Since I missed the Planning Party due to the Twitter rewatch of Doctor Who (such fun!) I'm going to tackle the questions today.
Q1. Are you a planner or a plotter or a plantser? Are you willing to try something different this time around to see if it helps or does your method work as is? I'm a plantser these days, which is a step up from pantser I guess. I know plotting is necessary, but I really struggle with it. I prefer to let my characters lead the narrative.
Q2. Are you set on your genre? The overarching genre like romance, sci-fi, horror and then the more specific subgenre like contemporary romance, arcanepunk or occupational fiction? (Any blend of genres is good too!) I'm set on romance, but that's not unusual. I'm trying for historical romance, though as it's Victorian era, there's a chance it might slide into steampunk.
Q3. What character has the most stakes in the story? Is this person your MC? Definitely my heroine! She doesn't have a name yet...
Q4. Who is your antagonist and what is their main goal? Is it world domination? Getting the love interest? Stealing something vital? The antagonist on page one is a railroad owner who wants to expand his company's line... right through my heroine's farmland. He clashes with her, but slowly realises how much change the railroad will bring.
Q5. Are you setting this in the real world or a second world? Why have you chosen that? Do you want to pull from a lot of real world technology, culture, etc. or make it all up on your own? The real world, though probably with a large dose of artistic license.
Q6. Summarize the premise of your novel the best you can. Examples might be: Boy and Girl fall in love despite family feud. Heroes save the world from evil overlord. Boy goes to school to learn to fight aliens and learns he had been fighting them the whole time. Pride and Prejudice set in the Wild West.
Q7. What sort of twists in the plot could you use, if you haven't figured it out yet? Which sort of plot twist tropes do you love and want to play around with this time? Not figured this out yet.
Q8. Do you have any secondary characters who have already come forward in your idea generating sessions? Do you think they have any fun subplots with them? Does the sidekick aim to help the hero save the world by defeating a mini-boss who is plaguing his town? Is the best friend of the female main character about to get married, but she needs the FMC to serve as a date for the best man? Still in development.
Q9. What is the hardest part of finding time to write? Identifying it now will make it easier to find solutions. Having everyone home and not being able to get out.
Q10. What is your favorite quote to turn to when you're having trouble with writing? Never give up, never surrender!
Post by khelessindarae on Apr 21, 2020 13:12:43 GMT -5
Oops, haha. Was looking for this thread, and then posted in my progress thread, because I couldn't find a place. Working my way through the prompts, trying to get my story under control and started.
Ok! I missed out on the planning party over the weekend (technically was in discord around Question 3 or so, but felt weird since I'm starting a project, not ending one so...), so I'm going to do the Pack Your Bags Planning Party here in this thread, and hope that helps me get my ghost in line and my story semi outlined.
Q1. Are you a planner or a plotter or a plantser? Are you willing to try something different this time around to see if it helps or does your method work as is?
I am a planner to the max. If it were possible to outline a novel into existence, I would have published 12 and written 36. However, outlining a novel into a kitchen sink, and attaching twelve kitchen sinks to an outline does not, unfortunately, a novel make. I have to write the dang thing.
So, to that point, I am following something I learned from Romance Divas, which is to figure out my characters GMC (goal, motivation, conflict) sentences, and have a broad sense of what the 7 goal posts are, from Hauge's 6 stages.
Since I have the habitual sin of overplanning, I am not allowing myself to plan beyond that, but am now stuck, because I can't work through the goal posts. UGH.
Q2. Are you set on your genre? The overarching genre like romance, sci-fi, horror and then the more specific subgenre like contemporary romance, arcanepunk or occupational fiction? (Any blend of genres is good too!)
Alternate history, suspense romance.
Q3. What character has the most stakes in the story? Is this person your MC?
Protagonist and antagonist are fairly well matched, one dies and/or loses her soul if the antagonist wins, one ceases to exist if the protagonist wins. Love interest is only shaping the course of Chinese history and determining his place in the hierarchy of heaven so...?
Q4. Who is your antagonist and what is their main goal? Is it world domination? Getting the love interest? Stealing something vital?
My ghost witch needs to corrupt and/or kill the MC. Close to 300 year old witch who needs the moral soul or life force from each generation to continue to exist, and exact her vengeance every 15-25 years.
She gains power when the MC uses her power. So when the MC is only doing Divination, she can only use divination magic. When the MC saves a life, the ghost can take one.
Her goals change as the MC acts and changes over the course of the book.
Q5. Are you setting this in the real world or a second world? Why have you chosen that? Do you want to pull from a lot of real world technology, culture, etc. or make it all up on your own?
It's a time travel adventure with supernatural elements, so alternate real world. Alternate History, I think is the technical term? "Magical Realism" is a term that defines most of my writing.
Q6. Summarize the premise of your novel the best you can. Examples might be: Boy and Girl fall in love despite family feud. Heroes save the world from evil overlord. Boy goes to school to learn to fight aliens and learns he had been fighting them the whole time.
Nana Kuo is a high school grad taking her gap year in Shanghai. Her family is haunted by a ghost that grants them magical powers, and wreaks chaos across the world whenever she uses that power.
Yunru Shen is the fourth lotus prince, forgotten by the mythos, as nobody cared when he went to the underworld to save his brothers. He's been overshadowed by his older brother Nezha, his friends Red Boy and the Monkey King, and fully believes in the nationalist and communist revolutions in 1925 Shanghai, and is determined to liberate China from the past.
When Nana Kuo is transported a century back in time, and warns about massacres, wars, and destruction, these two fight about the nature of power and when you have to do something, and when you have to not.
Q7. What sort of twists in the plot could you use, if you haven't figured it out yet? Which sort of plot twist tropes do you love and want to play around with this time?
