Tag Archives: ROW80

I’m Done. What’s Next?

As you can tell by the title of this post, I finished my story. It came in at just over 61,000 words, so I hit my goal for the story as well as my goal to finish by the end of September. And now it goes into a drawer for a few months or years until I can stand to look at it again enough to edit it.

So my next project is getting ready for NaNoWriMo. As you may recall, it’s going to be about the next civil war in America. I’m bringing back George from my first NaNoWriMo project, Dragons at Dawn, as well as Miranda and Nicole from my Valkyrie series. They will be teaming up to save America from the demonic forces that have taken over.

Part of my process is figuring out how bad things have to get before somebody has to step up and do something about it. So I have been taking a long, hard look at the Republican agenda and have posited some worst-case scenarios for what would happen if they win in November. As you might guess, I am fiercely opposed to practically all of their party platform, and I will proudly vote for Obama (again!) on November 6.

Here’s what I came up with. Forgive the rambling nature. These are just thoughts I jotted down as I perused a list of the goals of the GOP.

The United States is a democracy in name only. The corporations had taken over by buying all elections, and profit rules the country. People are treated like slaves, especially women. There is no longer any social safety net, and most Americans have lost any retirement savings they had. Elderly are either forced to work, or they live on the street. Children are forced to find jobs to help their families survive, and public schools have all been shut down, leaving education solely for the rich elite.

Unemployment is at a record high, leaving at least a third of the country out of work, while millions of American jobs have been outsourced to other countries. Unemployment insurance has been eliminated, leaving people destitute within days if they lose their job. Anyone lucky enough to find employment is desperate to keep it, making themselves virtually slaves to their employers.

Health care is only available to the rich, while the majority of the country is forced to either purchase expensive medication or buy on the black market. People are dying of diseases that were thought to have been wiped out decades ago, and there are rumors of plague.

Taxes on the people who do have jobs take half their income, and most of that money goes to bailouts and handouts to the richest people. The country has a state religion, with mandatory attendance for everyone except the rich, who profess belief but don’t conform to the practice.

Women and homosexuals are targets wherever they are found alone, with beatings and rape common and never investigated. If women are lucky enough to find jobs, they are paid a small fraction of their male counterparts and are often required to perform sexual acts to keep their positions.

Clean energy research is a thing of the past, and companies ravage the countryside with no concern for the environment as they look for more fossil fuels, even though the demand in the United States has dropped drastically, since most people can no longer afford a car. Bicycles and walking is the most common mode of transportation, since even public transportation has gotten to be too expensive for most people to afford.

Guns are common, and most of the wealthy employ private armies labeled as security forces to protect themselves. These forces are staffed mainly by the poor who enlisted in the army in an attempt to better their lives. Once they are discharged the only employment they can find is in these security teams, with the best going to the police. The police forces have been privatized. Their staff has been drastically reduced, and only patrol the wealthiest parts of the country. Everywhere else crime runs rampant. Fire departments have also been privatized, and again, they are only called out to protect business property and wealthy homes, leaving the slums which cover most of the cities to burn if a fire breaks out.

The divorce rate is down since single parenthood is illegal. Many women are forced to marry if they get pregnant, even in the case of rape, since abortion is also illegal. And since contraceptives that used to be provided by organizations like Planned Parenthood are no longer available, and sex education is no longer taught in schools, unwanted pregnancies have increased.

In short, the superpower that used to be the United States of America is now a third world country, despised and ridiculed by most of the world. Canada and Mexico now guard their borders to keep Americans from crossing into their countries illegally, and most people can’t afford the bribes and fees that are charged in order to get a passport.

That’s it. That’s what I think might happen if the Republicans are in power. Pretty scary stuff. Then you throw in some demons and Valkyries and you get a downright horrific mess. Ready for more? Here’s an overview, showcasing some of the different groups involved in the story:

The country is ruled by the richest people, who have all formed an alliance with demonic forces. The demons used their powers to take over the country for the rich, but now they are getting bored and have been going out into the world more and more frequently to wreak havoc.

