Abandonment Party 3: Chapter 9 (First Draft)

IMG_1170 As the characters in my story split up into groups I have one thing I need to keep in mind: Are they getting along? Now, I don’t mean “are they all happy pals having fun?” What I’m saying is “are their interactions with each other interesting?”

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You said it, Genis from Tales of Symponia! Just because you think Zelos is shallow, rude, and wears a peach vest doesn’t mean he’s bad for the story! A character in the right place can spice up the dialog for everyone. Of course, here in Abandonment Party 3, every character isn’t quite where they need to be yet; I’m still trying out different groupings. Does Jelk work well with Tenny and Darrow? If he does––great! If he doesn’t, well, I’ll erase all his lines in the next draft. I’ll strike him from the story! POW!

Or I’ll just stick him somewhere else. Now is the time for experimentation. Matt, don’t wait for the draft to end! If you think something isn’t working, you’d better tell me now! Should Vornis be with the others? Should Eon take Tenny’s place? Does Pinada need to come back to life and hang out with everyone for no reason!? TELL ME! Continue reading

Abandonment Party 3: Chapter 7 (First Draft)

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I talked to my friend Kim a few days ago. She says she’s stuck on writing chapter six of her book. I keep telling her about my “put down any nonsensical idea you think of” method but I don’t think she has the hang of it yet. She says she wants to get it right the first time. Where’s the fun in that? But I can’t bear to see a friend in trouble so I looked online for the best advise about first drafts I could find. Quotes from the finest authors in all of history! Take a look at what I found, Kim:

The first draft of anything is shit.” – Ernest Hemingway

This is the one that came up most. I call my first drafts crappy, but there’s still the glimmer of excellence within. A budding potential! Sorry, Ernest, but you’ve crossed the line this time. And stop swearing on my site!

I don’t write a quick draft and then revise; instead, I work slowly page by page, revising and polishing.” – Dean Koontz

Wow, this guy sounds more your style, Kim. I’ve never read any of his novels, but they’re always next to Stephen King’s at the book store so they must be finished at least!

No passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft.” – H. G. Wells

Ha,ha, no kidding man! Some guy read your stuff and thought that it needed more Tom Cruise! Kim, hurry up and finish so I can tell you what to change!

I hate first drafts, and it never gets easier. People always wonder what kind of superhero power they’d like to have. I wanted the ability for someone to just open up my brain and take out the entire first draft and lay it down in front of me so I can just focus on the second, third, and fourth drafts.” – Judy Blume

Stop daydreaming about fantastic scenarios and get to writing, you slacker! I want another Fudge sequel!

I don’t fiddle or edit or change while I’m going through that first draft.” – Nora Roberts

Good advice. Now edit your quote so you don’t include three verbs that mean the exact same thing.

Normally I do a first draft using pen and paper, and then do my first edit when I type it onto my computer.” – J. K. Rowling

Oh, brilliant, J.K. I can see why you’re the queen.

That’s all for now, Kim; I’ll look up more quotes later. Ponder these authors’ sagely words and tell me how it goes.

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Abandonment Party 3: Chapter 6 (First Draft)

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Okay! I finally got the first book up on the site. It’s over there on that list to the right on the main page. Now people won’t have to go through the hassle of clicking through the LeanPub site, downloading it, and setting it up on whatever eReader they use. I didn’t anticipate that it would even BE a hassle, but now I realize that everyone may not have the technological know-how to drag a file into iTunes.

So there it is! All eighty-one thousand words in one browser page! You’re welcome and Happy Independence Day! I am blessed to live in a land where people are free to write novels and put them up on their sites for a handful of people to read! Continue reading

Abandonment Party 3: Chapter Five (First Draft)

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In these chapters I’m having several stories progress simultaneously. This is challenging for a few reasons: First of all, events that occur in one story effect the others. I will have to make sure these timelines match up.

Second, I want to make each story progress for a satisfying amount of time before I switch over to a different one. I hate it when the point of view keeps changing so fast that it seems as though nothing of importance is conveyed. Anyone keeping up with One Piece may know what I’m talking about; some chapters seem to do nothing but “check in” with the seven groups of people running around.

