Monday, October 17, 2011

Monday is having issues with Deliverance

Hello, girls! It's Monday!

So, Peter Pan  has closed, and the kids have given me their throat and nose crud, and I am actually scarcely less busy than I was, as my two acting classes have, predictably, both reached the point where they are ready for their script -- at the same time. At least it's not three scripts in a week like last year?

Actually, I've got a little leeway on the one, and it doesn't technically have to be finished until the end of next week. But I really want to get them both done before the end of October because of what I'm going to talk about for my JAB week.


For those of you who may not know what NaNoWriMo is (I know Alexandra mentioned it a few weeks back, but I can't remember if she explained it or not), it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the goal is to write an entire novel (or at least 50,000 words of one) in the 30 days of November. Sounds daunting, sure, but when you break it down, the total word count per day is less than 2,000 -- 1,667 to be precise. Which may still sound pretty daunting, but hey.

Last year was my first time participating, and I won, though I had the extra incentive of having the full, finished novel due for a class in the first week of December. This year, I don't have that. I just have all my writing buddies on the NaNo site to help keep me responsible and on track.

The problem is, I knew exactly what I was going to write this year. I was finally going to take the fantasy epic that started forming itself in my head when I was 15, reconfigure all the ideas that were cheesy, signs of an immature writer, or epic fantasy cliche, and actually sit down and write the thing. That was my plan. I talked in all the forums about my future book, Seeking Word and Melody, about a music-magician named Shannon  who has to help save her kingdom from destruction (it was going to be better and less-cliched than that sounds, I promise).

And then in walked Deliverance (I am fully aware, yes, of the irony of her name in this situation). Deliverance is causing major problems in my plan.

I should take a moment to explain that I approach writing with the philosophy that the characters I write about are not entirely my own creation. Every bout of writer's block I have struggled with has come about because I was trying to force a story to do what I thought it should do rather than let it unfold on its own or let the characters speak for themselves. I often joke about having conversations or arguments with my characters, but it isn't far from the truth in terms of how I approach unfolding a story. As a storyteller, I'm given a glimpse, a peek, and then it's up to me to probe at it and unfold it and figure out the story that has come to me to be told. I am not, in other words, in control really at all. This first peek can be anything from an opening line to a particular situation to a certain scene to, most often, a character.

Which brings us back to Deliverance.

Deliverance is one of the twelve dancing princesses of fairy tale fame. I have long loved this story and long wanted to do something with it, but I could never figure out how to get a handle on it. Then Deliverance walks in and tells me, "My sisters and I go dancing every night and wear through our dancing shoes. They don't remember any of it the next morning, but I do. I don't know why, and I haven't told anyone. And also, I'm not the oldest or the youngest of us. I'm number eight, right in the middle, and nothing exciting was ever supposed to happen to me."

And I got very excited. Because I love the original story, and this was an intriguing look at it, and so I turned away from Shannon (because the thought of sitting down and writing my epic opus of a story after eight years when I still don't really know how to "fix" it or focus it was starting to become legitimately panic-inducing) and I said, "Okay! Tell me more!"

And then Deliverance got frustratingly silent. Slowly, but surely, I have begun picking apart the basis for this adaptation,  but it is slow going, especially when I start to realize that I'm taking elements from other adaptations that I've read and really liked, and the whole thing would be much easier if Deliverance (or, hey, one of her sisters, I'm not picky) would just start talking again and let me know whether or not I'm on the right track.

So we'll see where that goes.

Let me know if any of you are participating in NaNo this year! We can check in on each other throughout the month of November!

And in case anyone was wondering, that was about 900 words! Less than 1000 more and I'd have my word count! :)

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