There's a twist to the ghost's identity and motivation which will be fun to reveal in the third act. I also enjoy the hidden in plain sight villain, and the puppet master.
Q8. Do you have any secondary characters who have already come forward in your idea generating sessions? Do you think they have any fun subplots with them? Does the sidekick aim to help the hero save the world by defeating a mini-boss who is plaguing his town? Is the best friend of the female main character about to get married, but she needs the FMC to serve as a date for the best man?
I have a lot of ideas for secondary characters, but I'm also trying to not go mainstream with them. I'm looking for obscure folklore to use, as one of two settings in the book is going to be a supernatural segment of Yu Gardens in Shanghai, where troublesome malcontents or misfits hang out. So I have a sense of the mentor, the friend, and others, but I'm trying to look at the sense of who wouldn't be in heaven by then. Also, have people adjacent to historical figures in the books, but not the figures themselves.
Q9. What is the hardest part of finding time to write? Identifying it now will make it easier to find solutions.
Um, COVID-19. I work during the day, and have most of my creative ideas during the work day. After work, I'm completely burnt out, and don't have the mental energy to do the gymnastics needed to untangle my story and start writing.
Q10. What is your favorite quote to turn to when you're having trouble with writing?
I have two:
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, and I really wish somebody had told this to me.
All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But it's like there is this gap. For the first couple years that you're making stuff, what you're making isn't so good. It’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not that good.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you're making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. They quit.
Everybody I know who does interesting, creative work they went through years where they had really good taste and they could tell that what they were making wasn't as good as they wanted it to be. They knew it fell short. Everybody goes through that.
And if you are just starting out or if you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Do a huge volume of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week or every month you know you're going to finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you're going to catch up and close that gap. And the work you're making will be as good as your ambitions.
I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It takes awhile. It’s gonna take you a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just have to fight your way through that.
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." --Theodore Roosevelt
Post by khelessindarae on Apr 21, 2020 13:35:01 GMT -5
Ok, so now that I'm in the right place, let's POWER THROUGH!
Q1. Everyone knows the first step of packing your clothing for a trip is choosing what suitcase you're going to stuff them all inside. Similarly, before you can start to build the insides of your main character, you should have an idea of their outer shell. Tell us about your main character's appearance and fashion!
Nana Kuo is Chinese American, and grew up between Oregon and Shanghai. She's also young and hip, so she manages to thread the line of fashionable between two cultures. She favors the bright colors and showing off her legs, but the porcelain skin is the result of growing up in a rainy state, instead of any desire to be pale. Growing up in the outskirts of a major city, she knows fashion, but skews towards comfort over painful beauty.
Her American mom gave her certain assets, but it also came with a taller frame and thicker lines. So while she could be considered beautiful if she put the effort into her appearance, she doesn't feel it. And as she walks slumped over and insecure, she's only shortchanging herself.
Yunru Shen is the fourth lotus prince, known colloquially as the "death prince." Partly because fourth sounds similar to death, but mostly because his footnote in history is that he went into the underworld to save his brothers' souls. Due to being the unknown out of a celestial celebrity family, he's sullen. He's got sharp, pointed features, a well defined face, and very classically handsome...if he smiles at you, that is. He's very taken with the Westernization of the city, and enjoys suits and uniforms. He spent millennia being the proper celestial prince in robes, and now he's DOWN with the monarchy and DOWN with heaven! (Psst: he forgot the monarchy ended in 1912, he just enjoys the protesting and liberation and western styles)
Rebekah Dalton is a 325 year old ghost with white blue hair, wearing white dresses and hair styles at least 200 years out of date. She does a lot better at blending into 1925 Shanghai than Nana does, as she gradually gains corporeal form over the course of the book, and spitefully tutors Nana into making more gaffes than she could have.
Q2. Some people are perfectionists when they pack and some throw things in without any rhyme or reason. Both can be considered a bad habit, depending on your perception. Which way would your main character fall and does it benefit them, or hinder them?
Nana packs the bare necessities. If she needs anything more, she can buy it. Travel light, there's lots of stairs and not a ton of elevators, she's learned from experience.
Yunru is used to summoning what he needs with a snap or a request to a servant. When he gets cut off from heaven, he gets rather petulant. Add to the fact Nana refuses to obey him, and well. He's not just fuming he can't have his persimmons the second he wants them, anymore.
Q3. As your main character zips up their suitcase, they consider how dark it is inside and it takes them to an interesting place. What is their darkest memory and how has it shaped their personality or world view?
Nana remembers the church fire that took her mother, the whispered rumors about the family curse, and finally, her necklace burning her on the plane as she traveled to Shanghai. She knows she needs to be careful, watchful. Anything she does might lead to death and destruction--her own, or those around her.
Yunru remembers coming out of the valley of death, watching his father sweep them up to heaven, his father turning his back on him--and his brother's sorrowful look, as he was left behind, after finally being of use. Yunru is done with rules and honor.
Q4. Oh no! Your main character almost forgot the most important thing! What one thing would they carry with them all of the time?
Nana carries her tarot cards, Yunru his dagger of fate.
Q5. As your main character has finished packing their belongings and is ready to go, they reflect on the trip ahead of them. Why does this journey matter to them personally and why are they going?
Nana is cautiously hopeful of a new start. A new continent, ghosts are usually landlocked, right? Maybe she can break free, and figure out who she is. Sure, she's still half, but she's done trying to be the American daughter.
Yunru has a new tool to use. He is going to force the universe to recognize him. They wouldn't welcome him into Heaven, well then, this demi god is going to re-arrange the powers that be, and set himself up as a new folk hero.