Drool on the Frog

Friday, November 16, 2007

NaNoWriMo: Exert 1

I'm absolutely buried with writing my novel. I'm about three days behind. That's 9500 words! It's much harder than I thought but I'm learning a lot and it is really fun. It's much easier if you're not concerned about getting published.
I don't have time to watch any movies or post here so I thought I'd torture you with an exert from the novel. It's really dreadful but it's worse when you know that it's probably one of the better parts. Proceed only if your literturary sensibilities are not fragile.

Working title: The Mad Osakazuki Five of Cal-Tech

Genre: Adventure


Seated on a stool, a tall dark haired man in a crisp white lab coat looks through a microscope. Ichi is stern, serious, and calculated. His colleague, Ni, stands next to him impatiently. Ni is much shorter, only able to reach eye level while his colleague is seated. In the background a small color television is tuned to a national news channel. "It's successful, isn't it?" Ni finally prods.

Ichi takes his time looking up and responding. Instead of looking at Ni he watches the events unfolding on the broadcast. "Yes. We've done it."

"Bonsai! It's good to finally hear you admit it. We've tested the damn thing enough." Unable to contain his energy he paces back and forth in a small zone around Ichi. Waving his arms, "Can we start development now?"

Ichi's gaze never leaves the television, "Calm down. We need a plan. And a conduit."

The words scrolling across the bottom of the news story tells the viewer of the groundbreaking taking place in New York, "We will be getting live feed in just moments of this historic occasion…".

Ni can barely contain himself, "But nothing can stop us now. This is fool proof! Our destiny is finally realized! We can exact our revenge"

"That always was your problem, Ni. You never calculate for the unexpected. Or in your typical, overblown sense of self-importance have you already worked out how we’re going to get this distributed globally without detection?"

As usual, Ni moves from point A to point Z in one stroke. He never learns. That's why Ichi was number one. "We'll drop it into rain clouds or use guided rockets over major cities or…" he trailed, his mind grasping at something that would dazzle Ichi and get things moving. "…or drop it into all major water systems."

The nationally popular female talking head can be heard commentating the unfolding events. On screen, the camera pans across hundreds of thousands of people, standing in the city streets, bundled against the cold, and waving small pale pink flags emblazoned with a green flower. "All of New York, and through this broadcast, the world, has turned out to witness the historic groundbreaking of the first totally green high rise building in downtown Manhattan. After years of planning and global coordination, the brain-child of London van Van is finally coming to life."

Ichi's apparent indifference to Ni's suggestions infuriated him. He was a major contributor to this project. Ichi couldn't have done it without him but Ichi ignored him, staring at the television as if he hadn't said a word. He didn't even give Ni the satisfaction of patronizing him.

"The Green Tulip is a seventy story, green reflective structure of beauty in architecture, nature, and diversity. Never has there been such a project that has united so many people in love, preservation, and cooperation since the Svalbard Global Seed Vault project."

Ni makes the mistake of grabbing Ichi's upper arm, "Are you listening to me?"

"And the center of all that love and cooperation is the one everyone calls the first green ambassador, London van Van with his partner, Arie Visser."

Driving Ni into submission was as simple as standing up, which Ichi did slowly while making steady, strong eye contact with Ni. The result was predictable. Ni dropped his hand as if dead weight and made a hesitant step backwards. "Yes. That's how we'll do it. The water systems. Covert, hard to detect the origin, and it will get to the source immediately. Well done, Ni." Ni blinked, stunned at the approval. How could Ichi so easily make him feel like he was trying to gain approval from his father? Turning back to the television, "And I also believe we've found our conduit."

The camera now zooms in on a tall blond man with a disarming smile dressed in a brown coat. The crowd goes wild as he waves in response to their accolades. The commentator lilts, "Some say it's time to make van Van a true ambassador for the world."

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Sandra Glahn Blog Tour

I am pleased to be able to host writer and friend, Sandra Glahn, on a Blog Tour for her new novel, Informed Consent.

I'll let Sandi describe the story herself:
Jeremy Cramer, the next Einstein of research, is a medical resident specializing in infectious diseases. While working on a way to revive water submersion victims, he makes surprising discoveries, while also living with massive guilt over incidental infections that occur (which he could have prevented). Even as his marriage teeters, his career continues to skyrocket. Then, with a few twists along the way, he finds everything he has fought for threatened by the most personal, most heart-wrenching, choices of all.
What I find most compelling is how far into the head of the main character, Dr. Jeremy Cramer, the story is written. As the reader you can see how his guilt controls his drive and decisions in a way in which he is completely blind. It's not just a straight forward, spectator telling of the story but also a psychological one. There's a low grade level of grief in which the reader follows Dr. Cramer, yearning for him to be absolved.

