tonight. It is so important to read, not just novels but everything. I read books on occultism, theology, philosophy, poetry, novels (both new and old), Horror, Erotic, thrillers, history, comic books, graphic novels, children's books, movie scripts, and journalism. I've studied how to write poetry, novels, and film scripts, and I do believe all this adds up.
     
  12. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I didn't get a chance to write yesterday, wasn't feeling all the well. Today I wrote 1405 words. I should be able to finish Chapter 7 tomorrow (woot.) and then spend the next of the weekend working on Chapter 9 (which is one of the longer chapters in my book.) Today was a good day on two other fronts for this project I am working on.

    One of the Alpha reviewers just E-mailed me his thoughts: "The concept of Bartlett as a main character is brilliant, and so original - but it does require careful implementation." I am stoke. Of the 10ish people that have read this, all have of them have stated that Bartlett, my MC, has been brilliantly done. The one thing they want to see 'more' of is her is in larger social interactions, though. I have four scenes in my story does deal with this, but I am going to have to take extream care with these scenes. It actually surprised me, but the majority of the reviewers really want this story to be more socially interactive than it is. Right now I have Bartlett mostly in private interactions with people and some of the horror scenes she faces alone.

    Just a tip: Also have people you don't know review your work. I use a private website that I submit my work on. I will do a beta-read of my story on this site (This will be my fourth draft), along with two other websites I am active on.

    I have a free ticket to a major fashion event this weekend. I know this sounds like a weird thing considering this is a writing site, but I do believe that if you want to really have a strong mind for writing, you need to experience the most from this world, the good and the bad, the beautiful and the horror.

    Let's see what I can knock out tomorrow (another 1200 words should finish off the chapter.)
     
  13. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Wrote 731 words today. Nearing the end of Chapter 7. I should get Chapter 7 finished tomorrow, then I can spend the weekend really hammering out chapter 9. My goal by new years is to have Chapter 15 done.
     
  14. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I wrote 652 words today and finished up Chapter 7. Chapter 7 was by far the hardest chapter to write. I believe it is due to the type of Horror I am trying to write, but I'll get to that tomorrow in my post. This puts me about 1/3 of my 2nd draft done, with 70 pages complete. :)
     
  15. pamedria

    pamedria Member

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    Keep up the good work Ory! By the rate you're going, I think you will beat your given deadline. Sounds great and very unique!
     
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  16. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Thank you Pamedira,

    -

    Today I wanted to post my notes on Horror. Being that my character is emotion and sensation based, I wanted the horror to reflect this. Most of the horror that Bartlett faces is not monsters popping out of the shadows ready to eat her, or a serial killer chasing her around with a knife, it is subtle changes in both environment and the subtext of people's actions. I use a lot of Noxious sensations (foul odors, shifts in shadow and light when there should not be any, offensive sounds, and painful sensations when there are no stimuli.) to 'attack' Bartlett in the horror scenes. Explanations are hinted at, but nothing is ever explained. For me, real Horror is not the seen, but when is left unseen despite our attempts to learn about it.

    Also, being that this book is aimed towards adults, one of the most horrific scenes happens early on in the story. Bartlett picks up a random guy up at the bar and takes him back to her hotel room. Bartlett and the stranger engage in sex and the horror begins. Rather than write something offensive (like rape) I choose to take a more subtle approach, Bartlett experiences no sensation at all from her partner. In the scene, his voice makes no sounds, he has no smell or taste to him, She does not feel his weight on top of her, or the friction of skin against skin. She even finds herself unable to describe him (Is he tall? Big? Thin? White? Black? Old? Young?) She can't find any concrete noun or adjective to describe him. The scene is meant to highlight two things: First Bartlett is very chaotic, and even reckless, in her actions. Two, Bartlett's synesthesia can both enhance her senses, numb her, and even create sensory illusions. This is a type of personal horror that Bartlett faces time and time again.

    While I've covered the noxious and personal horror that I plan to throw at my Character over and over again, I want to go into the subtextual horror that does appear. This is from the chapter I finished last night. Bartlett goes to an abandoned house, where 18 years earlier an entire family was massacred, and finds this message carved into a dinner table made of hardwood:

    No one leaves the table. (This first line is actually an allusion.)
    I have something special planned for this family of seven. (This second line is why I choose to put this scene in chapter 7)
    Two girls, and a boy, all Havard students, I'm sure. (This line is actually built on top of a historical allusion I make in Chapter 2, see History of 'Rite of Spring')
    Mom, dad, and the grandparents, it's a full family unit.
    I want to watch the old man watch me (Voyeurism, the idea of it, repeats lot in this story.)
    as I bleed his legacy away, one family member at a time. (We have children to pass down our genetic legacy, that is really what the killer is trying to destroy.)