The rich people are losing control over the demons, and are starting to get worried, but they are trapped in the lives they created for themselves. Some of their children are starting to rebel against their parents and supporting the common people.

The Valkyries and other supernatural enforcers are having trouble keeping the increasing numbers of demons from revealing the magical world. The influx of demonic power has also increased the number of human wizards and priests who are discovering how to use magic on their own.

There are also increasing numbers of people joining gangs, and many gangs are fomenting revolution. They are heavily armed and pissed off, with nothing to lose.

In short, the country is about to break wide open in civil war.

Those are my preliminary ideas. Now I need to start figuring out how to tell this story. I’ll need to decide how each of my characters is involved in this mess and what they are going to do to get us all out of it. I’ll also need to come up with a good antagonist. They will need someone to fight with. Someone who has been behind the scenes, planning this whole thing for his own sadistic pleasure. I can’t use Mitt Romney, because despite how hard he tries, I just don’t think he is evil enough for the part.

That’s it for today. I’ll be back on Sunday with another update. See you then!

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Filed under NaNoWriMo, Politics, ROW80, The Writing Experience

I Want to End it All!

A couple of weeks ago I killed off my villain and thought, “How am I ever going to get another 10,000+ words in before the end?” Now, I’m just shy of 60,000 words, which was my unofficial goal for this project, and I’m still writing. I just can’t seem to make it stop!

After I killed off the villain (which was a bit anti-climactic, actually), the kids talked about it before the cops showed up to arrest the kid that did it. Then the kids talked about it some more until the District Attorney showed up to see whether or not to press charges (they said it was self-defense and told him that the villain was a serial killer). There was a long interview with the D.A. where Carter told him the whole story (I condensed it, of course), and then they moved back to the camp to wait until the D.A. was able to confirm the story.

It just keeps going. To tell you the truth, I’m really not quite sure how I’m going to end it. When I outlined it before I started, I thought maybe I would introduce another person that had gotten super powers, and leave it where they need to deal with him now. But since almost nothing in this story followed that outline, I’m thinking I should go another way.

What I kind of want to do is end it with the kids all going back home, and leave the reader with an idea that things are going to be better in the future, but that doesn’t really feel right, either, probably because some of the characters didn’t really make much progress on a character arc during the story. At least one of them did, but not so much for the others.

I know all of this will get chopped, cut, and stabbed when I do the edits, but the closer I get now to what I need, the less I will have to fix later. So how do I wrap this thing up, once and for all?

I would appreciate any comments or suggestions you might have. You guys have been very helpful as I struggled through this mess over the last three months. Don’t bail on my now!

Wednesday I’ll post another update. Hopefully I will be able to tell you that it is done and that I am now working on planning my next project. See you then!

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Wrapping It Up

I’m over 55,000 words now, and I’m trying to wrap things up. Unfortunately, it isn’t going as smoothly as I had hoped. I may hit 60,000 words yet. Of course, that would mean that I dragged the ending on for over 10,000 words, but I can fix it in edits, right?

My problem is that now that the serial killer is dead, I have to deal with the consequences of that act. Carter is in handcuffs, waiting for the DA to arrive and decide whether or not they should press charges. Meanwhile, Andy met Lisa’s parents and Cailin is trying to resolve her feelings for Carter and what he did for her.

I think the next step should be to bring the DA in and see what happens. If he decides he wants to arrest Carter, the group may show their powers after all and fly away, leaving everyone behind to find somewhere else to live and start their lives as super heroes.

Otherwise, if he lets Carter go, then the group would have to split up as the camp ends and everyone is sent back home. It won’t be hard for them to keep in touch, given Cailin’s speed and Lisa’s four-way telepathy link.

I’m not sure what’s going to happen yet, but I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

That’s it for today. Just this short update because I’ve got a busy day today and I need to spend my time on writing. See you again on Sunday!

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Geek Kon!

A quick update, then on to the show!

