Six days in!
The Writing Day
I’m not sure there was a writing day today. I had a really lovely day though; I exercised, played my harp, stir-fried some celery, had a great lesson, bought some oat bran, snuck in a tiny bit of writing that went really well, enjoyed choir practice. I’m hoping to dash out this blog post and get some more work in tonight. I’m past the part of chapter 11 that was really hard, and the editing process seems to have smoothed out again. It’s just that life got in the way today, and since I really like my life right now I don’t feel too bad about it. But hey, maybe I can still get some work in tonight!
Also, by the way, my number of followers has been climbing steadily this week, and I want to thank you all for that. I also seem to be following behind on responding to individual comments, but even if it takes me a day or two to get back to you please know that I read your comment and loved it.
Okay, we need a blog topic.
And the winner is…
Jess. Congratulations, Jess!
Jess is a friend, and one of my classmates from the Illustration program at Northern Michigan University. She’s a really great artist, so you should definitely check out her online portfolio: Icarus Falls Design.
Jess very kindly provided me with a question or a prompt to choose from, and even though the prompt looks like a lot of fun I am going to choose the question, because I suspect it will take less time to answer and I’d really like to make some more headway on Chapter 11 tonight.
Jess’s entry: What motivates you? When you’re thinking about writing or drawing, what is it that gets you to actually sit down and pick up the pen? What’s the first part of the project or story that comes to you?
The thing that usually gets me back to a story, and actually working on it, is the name of the main character. I don’t entirely understand this, but mentally I hang a lot of their personality, their very essence, on the sound of their name. So when I find myself walking around the house and whispering “Vanya” under my breath, well, I know it’s time to get back to creating him on the page (in image and word). Having the wrong name for a character can also be a major roadblock to working on something. Upon my return from Thailand, I had to complete a fiction writing assignment in order to receive credit for the trip. I already had one very good scene for the story that I had scrawled down in my sketchbook on the tour bus as we drove away from the ruined city of Ayutthaya, and I had the basic plot, but I was stumbling over the name of the main character and without it, I couldn’t make any progress at all. Then I took a shower to to clear my head, and the name came to me: Hadley. Just weird enough to be interesting, and with just the right sort of old-fashioned feel to it. It seemed both original and classic. Hadley. Now the story could begin.
Of course, motivation is a big, huge, complicated thing. Right now, I am motivated by tons of things. Here are approximate samplings of motivated interior monologue: “This has taken too long and I need to work harder so I can be done now.” “I want this to be done, yesterday.” “My only justification for living with my parents and not having a real job is that I’m working on this, so I’d better work on it.” “I can’t wait to see the finished book.” “I’m ready to stop messing around with the words and start illustrating them.” “I want to be rich and famous.” “I want to start marketing my book.” “I want to tell this story as well as I possibly can.” “I freakin’ love this story!” “I need to finish this and find out if anyone else will love it.” “I get to write about pretty boys and magical harps today, how cool is that?” “Ogodyes this scene… except I can make it even better, here, here, and here.” “Okay, need to work on this today because… Taniel. Vanya.” “Vanya.”
Somehow, it all comes back to the names. In the peculiar alchemy of my brain, they seem to encapsulate everything else.
Thanks so much for your question, Jess, I had fun answering it! You will receive your name-doodle prize in a week or so, and by the end of February at the latest.
And it looks like I do have some time and energy left to tackle a bit more of Chapter 11. I will let you all know how it goes tomorrow!
3 thoughts on “Writing Marathon Day 6, and Tonight’s Contest Winner”
Sorry I’m just now replying…I wanted to read this when I got the facebook notification, but I’ve been hosting family from Nebraska and have barely had time to crack open my computer. Which means I also missed wishing you a happy birthday–oops! I’m sorry. I hope it was a good one, regardless, and that you got all your novelwriting goals accomplished!
A good friend of mine who’s also a writer starts primarily with seeing a plot point and devises her characters through what the plot needs them to be. She tends to change their names around whenever she’s tired of one or finds another she likes better. As someone who regularly beta-reads and edits for her, and also as a writer who’s primarily character-driven, like you, it’s a pretty distracting habit. I get the personality and a glimpse of the face first and frame the name around that, but once I’ve found the right name for a person, it’s not really -mine- to change anymore. It’s theirs.
Anyway, I really enjoyed your post, and the look into your thought process is really interesting. I’m always curious about where an idea starts for other people, how it forms and what comes first. Thanks for humoring my curiosity!
I can’t even imagine working the way your friend works; that’s really interesting! Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for the birthday wishes!
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