    Obviously, we know what happened, but what scares Bartlett is not the message. What scares Bartlett is the time, strength, and dedication it must have taken to carve this message into a dinner table (any of you try to carve sentences into hardwood with a basic knife? Good luck.) As you can see from the above, a lot of thinking goes into what I write, this is why my word count is sometimes low.

    In any case, the next two days I get to work on chapter 9. I am hoping by Sunday night to have it done.
     
  17. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Didn't get a chance to write yesterday (Saturdays is kinda my go out and be social day). Today I didn't get a ton written only 585.

    This week's goals are:

    1. Finish Chapter 9
    2. Finish Chapter 10.
    3. Get Chapter 5 ready for my Alpha readers.
    4. Review verbs.
    5. Continue to read: In The Palm of your Hand by Steve Kowit/ & Legitimate Dangers

    Today I wrote down a note from the book I am reading. It is really a simple idea, but often I feel I overlook.

    • A story is told through actions and the use of concrete and specific details. Action and detail, the cornerstone of a good story. (Right now I have the action part of the story down, it is the detail part I am lacking in.)
     
  18. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I wrote 651 words today. Despite chapter 9 going slow, I am really loving it. While some of my chapters share similarities (I use purposeful repetition in my story to show how events can repeat themselves throughout time) each of them has such drastic feel to them. My current chapter my Hero goes to an abandoned barn, an old horse ranch, to find clues about her past. She is depressed due to something that happened in the last chapter, and does not take notice in the bizarre events that begin to occur around her (Snow in late April, while not impossible, questionable. Trees that look at this they trying to uproot themselves, and a horse, that looks zombied, running around the field.) Her depression blinds her to the threats against her life, and she doesn't notice them until it is too late.

    Also, this chapter has to deal with the idea of Self-identity (how we view ourselves.) Her identity has been challenged (in a very violent and personal way) and this is the cause of her depression.

    I might not hit my writing goal this week. I have an emergency job that appeared for work, and a lot of my time will be sunk into that this week. I'll still try to get Chapter 9 done by Sunday though.
     
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  19. pamedria

    pamedria Member

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    Mine's the same in most places that need revisiting. Some chapters have the story flow, but the description is lacking to make the readers really sense, feel and imagine. You know when you read a book and there are parts where the words are just so beautifully strung together, it's like music. That's the goal, for the reader to say "Arr, that was good!" after reading a mere paragraph. That's something I've actually done so many times when reading. I need a moment to think about how bloody talented the author is!
     
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  20. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    @pamedria thank you, Detail is one of those things a lot of people talk about, but no one knows how to really describe what should go into it. I've found that books on subtext and poetry deal with the subject of Detail the best.

    -

    Speaking of subtext, I said I'd use Chapter 4 of my story to experiment with all the stuff I am learning. The reason I am using Chapter 4 is that it rather short (1 scene) but important (It takes the story from Act I into Act II).

    The first thing I wanted to explore in Chapter 4 is 'Staging.' 'Staging' is where the setting environment reflects the psychological state of the character(s). In Chapter 4 the MC and another woman sit on the edge of a Hot tub, naked, in a backyard that has no fences. The first thing I wanted to look at is that this type of setting is very appropriate for the MC (in fact, these are the type of situations she tries to get herself into.) Often, if I write a scene that is not appropriate for my MC (like her getting into a gun fight), I'll delete it and come up with something else.

    Now the 'Staging' of this scene serves two purposes. First, subtextually, these two Characters are having a very open and vulnerable conversation with each other, that is the psychological state the two of them are in. The environment reflects this, hot vapor (like from a hot tub) 'opens' up pores on the human body. Showing our body to another person involves us being 'open' and 'vulnerable.' The fact there are no fences around the yard also gives the feel of an 'open' and 'vulnerable' environment. Another setting detail I am debating about adding is to place the hot tub on top of a building that is surrounded by skyscrapers, to give it a more 'open' and 'vulnerable' feel as anyone could look out their window and see that these two women are naked. Regardless, from the above details, we can see what type of feel I am trying to give this scene.