In the middle of Sandi's busy book touring schedule, I was able to ask her a few questions about her book and writing.

You have a lot of cultural diversity in your characters. What determines that?
I teach at a campus where more than 30 percent of our students are minorities. My niece and nephew are African American. One of my best friends is from Japan. So diversity is part of the way I think now. It wasn't as much an overt choice to include them as a natural one that reflected my own world.

Have you ever imagined who might play your characters if your book was made into a movie?
I've actually had contacts from a couple of movie producers (I'll believe it when they show me the money), but I don't dare let my imagination go this wild! On second thought, oh why not? We could start with Jeremy played by Sonjay Gupta from CNN and Devin played by Regina King (the wife of Will Smith's character in Enemy of the State).

Loved Regina King in Legally Blond 2!

How do you write your characters? Do you have to somewhat "be" them to write them or do you imagine them as people outside of yourself?

My characters are all conglomerations of characteristics I've noticed in others. There's no one-to-one correlation between a character and someone I know, but each character has something of someone familiar. Of course they also do reflect part of myself in that I can give them some of my desires and pet peeves and certainly my opinions! (I have plenty of those.)

Have you ever heard of National Novel Writing Month where you write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days?
I had not heard of it until you mentioned it. Wow. You go girl! I have never written a novel in less than nine months! More power to ya!

Yea. It's a crazy idea.

Part of the madness is to spill out 50,000 words non-stop and get the bulk of the story down and then go back and edit. How much editing do you do along the way of the writing process? Do you try to keep yourself from pouring over previous chapters?

I think this is key. The first draft is the hardest, and the way to get around writers block is to "turn off" the editor and just get it all down on paper/the screen. Let the creator (rather than the editor) rule before fixing anything if you can, and you'll move much faster. I go through seven or eight drafts before I send a manuscript to the publisher, but the most time-consuming is the first. I write a chapter and then edit it. I wish I could write in bigger blocks than that! Editing is necessary but it can really slow you down!

Yea! My editor just will not stay in his cage.

What was the word and page count for "Informed Consent"?

The story came to 342 pages in print. But I never think in terms of pages when I write, only words. I shoot for about 10K words per chapter. This book came to more than 95,000 words, which was over the count my publisher gave me, but once they read the ending, they let me keep most of the words I had. To make the ending as fast-paced as it is, the reader has to understand a lot of background.

I'm struggling with my story for NaNoWriMO! I haven't written fiction since high school. Any words of encouragement?
Let the creator out and don't let the editor's mind tell it, "That's dumb" or "that's crazy." If you still think it's dumb or crazy in a few days, you can nix what you wrote, but let that editor's mind run free for draft one. You'll probably end up having interesting dreams at night because the creative mind goes into overdrive. To me that's the great fun of writing a novel! You get to speak and worlds appear. Imagine how cool it must be for the Creator to have thought something and spoken it into being and instead of existing only on paper and in the imagination it appeared in solid form! Ex nihilo! You will get a tiny taste of how cool that must have been because you were made in the image of the Almighty. Enjoy yourself!

Thanks Sandi!

More on Sandra Glahn
Her Blog
Her Web Site
Her Fiction
Her Non-fiction

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Friday, November 02, 2007

NaNoWriMo: Limpy Start

This writing stuff is hard!

Our NaNoWriMo writing group meets on Thursdays and Saturdays at Krankies to hammer out 1,667 words of our novel. So far, everyone in our group is doing better than expected. Everyone has meet their daily count... except me!

I am not a natural story teller so I think I'm approaching this more like a technical writer and it's killing my daily output. Above all I want to enjoy this so I'm going to keep plugging away and see if I can discover a new way to write that gives me freedom.

I have discovered that I like writing dialog more than describing settings and surroundings. I will write out the entire conversation (I can see and hear the whole thing in my head), and then go back and interject descriptions of the action and setting. It's working so far for me. Slow, but at least I'm getting words down.

Our friend ValetBoy began work on a new script. I was so tickled when he let me read it. It was really great. He offered to read mine and I could have rolled on the floor laughing. What I'm writing isn't really readable. It's more like someone's regurgitated ramblings. What a mess!

I do have a working title though I don't think it will stick:
The Mad Osakazuki Five of Cal-Tech

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