Fortunately for Oda, AUTHOR OF ONE PIECE!, he didn’t start doing this until his story had been running for fifteen years. I know the characters, I know the score, and I’m willing to wait it out as the master plan comes together.

I’m the same way when I’m writing; I would not want to pull this kind of stuff in book one. I think switching around between characters before you even know who they are is tedious. I’ve seen some authors do this, though! Can you believe that? There was this one time I started to read a book called A Game of Thrones. Every early chapter was about a different guy! I’d start to get invested in dude number one and then–BOOM! Perspective would switch to someone else. It would leave me hanging before I even had a reason to care about the person being left behind! I couldn’t stand being introduced to new characters only to switch just as things were getting good. I put that book down and went to play Baten Kaitos for the third time instead. Now THAT is a masterpiece of storytelling:

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I can only assume that everyone else who read that Thrones book felt the same way. That poor writer, whatever his name was. Continue reading

Abandonment Party 3: Chapter 4 (First Draft)

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Guess what I got my brother for his birthday!? I printed out all of Abandonment Party for him! Ha,ha,ha, who needs publishers, right? All I needed was a printer and two hundred pages of paper with holes pre-punched in the margins. Don’t worry–I got him REAL presents, too. It’s just that he said he won’t read my book in digital form. It hurts his eyes or something and he’s been begging me for a physical copy.

Which reminds me: I should put up the first book on the side margin over there. It seems that people I know are STILL too lazy to download it from Leanpub. For FREE. I even talked about it with my Grandma Smith and Aunt last week. They didn’t even want to read it! They wanted to wait for the movie! Can you believe that? Or have it read to them out loud. Guys! Words are beautiful! And punctuation, too. This is a work of art meant to be experienced in its written form!

But hey, let’s switch it around, huh? How about a film? Why watch Alien on a screen when we can just read the screenplay instead! Let’s try it:

"A L I E N"


FADE IN

SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE:

INT. ENGINE ROOM

Empty, cavernous.

INT. ENGINE CUBICLE

Circular, jammed with instruments.
All of them idle.
Console chairs for two.
Empty.

INT. OILY CORRIDOR - "C" LEVEL

Long, dark.
Empty.
Turbos throbbing.
No other movement.

INT. CORRIDOR - "A" LEVEL

Long, empty.

Wow, it must be so dull to be a screenplay writer. “Sometime in the future?” I guess you’re not allowed to add detail to your work when you can just get hundreds of special effects guys, sound effects crews, and actors to do it all for you. Hm, let’s see what the sequel looks like:

ALIENS

        FADE IN

        SOMETIME IN THE FUTURE - SPACE                            1

        Silent and endless.  The stars shine like the love of
        God...cold and remote.  Against them drifts a tiny chip
        of technology.

        CLOSER SHOT  It is the NARCISSUS, lifeboat of the
        ill-fated star-freighter Nostromo.  Without interior
        or running lights it seems devoid of life.  The PING
        of a RANGING RADAR grows louder, closer.  A shadow
        engulfs the Narcissus.  Searchlights flash on, playing
        over the tiny ship, as a MASSIVE DARK HULL descends
        toward it.

Hey, that one’s a little better! And it even has some theological commentary. What a bonus. Maybe I was a bit too harsh on my grandma; perhaps works of art CAN be enjoyed in mediums other than the one that the artist intended. Alright, it’s settled! If I’m offered thousands of dollars to make a film I WILL think about it.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past and Abandonment Party 3: Chapter 3 (First Draft)

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I was going to talk about how crappy this draft was––but shoot! You can just read it. Instead I want to discuss the ending of the new X-men film. Now, there will be spoilers. And just to make sure you know that there will be spoilers I have constructed a special “spoilers” header to tell you that they’re coming:

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There, isn’t that obnoxious and helpful? Don’t worry; at no point in any fictitious work does Batman chop Vegeta in half with Squall’s gunblade.

Now the ending. It is the ending that so many time travel stories have: one event in the past is changed and the “naughty” future is erased. Hey! That’s great, right? Well, yeah. But the problem is that SO much of what I’ve just experienced never occurred! And in the case of Days of Future Past entire FILMS just got erased! What in the world? I feel cheated! What weight do any of those events and deaths carry if they’re all retconned!?