    The second purpose this 'Staging' serves comes from a film technique I learned about called 'Pope in the pool.' What 'Pope in the Pool' does is when you have a scene that is pretty much conversation (yet very important dialogue) you should have something interesting going on in the scene that keeps the audience enticed. Whatever is put in the scene to entice can either be in the background (say you have two characters talking while a boxing match goes on) or can be in the foreground (Say you have two characters playing a game of Chess while they have their conversation) but it needs to be there.

    While I could have had this scene take place over a cup of coffee (boring), I choose to use a more erotic setting that keeps in line with my MC's desires, shows the psychological state the characters are in through the environment, and entices the reader to keep reading (the suspense of the scene is rather or not the MC and this other woman end up having sex or not.)

    As you can see, a lot can be done with just the setting of the environment of a scene. I often imagine how rich in theme and subtext my story will be if I am able to place this level of 'Staging' in all 60 scenes of my story. The idea, the challenge of it, excites me.
     
  21. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I wrote 846 words today, and I might write some more before the night is out.

    "Aspire towards the condition of Music." - Walter Pater.

    So I wanted to comment on Musical devices today. I love musical devices in literature, and seeing my character is an allegory for intoxicating music I have been half-tempted to use musical devices in Bartlett's speech patterns. The only reason I haven't is because I don't think I have the skill to pull something off like that on a consistent basis, and I think the reader might tire from it quickly. I do however have Musical devices used in the 'Magic' that appears in the story. Since spells only appear half a dozen times in the story, it is much easier for me to use Musical devices in a limited factor. Before I continue, let me list the musical devices I use.

    • Internal Rhyme (this differs from end Rhyme as end Rhyme requires Meter to work, and I don't have sufficient meter skills to write something like that.)
    • Assonance- Using repetition of identical vowel sounds.
    • Alliteration - Using repetition of internal consonant sounds or stressed syllable. (Rough rug rat)
    • Consonance- The repetition of ending consonant sounds ( Volt cut Tate)
    • Repetition - repeating words or phrases (I use this one a TON.)
    • Anaphora - Repetition of opening words of phrases (I don't really use this.)
    • Onamonapia - Words that make the sound they describe (woof, boo, snap, crack.) (I use this a ton.)

    While these are used a lot in poetry, I don't see any reason why you can't use such devices in literature sparingly. Having tools at your disposal makes writing fun. Even if you end up cutting a lot of them out. Some people scoff at using poetics in literature, but Dune (one of the greatest sci-fi books ever written) has the main villain (The Baron) speak in Iambic Pentameter (A poetic device).

    So I wanted to continue my work on Chapter 4 with the implementation of what I am learning. In Chapter four a spell is cast on Bartlett, though she is unaware of this. The only 'Hints' I give is the fact that the spell uses Alliteration and that the something really strange happens to Bartlett, yet she dismisses it.

    Azure, the other woman in the hot tub scene, cast a spell on Bartlett early in the chapter. She says "We pay in blood for things we are not meant to know." At the end of the chapter, Bartlett gets a nose bleed after learning some hard truths. Right now the only repeating sounds are the P and the B (while not the same letter, they make the same SOUND.) Let's see if we can add a little more P/B sounds into the sentence.

    "Bartlett, people pay in blood to possess forbidden knowledge."

    Now that sounds like a spell, also this sentence has a touch of Consonance and Assonance to it as well, despite the fact I was only thinking on Alliteration when I wrote it (and I did just write like during this post.) Musical devices really are a beautiful thing, and if I can weave them into my work without overwhelming the reader (any time a device is used and it calls too much attention to itself, it becomes a bad thing. These devices should be invisible and subtle, just like the magic in my story) I believe it will give the story that musical sound and effect I want it to have.

    I have to say, I am not 100% sure how my story will look end finished. A lot of thought, planning, and careful look at detail is going into this, but I am not sure if the whole will entertain the reader, or overwhelm them when I finish. I know what I am going for, I just don't know if I can accomplish it with the grace, beauty, art, and horror I want it to have.
     
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  22. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I wrote 1331 words today and finished out chapter 9!

    I didn't hit all my writing goals this week, but that is fine. Work is becoming very busy (which is good) so I am going to have to be realistic about what I can accomplish (hey I got to pay the bills.)

    This week my goals are as followed.

    1. Finish Chapter 10.
    2. Get Chapter 5 ready for Alpha readers.

    -

    I read about controlled metaphors today (this is, according to how I understand it when you tell a story that is really a metaphor for something other than what is being described.) The problem with Fantastical Horror is that poetics (figures of speech mainly) are not allowed to be used to describe the events that are occurring in the story. The reason is simple: Since the reader, or character, does not know if the events in the story are supernatural or uncanny, the narrator must describe the events in the most literal way possible and let the reader come to his own conclusion.

