This is topic Novel Support Group 7/12 - 7/18 in forum Hatrack Groups at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by Meredith (Member # 8368) on :
Welcome to this week's Novel Support Group. Anyone can join. If you're new, tell us a bit about who you are and what project you are working on. Feel free to update the NSG Work in Progress thread with your current projects. Although we can report on any number of things, here is a list of suggestions (suggestions welcomed).

What were your goals last week and did you accomplish them?
Describe what you worked on.
Set goals for next week.
Did you learn something during this week?

Here is a list of things that you can do each week as we work on our novels (suggestions welcomed).

Writing on a novel
World Building
Relevant research


As for me:

Last Week's Goals:

DUAL MAGICS SERIES: As time permits, go through the x-ray listings for the Dual Magics boxed set and THE BARD'S GIFT. This is here to remind me that eventually I need to get back to this.

BECOME: TO CATCH THE LIGHTNING/BECOME: TO RIDE THE STORM: Promote through social media. I now have two books on social media marketing. So . . . I need to schedule some time to read them.
Nope. [Frown]

MAGE STORM: Re-read the original version to try to get back into this, perhaps with a different slant.
Re-read completed. I think I have a clearer idea of what I need to do. Now let's see if I can get back to actually doing it. [Smile]

Update my blog twice a week.
Yes. [Smile]

Next Week's Goals:

As time permits, go through the x-ray listings for the Dual Magics boxed set and THE BARD'S GIFT. This is here to remind me that eventually I need to get back to this.

Promote through social media. I now have two books on social media marketing. So . . . I need to schedule some time to read them.

Re-start the rewrite.

Update my blog twice a week.
Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
Last week I gave a brief account about starting my first new novel in six years. Today I thought I might share the creation process I use as I develop this story. I may keep writing this ‘log’, if you want to use that term, until the process is finished or I just give up on posting about it. A distinct possibility if I get too caught up in my own processes. You may find some of my methods useful, or you may just ignore it all and find some other way to spend your time. My apologies for the length of this post, I felt I needed to set the scene and I can assure you that future posts will be a little shorter.

So, here we go. Most of what is written here is directly cut and pasted from my Creation Files. All I’ve done for these posts is add a little commentary where I feel it is needed. Oh, and I changed a few tenses to make it more readable.

Feedback or questions is/are welcome.

Working Title: Sunshine (It’s certainly not a bright and cheery story)
Main character: Susan (Just a place holder at the moment)
Genre YA (15+)

When I first came up with the idea for my ‘grass portal’ I tried to think of a way to use it in a story. I immediately imagined a young kid, Tommy, being banished to his grandfather’s property in the country and, bereft of any internet or mobile phone service, he wouldn’t know what to do with himself. Bored, he would wake in the very early hours of the morning and took to sneaking out of the house to wander the woods, seeing what he could see.

Stars. He hadn’t actually noticed them before. He also starting hearing the sounds of trucks in the distance going to and fro. One night, trying to investigate the source of the truck sounds, he came across a chain link fence. Reaching out to start the climb over it, a girl’s voice said in a loud whisper, “Don’t touch, it’s electrified.”

The girl’s name is Susan, and she has a secret she shares with Tommy; a mystery deep underground. A patch of green grass growing in bright sunlight where nothing should be. Tommy teases she’s just making it up and he doesn’t believe her. She challenges back, “Then come back tomorrow night and I’ll sneak you in. You’ll see I’m not making this up!”

To make a long and exciting ‘sneak’ story short, Susan and Tommy enter the chamber and Tommy sees Susan was right. There was--well I’m not going into an exact description here but I’m sure you can imagine something. Anywho, Susan tells Tommy the scientists studying this have found that only children can pass through the ‘thing’. Just as Susan reaches out to demonstrate, an adult’s arm reaches out from within the portal and, grabbing Susan’s wrist, drags her through. She disappears from Tommy’s sight.

And that’s where my thought processes stopped over a year ago when I first came up with the idea for this particular portal.

Time-slip to last week.

My story-mind exploded from it’s prison and went on an uncontrolled spree of creative inspiration, It didn’t start with any of the complete drafts of unfinished stories I have languishing in my files; no, it wanted fresh meat, and chose my grass portal. I reviewed what I already had (see above) and was pretty happy with it: It gave lots of scope to reveal Tommy’s character and to build up a nice interdependence between Tommy and Susan so that when Susan was snatched Tommy would jump through to the rescue with hardly a thought.

That brought up the first Editorial problem: Why would anyone build a portal which would only allow children from our world to pass through it, and, if it was to snatch the children for some purpose, what is that purpose?

As I was puzzling this out I got a nasty feeling in my gut. Little girl snatched by strange man: what for? While I’m all for dark stories for YA, I’m not for that sort of dark in stories--real life is enough. That’s when I had my first epiphany: Why stick with gender stereotyping: boy--hero, girl--damsel in distress. Let’s switch gender roles, that makes it interesting. Why not make it more interesting? That was my next thought. What wouldn’t the reader expect?

Tommy gets snatched and Susan runs away.

Ha! Now I have an opening worthy of me. But it still doesn’t answer the question: What do these ‘Snatchers’ want with our children? Finding this answer took about an hour. Did you know that a person with an O-negative blood type can donate to almost any recipient regardless of their own blood type? Such people are inappropriately called Universal Donors. I say inappropriately because, while it can be done, there are risks to the recipient--including death.

Still, if someone can magik a trans-dimensional portal, surely they can work out that little wrinkle. This idea led me down a creative garden path were I was imagining creating the hierarchy, status and social gravitas of the people who would harvest, store and dispense this ‘universal' blood type and what social structure would need such a blood type in the first place. But that’s milieu creation stuff and right now I’m only interested in the structural elements of the story.

I’ll leave it there for now; after all, all I’ve covered are my thoughts for Tuesday morning of last week. I’ve got a bit of catching up to do and it’s fun to write again, so please bear with me.

Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
I thought I should add this before some bright-light says, "Of course she ran away, she's a girl."

The gender of the character is irrelevant with regards to the action. By running away, the character is placed in a crucible of self evaluation: am I a coward? A character in crisis reveals a lot.

Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
I'd forgotten the frenetic pace with which I develop stories. Fresh-faced Susan has gone to a strange land, been nearly beaten to death by a widow while trying to nick some eggs, learnt how to speak the language, courtesy of the self-same woman, saved a boy on a runaway horse, killed her first man, passed her first witch-test, saved her first dame in distress and become an inadvertent bodyguard.

That brings you all up to date; about a 1/3 of the story. Now I'm forced to develop the world this all takes place in; a dark and nasty place.

Posted by WarrenB (Member # 10927) on :
Sounds fascinating, Phil – I'm no YA, but this I would like to read! When's it coming out? :-)
Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
It used to take about 7-8 months to go from first idea to submission manuscript. What with all I've learnt over the last couple of years, mainly here, I'd guess at 18 months nowadays. That's if my publisher remembers me..

Posted by Grumpy old guy (Member # 9922) on :
Apologies, Warren. I forgot to say thanks for your interest in a story barely begun. Wait a bit. You may not like what I do with it.


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