I’m over 52,000 words, Matt (the serial killer) is dead, and Carter was the one that killed him. All of the kids were trying to get Cailin to do it using her telekinesis, so that it would look like an accident, but when she balked at the job, Carter stepped up. Now Andy is trying to convince the cops that it was self-defense. After this I’ll do a few scenes to wrap things up, and I’ll be done. Less than 60,000 words total, but it will be finished.

And now, Geek Kon!

If you haven’t heard about it, Geek Kon is a large convention held in Madison, Wisconsin, to celebrate all things geek. There are anime and science fiction shows running non-stop, guests include voice actors, authors, and game designers. There are three rooms set aside for gaming, including table-top and RPG games, console video games, and LAN computer games. The dealer’s room has offerings for all types of geeks, including things like Pocky (candy covered biscuit sticks), Doctor Who memorabilia and videos, boxes full of manga, cosplay clothes and accessories, as well as all sorts of books and games. At least half (actually probably closer to 80%) of the attendees dress in some form of costume.

I’m writing this post before I head off for the final day of the convention. Yesterday I bought a blue anime-style wig, and today I’m going to wear it. I’ll try to get someone to take my picture while I’m at the convention so I can post it later.  I shaved my mustache off so I would look more like one of the Japanese boys in the shows, and I’m wearing a white shirt with a tie hung loosely around my neck and the shirt tails hanging out. This is my mental image of the kids in those shows. I’m a bit heavier than they are, but I’m going to do it anyway. After all, one of the best things about life is that you can always have fun if you forget about what everyone else thinks. And that’s kind of what Geek Kon is all about.

That being said, however, although I have had my camera for the whole convention, I haven’t taken a single picture. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just that while I really enjoy going there and the costumes are really cool, part of me feels like a dirty old man. After all, I’m almost twice the age of many of the kids attending, and a lot of the girls aren’t wearing much. The stereotypical girl in an anime show is wearing a short skirt and shows a lot of cleavage. And there are a lot of girls (and even a few guys) at Geek Kon that are modeling their costumes after their favorite anime characters. It’s kind of intimidating for a 43-year-old man.

But that’s my problem. And although I may feel weird about it, I may just have to screw up my courage today and ask some of the attendees if I can take their picture. We’ll see.

I’ll be back on Wednesday with another update. See you then!

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Filed under Conventions, ROW80, The Writing Experience

To Kill or Not to Kill

First, my update: I hit 48,001 words last night. Things are going well, but it’s still looking like I won’t hit 60,000 words. That isn’t a problem, as my goal is simply to finish the story by the end of the month. The 60K number only served as a way for me to keep track on my little word count widget.

Now for the question of the day. Here’s an update of where my story is going right now. Lisa had her throat cut and Andy was abducted. Carter and Cailin went to rescue him and got caught themselves. The killer (Matt) was called back to the camp to help look for them, leaving them drained of energy and tied up in various places around his cabin.

Lisa’s healing power brought her back to life and she contacted Andy telepathically. She conferenced in Carter and Cailin so they could make plans, and the intimate connection with the others caused Andy to have an epiphany about himself. It also triggered another power, that of being able to borrow the powers of his friends. Using Carter’s strength and Cailin’s energy, he freed himself and then the others. He then channeled Cailin’s energy into Carter to restore him to full strength.

The next step is to pick up Lisa and figure out what to do about Matt. That is where the question of the day comes in. Should they kill him? Or should they try to capture him?

If they capture him, they would have to use their abilities to do so, and then they would run the risk of having him expose their powers to the world. There is also a chance that he would be able to escape, and considering his own powers of illusion and energy drain, that chance becomes almost a sure thing. It would take a pretty special jail to keep him locked up. And what do you think would happen after he got out? He would go directly for the kids that put him away.

If they kill him, they will have removed a terrible person from society. They will avenge the deaths of dozens of his victims and prevent him from future atrocities. And they wouldn’t have to live in constant fear that he would escape. The story would be over.

There’s a significant moral issue at stake here as well. Killing someone isn’t something most people can do lightly, no matter how desensitized our society has become with movies and video games so focused on death and violence. If they kill him, they will have to live with that for the rest of their lives. Does killing him make them like him? How can they cross that line and still remain good people?

