notebook #4 for my current wip
I’ve been playing with characters for a new YA story since April. About six weeks ago, I started to play with a draft. Last month at writing group, Ruth helped me think through the structure of my story. It was giving me fits and we finally realized it’s a story told from two voices — and with flashbacks. Ruth insisted that I let Krums, a teenage boy, into my head to help tell the story.
It was painful, but I did it. For a month I’ve had a teenage guy talking to me, telling me his side of things. At one point, this showed up in my notebook (it’s from Sophia) —
|Straight from Soph’s heart and into my notebook.|
Last Thursday our writing group met again. Ruth and I had the following conversation (She’s an actual person…this isn’t a conversation with myself. Here’s her blog for proof — but don’t be fooled by the sweet persona. She is more like an evil drill sergeant.):
Vicious Ruth: You are writing a love story.
Me: I. Am. Not.
Incessant Ruth: You are too. You have two main characters, a boy and a girl, and a couch. It’s a love story.
Me: Is not.
Brutal Ruth: If you want it to be more than fluff you have to dig into their back stories. The stuff you wrote about Sophia’s past was powerful. There’s more there.
Me: No there’s not. That was the only horrible thing that happened in her life.
Ruthless Ruth: You’re lying. It’s not going to be easy, but you know there’s more there.
Me: Major eye roll. It’s not a love story.
Atrocious Ruth: It is a love story, but it’s more. You need to dig into Krums’ history too.
Me: I let him into my head, what more do you want?
Relentless Ruth: You need to listen to before to understand who he is now. And I’m not surprised you found him to be sensitive.
Me: Sigh. Then a bigger sigh.
Unreasonable Ruth: Just write the back story. It doesn’t mean it’ll be in the book, but I think you need to know it so you can write the kind of story you want it to be.
Me: What if I don’t want to know their histories. I’m afraid it’ll hurt too much.
Sinister Ruth: Then don’t do it and write a fluffy love story.
Me: It’s not a love story.
Ghastly Ruth: It is a love story, but you can make it more. Just let them tell you their back stories.
Me: Maybe I’ll give up.
Why-I-listen-to-her Ruth: No you won’t. You can’t leave them where they are. Besides you need to write this story. Not only that, but you can write this story. First you need to dig into Krums and Sophia’s pasts, though.
That night, after writing group, at 11:18 pm, I started a notebook just to record Krums & Soph’s back stories. Here are the first two pages (and probably the only pages I’ll share out of it).
|First page of writer’s notebook #4.|
|Either write now or write later…I might as well get started!|
Less than a week of listening to their back stories and I’m already gaining more of a vision for the draft. I can see how the past and the present are woven together. I think I might have the smartest, extremely brilliant, and amazing crit partner on the face of the earth. (Of course, she had to be a little atrocious first…but I imagine that’s what makes her so remarkable.)