Sunday, June 01, 2008

Love interests

I got to thinking about the last post I made, and I wondered to myself why the idea of the love interest is so important.

The simple answer would be to just think about it for ourselves, why we consider the ones we love to be important. Now, before you click on another favourite site, I'm not going to get all philosophical on you, because that would be boring. At least, boring for me to write, and I try to avoid that at all costs. But I digress.

I think one of the most compelling aspects of a story is to make the reader care about the main character (or characters). How to do that? Up the stakes. What's a great stake? The character's love interest. While it can be the parent-child or sibling or other relationship, one of the most powerful is the romantic love interest. One glance at the 'romance' section (especially the size of it) in any bookstore tells you how powerful a story element it is.

Thing is, it's not just in the romance genre. The amount of romance in SF/Fantasy probably rivals that of romance itself. Not to mention all the other romances going on in the rest of the fiction section. In my own WIP, it is going to be one of the primary plots, and a driving force to evolve the main character. Why? Love affects us in ways we just can't always explain. It can be a strong motivator (just look at the effort spent on attracting and keeping someone), it can be a source of comfort, fear, jealousy, embarrassment, wrath and the list goes on. Probably a longer list than most other story aspects. Give your character a reason to love, and they now have a reason to fight, to quest, to push harder and faster than the antagonist. Apply some threat, and you've got an instant (if not fully fleshed out) story.

Now that I think about it, it can apply to all the other sides of love too. For all the parents out there, you know what I'm talking about. Put your child in danger and every parent turns into Conan, or Rambo.

So, shortly I'm bringing my main character and her love interest together. Sparks shall fly, though I think in a non-typical way, and we'll see. Maybe they'll work to derail my carefully crafted plans. Then I'll just have to bring them back into line.

WIP progress: doing okay, but a test for my course in the Navy derailed some of the work last week. Still cranking out words, though.

There's my thoughts for the day. Anything to add, feel free...

Monday, May 19, 2008

More Words

Finally braced myself and dove back into the WIP today. After a rather slack weekend (pure indulgence, but I feel no shame), I've pounded out a grand total of 817 words! Don't all go nuts at once now. This brings my total to 12 324 words. Hmmm, doesn't sound as impressive saying it out loud again. (yes, I'm saying it out loud as I type, you can't hear it, but it's happening)

Still, I was going to stop as I have some ironing and other chores to do before bed but I couldn't. That, more than any abstract word count, is what felt good. That continuous push, when the CD has ended, the lights are all out because you haven't turned them on and you are ignoring chores because it's just hitting the page. I won't say easily, because I really had to work for these words. Maybe I've shaken the rust off, but just getting them out. Hard to describe, really.

So now I'll waste some time writing a blog entry. Naturally. :-) Nothing like a little procrastination before shining shoes. Bleh.

It does feel good to get back in the groove. Now I just have to maintain that forward motion. Today's scene was a bit of a character builder, though I didn't get through it all. A bit slow, but I'll save those considerations for the rewrite. Next up, the meeting of the love interest!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's here!

Now my writing binder has arrived! Along with a box full of D&D books and assorted other bits. Spent most of last night sorting everything into my quarters here on base. This morning I opened up the binder to my outline, and realized I have a lot of review to do. Time to get my head wrapped back around the book. Nevertheless, it's a relief to have it here to work on, even if I have to wrap its schedule around the Navy's.

Tonight, my goal is to review and get back on it. Tomorrow I'll begin throwing some words at the page and see if I'm 'on' or not. Of course, if not, I'll just keep going. I'm already itching to fire my keyboard at certain scenes, but patience. No need to rush in and make a hash of it. Get it all sorted out first. Which is typical for me. Take some time to get my head sorted, and I can do a much better job. Rush in and it's all a mess. No offence to those seat-of-the-pantsers out there, but that's not how I work.

Now, off to work.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

On its way

My writing material is now on its way to me in Esquimalt, courtesy of the most wonderful woman in the world, my wife. This is also the woman who, when I suggested giving up an engineering career to join the Navy, wasn't surprised. The one who said, basically, 'okay.' So yes, the most wonderful woman ever.

Along with inline skates and several D&D books. So now I just have to wait a week or so for the stuff to arrive, and remember to never, ever, outline in hardcopy only ever, ever again. Never. Ugh.

At least it's on its way. Then I can begin plugging away again. Hopefully spend an hour a night or so. At least work towards that, but we'll also see what the Navy loads me up with. Once I get settled with the course routine then the writing schedule will fall out also.

I also have had some readers on the first four chapters that I've written. Responses are positive, but also some good criticisms. I've filed them away for now, as there's no going back. Even over the things I've seen with Queen's Legacy. Just made the notes, and filed them away. I have to push forward only.

At least I've been able to control the growth of new stories. I often get good story ideas (or even average ones with potential) at the most unlikely times. I try to record them, and just stuff them in a folder in my desk for later use. Otherwise, I'll have a half-dozen starts and outlines, with nothing on its way to completion. Mind you, some are pretty interesting. Maybe some outlining while I wait for Canada Post to work it's magic wouldn't hurt.

For now, I have shirts to iron and some shoes to polish.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

On to the next phase

Just catching up on things with my shiny new laptop. Right now I'm at the Naval Officer Training Centre, in Esquimalt, BC to begin the next phase of training. I graduated April 24 from basic officer training, and my wife and I got married that evening! Fortunately, she is sending my writing notes and such things, as well as the files, so I can keep plugging away, in the few shreds of spare time I might have. I plan to keep this blog to writing, but some Navy stuff will likely creep in. Can't help it, this job is so much cooler than my last one. Once I get my writing sorted out and back in line, I'll have more to say.

I certainly realized while on basic training just how much I missed writing (or any other creative outlet for that matter). Now that I'm outfitted here, I can keep going and get the ideas flowing. That and there are several good readers who want my stuff in the group, plus one published author! Life is pretty good, and will get better. I've heard the next course will allow some free time after the work day and on weekends, so I'm looking forward to pouring all the new experiences into the imagination mill and grinding them up to reform into good stories.

Anyway, while I wait for the mail, there are persons waiting on me to have a few wobbly pops. Next time I'm making my outline digital, instead of handwritten hardcopy. Gaaah. That one's biting me on the arse now. Oh well, learn for next time.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

I'm still here

It seems like I've been away from the blog for a while, and it's true. However, I'm still kicking. I was accepted as an officer candidate in the Canadian Navy, and have been in the application process for most of 2007. Thus, I've been occupied for a while. Needless to say, the ravings will continue soon, once basic training is finished. Watch for me in May!