Long time coming. It’s been almost a month since I was here, talking to you, an invisible crowd more or less. I’ve been occupied with something far more important than the Writer’s Corner (and by admitting that, I believe I’m breaking some sort of code in the blogging sphere).
I feel silly for naming the subject since I feel as though everyone I run into has to hear about it: I am writing a novel.
It’s a mystery with two main characters.
The format consists of three parts, the first two playing out in London and the final one in Chicago. That’s all I’m willing to say on cyberspace. I am extremely paranoid about my work, as every writer and artist ought to be. I’ve only trusted three people with the task of reading the drafts and giving me feedback: my mother, my roommate Kaye, and my buddy and colleague Nick. I might add another person to help me out, also a friend and a writer. The more eyes pointing out the flaws, the better.
This is completely new experience for me, writing on a daily basis — or at least five days a week (college and life in general get in the way). On days when I don’t write as much as planned, or not at all, shamefully, I always make sure to scribble notes on the book; it can be a scene, ideas about the plot, things I need to look up, problems, questions.
I’ve run across things that my professors have talked about in class, and some things I didn’t know could happen. Here are two examples.
The “I” point of view is the easiest method of storytelling for most authors, which I’m using for the novel. Several times, I’ve heard that beginners tend to have problem with disconnecting themselves — as the author — from the narrator, causing ultimately the person who speaks to think, talk or act similar to themselves. For an autobiographical fiction, it’s awesome, like City of Angels: Or The Overcoat of Dr. Freud by Christa Wolf.
However, usually professors encourage their students to step out of their comfort zones and try to create a character that is very much unlike them when they pick the first POV, because it will open up new possibilities and scenarios that otherwise couldn’t have happened if the narrator were like ourselves. Additionally, it creates an element of surprise, even for the writer. The narrator and I have some things in common, but our personalities are largely different; for one, she is a lot more egotistic. There was a moment where I had to take a break from typing, because she was about to make a huge mistake, something cruel, and I felt so disgusted with myself for planning this scene. Not something any teacher I’ve ever had has discussed.
Another thing I’ve been told over the years is not to “over-plan” the story. There are writers who will draw detailed outlines of the plot and write entire biographies for the characters before they begin. That doesn’t work for me; I’ll have a partial skeleton of the story if anything, and unexpected ideas will pop in my head like fireworks while I’m doing homework or something like that. Overall, when I write, it feels as though I am putting a puzzle together, and sometimes, I have to pause so I can search for a piece that’s hiding under the couch or that has fallen into the trashcan. Or I have to stop all together, because I keep crashing into walls and I’ll come back when I’ve found a sledgehammer.
Two nights ago, I had a nightmare that helped me solve an issue in the second part. The other main character was supposed to get into a lethal dilemma, but I realized early that there were plot holes in that scene. I was debating tossing out that plan all-together before I had that epiphany…
In the dream, I am in my bed, about to go to sleep, but it is in my dorm’s living room for some reason and my two brothers are going to watch “The Ring.” I crawl under the sheet and pull it over my head, but somehow, I can still see what is happening outside the dark interior of the sheet. The ring appears on the TV screen. I blink and my brothers are gone. Next thing I know, a hoard of black birds fly out of the screen, screeching, violently pulling on my sheet. It won’t come off, though; it has molded itself around me like a cocoon. I myself cannot move. I’m paralyzed. I’m then back under the blanket and I can see it shaking, feeling the claws pricking. Once the birds are gone, it’s silent for a moment. Then I hear this sick inhale, like someone breathing in heavily, as though it’s taking them a huge amount of effort. I can only see the inside of my blanket, but I know the girl from “The Ring” is standing in the room. For what feels like a whole minute, I listen to her breathe. Then the molded blanket looses its hold off me. I know somehow that I’ve become vulnerable. I then feel pressure on the bed, two hands next to my shoulders, two feet by my ankles. The girl is hovering above me, breathing. Then a hand slowly grabs the top of the sheet and pulls it down. I see the dark bangs. And just as she stares me down with her pale eyes, I feel a jolt in my stomach and I wake up with a gasp.
Spooky, huh? I’d forgotten the dream when I woke a couple of hours later, but it came back to me at work later in the day. I stopped washing dishes as I relived that memory. I had finally figured out how one of the antagonists was going to attempt killing the other main character. It involves claustrophobia, that’s all I’m saying.
Progress of novel:
2 chapters completed (the first of which I’ve edited once)
Till next time.