Basement of the Universe

It’s actually not entirely badly written. Or, to be really honest, it’s pretty good. Sure, it needs polishing, and I need to add a few scenes, and add a whole lot of description, and add some foreshadowing and a few other bits and pieces that I’ve missed (forgotten from the conversations Fahim and I had about it), but he’ll remind me what those are, and I’ll add them, and it’ll be all better. But it’s not pages and pages of crap that needs to be deleted. It’s mostly pretty good. And definitely workable.

Placidia was the first one I finished a first draft for, and it has definite problems. Black Light was the second I finished, and while it’s better than Placidia, it most definitely has some serious problems. Both of them need some serious work – plot restructuring and the whole bit. I have entire scenes I need to rip out, and a whole lot more that I need to add in. It has zero foreshadowing, and the plot is, well, amateurish.

In other words, there’s a lot of work to be done on both of them before either is ready to present to agents or publishers.

Basement of the Universe, however, feels completely different. Basement feels like it needs editing, of course, but it can be done in a month or two, whereas the other two would need a whole lot more than that. And honestly, the only reason it’ll take a month or two to do Basement is because Fahim needs to read it over (it’ll take him that long) and tell me what I’ve forgotten.

Basement is already much much more sellable than either of the first two.

My next, Children of the Dome, will be even better. That much, I also know.

From plotting with Fahim on Basement and then writing it, I’ve learned that, during the plotting phase, I need to go more detailed than I have before. I need to include notes on POV for each scene, foreshadowing that I need to include in any given scene, things like that. At this point, I’m not as good at planning it or figuring it out in the moment, but if I plan it all in advance, then it works out far better.

So with Children of the Dome, and all other novels to follow, of course, that’s what I have to do. Detail the plot outline to death.

With Fahim’s help, it works out great.

Thanks, honey. kiss

More On Writing and Writers

And here’s what I pasted on the top of what I meant to bold:

Khara enlists the help of her best friend, Aliye, and Aliye’s boyfriend, Helki in attempting to contact the space ship anyway.

The pilot, Nichol, receives the signal and confers with Logor.

I was working on the plot outline for another novel, not Black Light, which I have been working on more or less the last couple of months. As in Black Light is the novel I’ve been working on for the last few months, not the other novel. No, this one is tentatively titled “Placidia” – at least until I come up with a better working title. I was working on the plot outline.

I sometimes write very confused, rabidly confused sentences. I wonder if that’s a sign of how confused my brian is?

Placidia is the first novel I wrote. It’s not done. It needs a fair bit of work. I knew that at the time, but at the time, I didn’t know what to do with it.

Well, let me rephrase. I finished the first draft, and I called it finished because I wrote everything I could think of at the time, but I knew that there were problems with it. I knew it needed serious editing. I knew I’d need to add a bunch more stuff, but at the time? No, I didn’t know what, and I’d had enough of it, and whatever. So I called it done.

Well, I did, after all, write all the major plot points at the time and write it all the way to the end.

The end, as it’s written now, will be scrapped. It’s gonna die a bloody little death. It’s gonna be destroyed. Erased. Deleted. As if it never existed. Battle cry, ho! Existentialists, unite and take over!!!!

Ahem.

Ah, but now we have Fahim and his handy dandy little program he’s writing for me, aka Amanuensis. And that’s making it a lot easier for me to sort out bits and pieces of a novel, sort out plot outline, figure out the order things should happen in, you know. That sort of thing. I’m using Amanuensis for Black Light as well and it’s helped alot – despite the crashes. It’s buggy and Fahim’s taken a break from it so he could let his unconscious figure out what to do to fix it, and he’s got part of it figured out as a result. But not enough that I can work with a bugless program. So I suffer. At the moment.

Meanwhile, and Back at the Ranch, and other meaningless cliches later, I figured that, since I’m nearing completion of Black Light, I figured I needed to work on plotting another novel, and I just decided that it’s time to work on this one again.

I knew way back when that it had plot holes the size of a semi truck and lacked certain other, uh, elements. But you know what? That’s what a first draft of a first novel is for. To learn on. To do everything crappy so you can figure out how to do it better.

Anyway, I plugged Placidia into Amanuensis and I started working on plotting, and this novel is my next one. I’m gonna fix the sucker and fill in all the holes so it reads real nice and everything.

I still don’t know exactly what to fill the holes with. But I guess that’s what brainstorming is all about. Well, and organizing, and sorting, and . . . You got it, baby.

Ack. I’ll figure it out.

The other thing is this. When I get bored of writing one novel, I can switch to writing the other. Fahim? Fahim? Put that down. Fahim. Put that down now. No, no, stop! STOP!!!! DON’T

Placidia the novel – First Draft is DONE!!!!!

I have a novel I’ve been working on and off for the last three or three and a half years, and this morning, I finished my first draft. (Laurie does the snoopy dance.) It was hard work. It was frustrating. I gave up on it three times for six months to a year or so at a time. I was blocked and felt like my story was going no where. Well, I finally became unblocked again last week and finished the damn thing.

For me, this first novel (there will be others following it) was a learning process – the time for me to learn what works for me in writing a novel and what doesn’t. I learned that I was blocked because where I thought the novel was going next didn’t make sense for the characters and culture in my novel. Once I figured out a plot line that was logical for these people, it started to flow again. So that’s a lesson for me. When I’m blocked, I need to rethink the plot. Other times that I’ve been blocked, it’s been because I needed to do more research, or get my characters settled in my head, or . . . Well, you get the idea.

I could also tell you that my novel at present only has about 1/3 to 1/2 the content it will have when it’s done because it’s missing sub plots and a lot of detail & description. That’s okay, too. That can go in on second draft. First draft for me is about getting the damn story down. Fill in the blanks later. My sister insisted on reading my first draft, what I had, last week, and didn’t much like it – missing too many holes, didn’t make sense, she said. Well, of course not. It’s only first draft. It doesn’t matter right now. It has inconsistencies until I figure out exactly where it’s going in the end. Which I’ve just done. So, you see, it doesn’t matter that it sorta sucks now. Of course it does. Who cares? I can fix it later.

And maybe the story really isn’t salvageable. Well, I can always take out a couple of chapters or whatever and fill them in with something better later. Or rethink the direction I want it to go in, or rethink the characters. The important thing right now is to keep writing and learn about my writing process and what works for me and what doesn’t. Don’t worry about the polished piece until much later.

Laurie (who has also never finished anything ever before in her life and is so stinkin’ proud of herself)