This is my dilemma. It isn’t something that will stop me from writing, as I can simply keep going by exploring the question through the kids. Even if I don’t know what to do, ultimately, it will be up to them. All I need to do is let them hash it out for themselves and tell me what they decide.

So that’s the plan. Now let’s see how well it works out. Check back on Sunday and we’ll see where we are.

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Coming to the Climax

First, an update: I have been writing every day, and last night hit 45,000 words. That’s 75% of my total goal of 60,000. I’m not sure if I will hit that target for my final word count, but I should definitely finish by the end of this month.

Now, on to the story. Please note that there will be spoilers!

Last week I decided I had messed around enough in the middle, and it was time to bring things to the climax. So the first thing I did was to kill off one of the kids. Lisa was the unlucky target.

Andy and Lisa had gone down to the beach to spend some time alone before Lisa’s parents came to pick her up. The killer, Matt, snuck up on them using his power of illusion, drained Andy’s energy so that he couldn’t fight back, and cut Lisa’s throat. Then he carried her into the river and let the current take the body away. A rainstorm washed away all the blood and other evidence, and Matt used his illusions to hide them as he carried Andy to his van.

Meanwhile, Carter and Cailin get worried when Lisa’s parents show up and she doesn’t come out to greet them. Cailin inspects the entire camp using her super vision and finds that both Andy and Lisa are missing. She figures it must have been Matt, and suspects that he is taking them both to the cabin to kill them there. However, she can’t spot them on the roads. She talks Carter into coming with her to the cabin to wait for them there, and they fly off together. With her super speed, they get there in minutes, and make plans to ambush Matt when he arrives.

About an hour later, Matt shows up in his invisible van and drags Andy into his killing shed. Andy is still paralyzed, and offers no resistance as Matt ties him to the autopsy table. Cailin discovers that Lisa isn’t in the van, and wonders what happened to her. Matt takes out a journal in which he logs all of his victims and writes an entry for Lisa, answering her question. She is very upset, and they decide that they should forget about catching Matt and just work on getting away with Andy.

The two kids  fly down to free Andy and get ambushed by Matt. He drains their power and takes Cailin into the cabin and ties her to the bed. Then he brings one of the other kids into the cabin and ties him to the table. She thinks it is Carter, but she can’t see since she is paralyzed and forced to stare at the ceiling. It actually is Andy, and Carter is now strapped to the autopsy table in the shed.

The plan for the next part of the story is that Cailin is recovering her strength faster than the others. I’m saying it’s because her power of super speed gives her more energy than most people, so she can recover faster. I’m also considering something similar for Carter with his super strength, but haven’t decided yet.

My original plan was to have Lisa show up to rescue them after healing from her injuries and coming back to life. However, I’m not sure how she would get to the cabin, and Cailin also has the power to free them, so I’m reconsidering. I will probably still bring Lisa back, but now I’m thinking that Cailin will also have a part to play in the ending.

Actually, another thought just occurred to me that may have some promise. What if Lisa  or Andy find out that they can “borrow” the powers of the others? Part of the premise of this story was about these kids learning to work as a team. Having one of them use the powers of the others to vanquish the killer would wrap up that arc nicely. If you want an example of this, think of how the Fantastic Four defeated Doctor Doom in their movie, Rise of the Silver Surfer. Johnny Storm took all of their powers to go after Doom. This would be similar. I’m thinking maybe Andy should have the honor, as his solo powers aren’t as flashy as the others.

I’m not sure yet what I’m going to do with the killer once they take him down. I was planning on having them capture him, but maybe a quick death would be better. I guess it depends on whether or not I want to bring him back for a sequel. Right now, I’m not planning on another book, but who knows? I could always write the ending to leave it as an option.

The other thing I have to think about is how to send the kids home. Will they be heroes for stopping the killer? Or will they be in trouble for leaving the camp? What will they do on their own after they go back to their separate homes? All of these questions have to be at least partially answered for the ending.

