Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Progress? I laugh in the face of Progress.

Ha ha ha! 


So at the beginning of Row 80 I set myself a pretty steep goal. I have utterly failed.

I did set out on schedule to begin writing my new story. And I've tried. I've written I don't know how many beginnings. I made decisions about POV (I've decided to go with first person, since this is a story centered around one main character) and figured out more about the plot and how I want it to work, I worked hard on a map as well, showing on it the changes to the land that this story will bring about. But I could not write the actual story. I couldn't get into the MC's voice. (Which is kind of a problem with first person.) 

I tried a popular exercise that seems to help a lot of bloggers I read: casting your characters as an actor or actress to help visualize them. I cast my MC, whose name is Narmer, but it just didn't feel right. It didn't help. I was starting to get desperate. 

Then last night I had a breakthrough. I realized (remembered, really) that it doesn't matter to me what a character looks like. I don't need to see them, I need to hear them. If I can hear their voices then the dialogue flows like water. So I needed to cast a voice for my main character. And as soon as I thought that, I realized I had already heard his voice recently. I just hadn't recognized it for what it was at the time.

We don't have TV in our house so my husband and I usually get our visual entertainment through We watch a fair amount of anime on there and we have been watching (and just finished) the anime show Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok. (A cute, less than serious show with some very funny aspects.) There are two versions of Loki in the show, a child Loki and a teen Loki. Teen Loki's voice was very distinctive, and I responded to it on a visceral level. (Voices have always affected me that way.) But it wasn't until early this morning that I knew why: his voice was the voice of Narmer. I can hear him now. 

So I am very excited to make a fresh try at writing my story tomorrow. I think it's going to come this time. I set my goal at 1500 words a day at the beginning of Row 80. I'm going to be more modest from now on. 1000 words a day is fine to start out with. If I can get to the point where I easily meet that goal every day, I'll up it later on. 

Alright, let's try this again!


  1. 1000 words a day is a good goal. Doable. I get what you mean about having to hear the voice of the character. I tend to talk to myself in a sort of british accent when I'm writing. :)

  2. That's really interesting! About hearing your character's voice, I mean. My weird writing thing is this: I sit for 10 to 15 minutes, quietly, with my eyes closed. Complete quiet. It's not meditation, I actually visualize the scene. Then I start writing, still with my eyes closed! For me it's about "seeing" what is happening (not necessarily what people look like - especially since I am inside the main character, I can't see him or her!)
    Sometimes I set my goal at 250 words, because it's often easy to exceed that. :-)
    I'm excited for you that you found your character's voice and will be interested to hear how it helps you move along.

  3. See? TV shows and movies are a writer's best friend. Glad you're off and running now.

  4. So glad you found your characters voice, it will definitely help with your writing. 1000 a day is doable. Have a great rest of the week.

  5. I have utterly failed at my ROW80 goals too - but thank you for making me laugh about it. The DVD rewinder - too funny!

    But thank you also for giving me a clue. I respond more to voices than to appearances also! I'm going to start keeping my ears tuned for my MC's voice (I dont' have cable either but we do watch lots of movies).

  6. You'll get it right. I like that you're not giving up. I often snag pics off the nets and put them in a folder 'potential characters', but then I sometimes alter the look, as it's something usually in the face, some spark of personality I'm after. But now that you mentioned it, I've just started a new piece, and I have no clue what my mc looks like. She has brown hair w/ a bad dye job and is awkward and clumsy. Guess I ought to do something about that. lol I know everything else about her, but that. How funny that you made me realize that. Maybe that will be an upcoming story - the gal w/ no face.

    Thanks on the insights on the agent/self-publishing thing. Obviously, I've been living with my head in my work too much, as I'd not heard of it. Now I know. :)

  7. Good luck. Starting a project on time can be difficult. I may have to try your trick of assigning a distinctive voice to a character.

    If you get a chance, check out a fellow writer's zombie story and help me make him wear an embarrassing shirt next year! It's the ultimate grudge match between social media and the zombies. Details are here:

  8. It's not over yet! It is good your have set yourself a goal you feel you can achieve, 1000 words a day would mean great progress by the end of the round.

    Just a thought but what about completing some writing prompt pieces as yoru characters to help you develop their voice but not worry about your actual story. I found this useful before starting my WIP but totally understand it might feel like going off on a tangent!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Hope you have a great writing weekend!

  9. Thanks for the encouragement everyone. Things are definitely looking up.


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