Wolverine had to KILL Jean Grey in one of the movies. But now she’s alive! That dramatic scene where Wolvy was the only one that could slay his out-of-control dream girl? Pffffft. Gone. Now he gets tied up by Magneto and dumped in a river.

THIS is why I wrote Abandonment Party 2 the way that I did: I wanted a different kind of time travel story. I wanted everything that the reader experienced to matter.

I still enjoyed X Men: Days of Future Past. And despite my complaining, I still nodded and smiled when I saw ol’ Cyclops again. And young Magneto is an amazing villain. Why didn’t they have his theme music from X Men: First Class, though!? I use it in my playlists and I wanted some more variations!! Curses! Curses!

Hear that? When you levitate a frickin’ baseball stadium and slam it into the White House THAT is the music you need to be playing! >:(

Oh, right, the draft. Here’s chapter three. Continue reading

Abandonment Party 3: Chapter 2 (First Draft)

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Kim, I notice you haven’t sent me any of your sure-fire publishing tips yet. What’s wrong? Is it because I make constant jokes at your expense? No, it can’t be that. Ah! I see. We’re on the internet, right? I keep forgetting how things are done in this age of “tweets” and “likes” and all that crap.

::clears throat:: Kim, please tell me your most worthy secrets! I will gladly check your Twitter at https://twitter.com/byKimAHoward for any advice! Or perhaps you can tell me all about what you’ve learned on your amazing blog over at http://kimberlyahoward.com! I also liked your Facebook page and sent five dollars to your Paypal account.

I’ll shut up now before I lose all hope of receiving a real answer, ha,ha. On to chapter 2!

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Abandonment Party 3: Chapter 1 (First Draft)

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Well! It seems my offhand comment about not knowing anything about publishing has drawn some attention. Kim, my silly but dear friend, has offered to teach me what she’s learned!

Of course, I still believe that writing is fun no matter what other people think of it. Even if no one ever buys my work I will still write! I will write until every story I want to tell is completed! As it says in Ecclesiastes 9:5 –

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.”

See that, Kim? Some day we’ll be dead! And it doesn’t matter if a publisher has printed our work or not–if we haven’t written our stories by the time we die then they will never be finished! And it’s not like I’ll want to sit down and write in Heaven. Are you kidding me? I’m going to be playing Diablo with Moses. I’ll bet his Witch Doctor is pretty geared up.

So enough delays! Let the crappy first draft of chapter one of Abandonment Party 3 begin! Continue reading

Music: The Thrilling Finale

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I’ve already admitted that I listen to a playlist of music to inspire my writing; I have songs to represent certain chapters and scenes. What I haven’t admitted is that I listen to the “finale” songs about twice as much as the others. And I probably think about the books’ endings twice as much too.

Is this unproductive behavior? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I believe that focusing on the goal helps spur the earlier writing along. As long as the goal is FANTASTIC and EXCITING, that is. If the ending isn’t worthy of the trip then why bother? Yeah, you heard me! “The journey is the reward?” C’mon, why stop there? Not only should the journey be a reward but the end as well!

Now let’s get to the four songs, and I promise: only ONE is from a Final Fantasy game.

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Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 28 (Second Draft)

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I just realized something: This might be a good time to talk about story endings! Or rather, MY story endings! Sorry, Animal Farm.

But George Orwell knows I’ve been disappointed by endings before. I wanted to make an ending that’s engaging. But how? I was concerned about this when I wrote the ending for the first book. I mean, the climax is done; the best part is over, right? What’s left to do? Have everyone talk about what they’ve learned? End with a line of pure and utter wisdom?

Yeah, some of that happened. But that doesn’t mean I have to leave all the conflict out. Why not make the aftermath a struggle? So that’s what I did: I had Mean and Dark struggle with the idea of his hidden identity. It was intense; I think they even spilled a soda.

I thought the scene worked so well I actually planned for it this time. Amazing stuff, this “experience.” Now THIS ending has struggles everywhere: King blames Mean for what happened to Parlay; Tome is suspicious about Dark; Darrow has a bit of a rivalry with Tenny.

But every conflict is quickly resolved or smoothed over with humor. I can’t leave the reader with an ominous feeling.

Not yet, anyway.

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