As you can tell, while I may not think that I can hit 60,000 words, all of the wrap-up required after they stop the killer may very well bring me to that target. I won’t know until I’m done.

After I finish, the plan is to throw it in a drawer and leave it alone for at least several months before I look at it again. I won’t start editing until I’ve let all of the finer points of how to make it better settle in my head.

That’s about all for today. I’ll be back on Wednesday with another update. And now, I’ve got writing to do!

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Planning for the Future

I am still working on my YA story, and last night I hit 42,000 words. But today I thought I should start getting some thoughts down for my next project, which needs to be ready in time for NaNoWriMo.

In case you missed it, my next story is going to be about a civil war or revolution (what is the difference?) here in America. The things that the Republican Taliban Tea Party have been trying to push through are disgusting and wrong, and have me seriously concerned about the direction my country is headed. So, like any author worth his salt, I decided I need to write a story about it.

Of course, the story is going to be anything but normal. I’m partial to writing urban fantasy, so my story is going to be about how the evil Republicans have made a pact with the dark forces in order to win the election, and now the monsters and demons are starting to come out to play. I’m going to bring in my Valkyrie forces from my earlier books, as well as the wizard and his dragon from my first NaNoWriMo story. They will have to fight the demons and bring the country back to the side of good.

Sounds good, right? The question is, how to make it great?

I thought that the first thing I should do is start making a list of all the funny business the Tea Party has on the Republican platform and how it would affect the country if they win and start pushing it through. Things like the cuts to education, which would put most of our kids into a position where they won’t be able to get a decent job. Or the union busting, which opens the way for the elimination of the minimum wage and child labor laws. These things together would likely result in most of America becoming nothing but slaves to the big corporations. Think of history, and the “company store” that coal miners had to put up with. They would work all day for a company and come home owing more back to the company than they brought home. It was a vicious cycle that took the combined efforts of unions and the government to end. I don’t want to end up like that.

So today I am going to try to get my writing done as usual, but I am also going to work on starting my list (I have a little list, they’ll never be missed). For now I’m just going to compile the atrocities on their platform, later I’ll work on putting my thoughts down on what will happen if they get enacted.

Feel free to comment if you have any thoughts on the matter. The issues that concern me the most are the war on women and the destruction of our public education system. What are yours? Do the plans of the Tea Party give you nightmares like mine?

As usual, I’ll be back on Sunday with another update. See you then!

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Filed under NaNoWriMo, Politics, ROW80, The Writing Experience

Short update

I’m not feeling up to a long post today, so I’ll just hit some highlights:

I hit 40,000 words yesterday, which was my goal for August. That means that any more writing I do this month will just be getting me that much farther ahead for September. I’m not sure if the story is going to make it to 60,000 words, but at least it will definitely be finished by the end of this ROW80 round.

I’m also starting to think of what to do for NaNoWriMo. I have a couple of co-workers that I discuss politics with each morning, and I have been telling them that if the Republicans get their way, either the country will fall apart, or we will have another civil war. I am firmly in the Obama camp for the upcoming election, because everything that I know about the Republican platform shows me that they are only out to serve their corporate masters and they will screw the rest of the country to get it done.

Regardless of whatever your political leanings are, the reason I mention it is that I made a comment a week or so back to one of my co-workers that I thought maybe the next story I write should be about the next American civil war/revolution. So that thought has been percolating in the back of my head for a while and I had an idea of how I could take the idea from my first NaNoWriMo story along  with the characters from my Valkyrie series and use them to write something that puts all of it into one place. So here’s a short blurb about the plan:

The country is going to hell. Literally. The Republicans won the election through demonology, and now that they are in power, the demons are getting restless. They break free of their masters and start wreaking havoc. The Valkyries have to step in and try to stop them, but they find that they can’t do it alone. They find a man who has discovered an ancient race of dragons and managed to learn some of their magic and is now teaching it to others. Together, the dragon wizards and the Valkyries take back the country by destroying the demons and the evil men that initially summoned them.

