Today, I spent a shitload of money on bedroom furniture. Bedroom furniture. A chest of drawers and a television stand to be precise. Not exactly the ‘big fun’ purchases that a guy likes to brag about, but it’s stuff we needed/wanted and it looks damn good. Just another sign that I’m getting older; no longer choosing between particle board, unassembled furniture or out of date, well weathered hand-me-down furniture. It feels pretty good.
So back to this writing thingy. As I said, Doug and I had our first writing call. On it we talked story ideas, daily word counts, why we wanted to write, and stayed away from hashing out each other’s stories. Though we did offer each other some ideas on directions to take with our respective stories. Which was good for me, I don’t want to get caught in the trap of talking myself through a story (essentially working it all out in my head) and then having no reason to write it down. I’ve done that far too many times to not have learned the hard lesson there. Write that first draft with the door closed, as Stephen King would say.
We set ourselves to the goal of having a one sentence summary and some scenes notecarded out for the next call, which didn’t happen because I was moving. That is to say, the call didn’t happen, the actual work was completed. I have the first four scenes figured out, though the order is not set in stone. And I have a summary sentence. For the sentence, I’m using the guidelines set forth by both Holly Lisle and Randy Ingermanson: 1) Say it in as few words as possible. Aim for twenty-five or less. 2) Focus on one or two characters. 3) Focus on one plot thread. 4) Be specific. 5) Reveal the conflict. 6) Don’t reveal the ending. So with those rules in mind, here’s what I came up with.
“An angel falls for a woman and must choose between a terrible love and eternal damnation.”
Took me a little over two hours to get it down to that. Personally, I think it says a lot more about the story than the words first imply. I’m tempted to show you the evolution of the sentence, but I think I’ll resist that urge. Those first few drafts were UGLY.
Doug was leaning toward fantasy for his story, but that’s not really what he reads. He’s a Sci-Fi reader, and I think he should write what he knows and more importantly, write what he enjoys. So I did my best to steer him toward thinking SF rather than Fantasy. Judging by his blog posts, I think it worked.
For my part I’ve got my main characters, a fallen angel, a nephilim, and a retired cop. I think I’m getting a pretty good handle on each of them. I’ve also got a trio of characters that will play important roles in the story, we’ll call them supporting characters: two archangels and another fallen angel. Each of my main characters has choices they need to make, important choices, and those choices have consequences. They have inherent complications and reasons for being and doing what they are. The supporting characters have goals and motivations that make sense. I think this is working out nicely, but damn if the moving didn’t wipe out a giant chunk of my planning time. I may have to adjust my schedule by a week. Oh yeah, I have a plan and a schedule for my writing. I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.