    Borrowing from the book I am reading, The Metaphor 'Stone Coat', if used in a fantastical work, would have to mean that the character was literally wearing a coat made out of stone. I have an English professor I trade chapters with. He usually finds all my 'poetics' so that I can change them to keep the Fantastical aspect of my story stable. I'll most likely re-read the book I have on a study of Fantastical horror one more time before I write the third draft.

    The point I was trying to make is that while Metaphors are not allowed to describe the events of the story that are occurring, they might (I'll have to research this a little more) be able to be used in dialogue where a character tries to describe an event that has happened (this involves subtext) without straight out saying it with a controlled Metaphor.

    Continuing the work I've started that last two days on applying what I've learned to my 4th Chapter, I want to use a control Metaphor in a story that Azure tells to recount her past.

    In essence: in Chapter 4, Bartlett learns two things about Azure.
    1. Azure is a Master Chess player.
    2. Azure and Bartlett's father were lovers.

    At first, I had these two things told seperatly, but I am wondering if I can combine the two stories and have Azure recount her Chess playing days as a controlled Metaphor for when she and Bartlett's Father were lovers. I am going to take a few days to brainstorm on how I can do this. The reason I want to be able to do this is that "Subtext" is when we say one thing but really mean something else. Another reason I want to do this is that instead of reciting two back stories, I am recounting only one has that a deeper meaning that the reader has to figure out before the character does. I think me being able to do a controlled Metaphor would add another tool to my chest for me to be able to accomplish this. I have three instances in my story where I think a control Metaphor would work wonders. Let me see what I can come up with over the next few days.
     
  23. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Only wrote 444 words today. Chapter 10 is not a very long chapter (Maybe 1200 words total) but it is a conversation-heavy chapter that sets the MC on her way to the midpoint of that story. I can already tell that this chapter will require some major rework in previous chapters to pull off, but that is what my 3rd draft will be for.

    -

    So I wanted to continue to apply What I've learned so far into my Chapter 4 design. So At the most basic level, I have to ask myself 'What is Chapter 4 meant to do?' Well it does Three things:

    1. Provides my MC with a decision that forces her into Act II.
    2. Foreshadows an event to come.
    3. Informs the reader what the first half of Act II will be about.

    So I wanted to talk about Act Breaks as they are very important. My Break into Act III happens because of what happens in this chapter. Bartlett is given a choice: Does she face her greatest fear, and get what she wants? Or does she avoid her greatest fear and take another path that may or may not lead her to the answer she wants? In this Story, Act II is designed to eliminate Bartlett's other options until her only choice is to face her greatest fear (The moment she decides to do that is when the story shifts into the 3rd act.) This is how Foreshadowing comes into play: Bartlett confesses, in chapter 4, under what circumstance she will finally speak to her father (Which is her greatest fear), and by either Fate or God's design the very circumstance she confesses comes true (who said you can't foreshadow in Present-tense?)

    That's all I got today.
     
  24. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    I wrote like 350 words today, and then I just deleted all of Chapter 10. I am not happy with how it is currently playing out in my mind, and might take another route with it. The Chapter is rather simple, the MC visits the witness who identified the MC's father as the killer. The problem I am having is I just can't seem to 'Hear' what the witness would sound like. I tried to make her extremely disturbed, but it is not playing out well in the scene. What I might do is use a Juxtaposition for the scene. I will have the environment extremely disorderly (like broken plates and teapots, unclean living space etc.) but have the Witness extremely well-mannered in their speech.

    -

    Since I brought up Juxtaposition I wanted to post my notes on it. A Juxtaposition is a description that seems to defy logic and is created when you combined two opposites. The simplest example I was given (and sorry if this sounds offensive) is "I will beat my wife lovingly." The 'beat' and 'Lovingly' seem like they would be opposites of each other, but we they create a vivid picture about who is talking and how they view women, this is a Juxtaposition.

    In fact, I was taught to only use adverbs in a Juxtaposition. Also, Dreamlike imagery (which many people talk about using, and I personally am trying to learn) can only be obtained through Juxtapositions.

    This second draft is taking so much longer than I thought it would. Four days and basically have nothing to show for it. Hopefully tomorrow I can sit down and nail out this chapter.
     
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  25. zoupskim

    zoupskim Contributor Contributor

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    Write that book! go gogo!
     
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