There’s not a whole lot there right now, just a premise and an ending. Now I have to start plotting out all the fine points that go in between. I also want to do a lot of work on the character arcs before I start writing as well. Since I have already written these characters, I have a pretty good idea of what they are like, so there won’t be any discovery writing for this story.

The last thing I wanted to say was THANK YOU to everyone that commented on my last post regarding editing ideas for my superpower story. Feel free to comment on my new idea as well.

That’s about it for today. Not as short as it could have been, but shorter than normal for me. See you again on Wednesday!

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Editing Ideas (Please Comment)

I’m over 60% to my goal of 60,000 words for my first draft, and I’m starting to think about what I want to change for the second draft. As I told you in my last post, there are a lot of issues with the beginning, so it’s going to have to get some major changes. I also feel that there’s not enough conflict in the story. I’ve been mulling over some ideas about that, and here’s a sampling of what I’ve come up with.

First off, I am thinking of completely changing the origin story of the powers. The current version is that they got their powers from eating MRE’s (Meals Ready to Eat – Army food) that had been contaminated by radiation from a meteorite that had struck near the cabin. My idea is that they just get their powers from the meteorite directly. As part of this, I have to find another reason for them to be in the cabin. Because I have been concerned about how the characters have been developing, I’m thinking of shaking things up to make it more interesting and bring in more conflict between the kids.

Here’s the plan: Forget about the summer camp. The kids are actually victims of the serial killer, with the help of Andy. They have kidnapped Carter, Cailin, and Lisa and are torturing them to death. Andy turns from being a borderline sociopath to being an accomplice to kidnapping and murder. However, he is a reluctant assistant, especially when it comes to Lisa. Andy develops feelings for her in the time they have together while the killer “plays” with them. She pretends to reciprocate in a desperate attempt to escape, but she never gets the chance.

The kids are set free when the meteorite hits the cabin. My idea for this is that the rock will blast through the roof and hit Lisa, killing her instantly. It will then strike something metal (maybe an old iron wood stove?) and shatter, spraying the other kids with tiny pieces of shrapnel and dust particles. I’m trying to decide whether or not to give the killer powers too, or have him be absent when this happens. It would probably be better if he was there, so that the kids have a target for revenge.

When the kids get their powers, Lisa does her impression of the cheerleader from the television show “Heroes” and comes back to life. This is a surprise to Andy, who has been given the task of disposing of the body. He tells her he has changed his mind and doesn’t want to help the killer any more, so he helps her escape. Carter and Cailin’s powers manifest as well and they escape from the cabin.

This idea seems pretty good for at least a short story, but I’m not sure what to do after this. If the killer is still alive and has powers, then that gives them a villain to fight against, but I’m not sure if that is a strong enough conflict to carry a book unless the killer’s powers are strong enough to threaten the world.

Another option is to have the meteorite be part of a “storm”, and make this part of a larger event that affects a lot of other people. If the kids are not the only ones that have these powers, the government would certainly find out about it and there would be a reaction from the normal population. Think of the X-Men and the Mutant Registration Act.

Something else that I have considered is that the meteorite was part of a spaceship from an alien species preparing to take over the Earth. It got knocked loose in orbit in a collision with one of our satellites. The only ones that know about the invasion are the aliens and the government. They could find the kids when they show up to look for the debris in a hope that they will be able to learn something about the alien’s technology.

An alien invasion would definitely give me a long-term focus for the book, but I would also have to come up with a reason the aliens want the Earth. It could be for natural resources, which would let me throw in some of my thoughts on conservation. Or it could simply be for slaves, which could end up with the kids being right back where they started, as the captives of a more powerful being. That makes for a nice, circular plot, and also gives me the opportunity to bring the serial killer back in the role of either assistant to the aliens (like Andy was to him) or as an unwilling ally to help them escape and stop the invasion.

That actually sounds pretty cool. I would love some input on these ideas, so please comment with any thoughts you have about this. Are there any other things I am missing that would help strengthen this story?

