Abandonment Party 3: Chapter 14 (First Draft)

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It’s December again! That means it’s time for the holidays! Who has time for writing stories? After all, I have too many presents to beg for. And it takes forever to decorate my apartment with the two thousand paper snowflakes I collected from children while working at the daycare.

No, what am I thinking!? I must find time to write! I MUST! But I need some extra motivation this time of year. And you know what motivates me to write? Besides the endless fame and millions of fans, that is. Yes, that’s right! I need to look at other stories for inspiration! Fiction! For instance, I just went through my comic collection again. There’s noting like watching Superman “wrassle Metallo for the umpteenth time” to get the creative vibes going.

Not wanting to gorge myself on one medium, I went to see a film, too. It was the third part of the Hunger Games trilogy. And you want to know what I thought of it? Are you ready for my own in-depth Mockingjay: Part 1 review?

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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 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 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

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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Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 29 (First Draft)

The final chapter!?

Well, here it is: the final chapter of the book. It always seems so far away when I start a draft and see that empty folder with a lonely file named “Prologue.” But that’s how it gets done: I just work at it every day until I reach the goal. And before I know it a year has passed and I’m sitting at my desk staring at a folder full of literary goodness.

Man, this is inspirational stuff. I sure hope an uncertain kid stumbles upon this blog someday. He’ll be searching for his purpose in life and then he’ll read this. It’ll probably motivate him to go explore Mars or something. Continue reading

Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 21 (Second Draft)

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This chapter is filled with hateful dialog, uttered by the antagonist, Pinada. I believe writing such things is helpful to me, though. Yeah, you heard right. See, I get angry at people sometimes. People that have done horrible things. Or maybe they haven’t done anything much at all.

But every time I want to lash out at those people I reign it back. I think: “save it for the books.”

It’s another way for my writing to serve me: I’m able to channel my anger in a positive way, and I’m also able to make a believable villain. I can also observe how evil people are treated through the actions of my characters. It can serve as a reminder to what happens to people that decide to act out on their rage. If I’m in the real world and I ever feel that I’m starting to act like one of these villains, well, I know I need to shut up and walk away or else I’ll get a table dropped on my head. Continue reading

Abandonment Party 2: Chapter 22 (First Draft)

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Whenever I hear writers talk about making their stories there’s something that almost all of them mention: They know how it ends and they think about that part all the time. And that’s how I am, too; I’ve thought about these final chapters WAY more than the others.

And I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If I know my ending is amazing then I’ll do whatever it takes to make the journey to reach it worthwhile. It helped me through all those terrible first draft chapters with Templetine. Every time the situation seemed hopeless I knew I could look toward the ending to keep me on track.

I’ve heard some say that they like writing the ending first. I’m not sure I could ever do that. Sure, it is more fun now that I’m hitting the payoffs to all the character’s story lines. But experiencing the lead-up also puts the ending in perspective.

For as much as I THINK I’ve got the ending figured out, there are always those bits that wait until the entire story is written to emerge. Continue reading