As part of the middle, I want to play with the relationships between the characters. They need more development and more conflict as they figure out that they need to work together in order to survive. I also want to give Carter and Cailin a chance to be bad. Carter’s strength and invulnerability should allow him to walk into a bank and rip the vault door open. He could then simply walk out without having to worry about getting shot. Cailin’s super speed and telekinesis would allow her to zip in and out of almost anywhere without even being seen. I think it would be a good idea to let them each steal something, then later realize that they don’t want to be criminals, but instead need to use their powers to help save the planet. In other words, they need to have a chance to become heroes.

I’m also having second thoughts about giving Lisa the ability to read minds. Dialogue is difficult when one person can simply pull the thoughts from your head. It helps build a connection between two people, but there’s no tension or surprise any more. Similarly, Andy’s powers are pretty weak, and I may have to do something about making them more interesting.

I think that’s enough for today. Like I said, I would love to get your input on this. Help me brainstorm this thing and leave a comment!

Thanks for stopping in, and I’ll see you back here on Sunday.

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Am I on the Wrong Track?

My writer’s critique group didn’t go so well for me. Essentially, I was told that the situation I used to get my kids to a point where I could give them their powers was too contrived and it didn’t make any sense.

I can’t honestly say I disagree.

First, some of those kids shouldn’t have been sent to that summer camp. One of them was supposed to be a borderline sociopath, and I was told that no respectable therapist would have put someone like that into a social situation. Another one was supposed to have been sent there because she was caught fooling around with a boy one too many times. Again, her parents would not have sent her to a co-ed camp if that was the case.

Strike one.

Second, the kids are behaving in ways beyond their years. Maybe it’s because I am an OLD MAN, and have lost touch with the way kids talk and behave nowadays. Or maybe, this story would just be better if it was aimed at a slightly older market. I had initially thought they would be in their early teens, but they are getting into sexual situations which (at least in my mind) would be more appropriate for an older audience. I have felt for some time that I was struggling with keeping this at an age-appropriate level, and she confirmed my diagnosis.

Strike two.

Finally, in order to get them to the cabin where they got their powers, I had them go on a backpacking hike. It was just the four kids and one counselor, and they were supposed to take shelter in what they thought was a deserted cabin when a storm blew in out of nowhere. As my friend pointed out to me, a real counselor would have a) checked the weather before leaving; b) had a cell phone or radio in case of emergency; c) had supplies in the pack that would be useful if a problem came up; and d) would never have left a mixed group of kids alone in a cabin while she went for help.

Strike three. You’re OUT!

If you follow me on Facebook, you can tell that I’m not really happy with this news. I understand what she told me, and I agree that it was sloppy writing. But this means that everything I have done so far will need to be redone. And I’m not sure I’m ready to do that.

I do have some (hopefully) good ideas on how I might be able to fix this, but I also have a commitment to finishing this story by the end of September. If I start over I don’t think I’ll be able to do that. Besides, I have been living with these kids in my head for the last seven weeks and I would kind of like to see how this story goes, even if it is poorly written.

So I think I’m going to just keep plugging away while I let some of the ideas for a new beginning percolate in my head. I have known for a while that I was going to have a lot of editing to do before this thing is ready to publish, so nothing has changed. I’ll probably jot down some notes before I forget my new ideas, but I won’t attempt to start the rewrite until I finish the ending.

I think another thing that I’ll be doing is going through each scene and figure out how each of them advances the story. I haven’t had any formal writing courses since high school (25 years ago) so I’m a bit of a klutz when it comes to plotting, but I would like to make sure that this piece is as finely crafted as I can manage. I probably should have spent more time on the outline, but at that point I really didn’t have any idea who these people were and there was no way I could do that kind of in-depth planning.

The story is moving along. The kids have all discovered their powers and are trying to move forward to catch the killer. It won’t be long now before they discover that they weren’t really ready, and things will fall apart again. But they’ll come back from their failure and win in the end. That is what’s supposed to happen, right?

Come back Wednesday for another thrilling episode of Author In Progress. See you then!

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