Connor's Writing Log

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Connor B

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2015
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As you all know, I'm an aspiring writer. I've finished the first draft of a novel, and that was in December. I'm working on the first draft of another whenever I get the opportunity, as well as some shorts. The biggest problem I have, in my opinion, is that I'm such a rabid perfectionist I can't accomplish anything. Most of the time, I struggle writing posts on Internet forums out of fear that what I might say may come out wrong. Verbally, I'm a good conversationalist. When it comes to prose, however, I'm a nervous wreck. Whenever my fingers start hitting the keyboard, my heart starts racing. I'm afraid that I'll slip up and write garbage, be it on a thread or on Microsoft Word.

I already feel as if I am starting to repeat myself. My thoughts race. My fingers are constantly hitting the wrong keys, so I have to press the BACKSPACE button A LOT. My hands shake. This is what it's like when I'm trying to write anything on my computer. I'm stuck with two terrible options: I can either write nothing or write something almost Lovecraftian in its badness. If I do nothing I'll be perceived as weak, a coward. If I take the latter route, people will hate me.
 

Dana Jean

Moderator
Moderator
Apr 11, 2006
49,394
211,867
Thornfield
Nobody will hate you for that. If they are going to hate you because of that, they have some real issues they need to seek professional help with.

I am terrible about verbally vomiting stuff faster than my fingers can type. It's a strange thing. My mind is ahead of my fingers, I think my fingers have picked up what I want, but that isn't always the case. I have to proofread a lot and even then, my mind will fill in the blanks of wrongness with rightness. I'll post something and come back later and wonder how the heck anyone understands a word I say. Or maybe they don't, even when I get it right.;;D
 

Connor B

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2015
747
4,009
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Well, looking on the bright side, I at least got an extremely rough draft of that nightmare Redesigning Eva done. As much as I think it could be a good throwback to 1980's teen-centered horror thrillers, working on it was absolute hell. I had no idea of the plot, the characters were disobeying me, I had no overall thematic understanding, and little by little, I went bonkers. Initially it was going to be kind of a futuristic Blade Runner type story, then it turned into an action story, then finally, it became a psychological thriller set in the present with a sci-fi plot device. It kept mutating, like some Cronenberg abomination.

Anyway, I'm going to work on the second draft of it during the winter. It's a fitting season, really. A lot of Eva was born out of my experiences in high school and my struggles with depression. At least now, I'm looking forward to working on it. I'm not afraid anymore.
 

Connor B

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2015
747
4,009
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I apologize for double posting, but to emphasize how screwed up Eva is, I was actually doing research on real-life serial killers and criminal profiling. To those of you who don't know, I'll summarize the plot as quickly as I can to provide context. Basically, the story concerns Eva, a high school senior/"basket case" and former Nancy Drew type haunted by her capture of a teenage serial killer/prodigy, Dr. Klaus Krieger. Anyway, the corporation that took Krieger into custody years ago wants Eva's help. They're cooperating with the LAPD to hunt down a serial killer who is targeting pretty teen girls. Dr. Krieger, who is currently conducting research with a new kind of human enhancement procedure (under strict supervision, of course!), is refusing to give answers. Long story short, our Ringwaldian heroine volunteers for Krieger's experiment, transforming from basket case to princess. Now, to find the serial killer, she has to reenter the mind of the boy who nearly ruined her life.

I was definitely inspired by Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter books, and of course, 80's teen and horror/thrillers.
 

skimom2

Just moseyin' through...
Oct 9, 2013
15,675
92,054
USA
If you're gonna write, you're gonna write crap. If you refuse to drop a literary deuce now and again, you are in the wrong business. That's what first drafts are for. First drafts are word vomit; you know how when you feel sick, sometimes you just want to throw up and get it over with? That's a first draft. You're getting it out.

Then the real work starts.

After you've given the story a while to lie fallow and become almost alien to you (in other words, you give yourself time for a little objectivity about your baby), you take that mother and beat it into submission. You check story continuity, you hit deeper research; some writers get into storyboarding (which I think works wonderfully with action books) to make sure all characters are present, accounted for, and action is coherent. You look at your GMC--goals, motivations, and conflicts--for each character. Is there a reason for your character, action, scene, or is it just 'sound and fury, signifying nothing'? Be ruthless. Cut to the bone--stuff can always be added in your next draft (and you can count on at least three for a submittable novel) to flesh out what needs to be more meaty. Look at publishing reality, as well: what is the average word count for new novels in your genre? There is the rare person who skirts those, but they're few and far between.

Finally, know what you're writing and why. This sounds simplistic, but it really isn't. If you have no idea why your story should exist, neither will your readers. Doesn't mean that every story/book has to have a deeper meaning or highfalutin' themes; what it means is that your story should have a reason to exist--something it does or says differently than anyone else could do/say it. Homages are fine (where it sounds like your story exists), but it should be in your individual voice.

Good luck.
 

Connor B

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2015
747
4,009
25
If you're gonna write, you're gonna write crap. If you refuse to drop a literary deuce now and again, you are in the wrong business. That's what first drafts are for. First drafts are word vomit; you know how when you feel sick, sometimes you just want to throw up and get it over with? That's a first draft. You're getting it out.

Then the real work starts.

After you've given the story a while to lie fallow and become almost alien to you (in other words, you give yourself time for a little objectivity about your baby), you take that mother and beat it into submission. You check story continuity, you hit deeper research; some writers get into storyboarding (which I think works wonderfully with action books) to make sure all characters are present, accounted for, and action is coherent. You look at your GMC--goals, motivations, and conflicts--for each character. Is there a reason for your character, action, scene, or is it just 'sound and fury, signifying nothing'? Be ruthless. Cut to the bone--stuff can always be added in your next draft (and you can count on at least three for a submittable novel) to flesh out what needs to be more meaty. Look at publishing reality, as well: what is the average word count for new novels in your genre? There is the rare person who skirts those, but they're few and far between.

Finally, know what you're writing and why. This sounds simplistic, but it really isn't. If you have no idea why your story should exist, neither will your readers. Doesn't mean that every story/book has to have a deeper meaning or highfalutin' themes; what it means is that your story should have a reason to exist--something it does or says differently than anyone else could do/say it. Homages are fine (where it sounds like your story exists), but it should be in your individual voice.

Good luck.
Thank you very much, skimom2 !
 

Connor B

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2015
747
4,009
25
Might have mentioned this already, but I'm working on the first draft of another novel, Alphaboy. It's a lot more upbeat than Eva. Whereas that one was a psychological horror story, this one could be described as my love letter to two things I loved as a kid: old school action movies (especially the kind with Arnold, Bruce Willis and Sly) and comic books. I work on it whenever I get the chance, because I'm going to be busy the next several weeks of this short semester reading All Quiet on the Western Front and doing a review of it.
 

Connor B

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2015
747
4,009
25
I feel that, by coming back this site, a lot of positive energy has been restored. I want to put it to some good use. From now on, every day, I'm going to post about something I've written that day, be it fiction or school-related. I'm currently taking a Western Civilization class at my local college, and I'm reading All Quiet on the Western Front for a book review. Given that the semester is only ten weeks long, it's a top priority. Once that class is over, I'll probably get back to working on my current WIP novel Alphaboy, and in the closing months of the year, I'll (hopefully) churn out a second draft of Redesigning Eva. I'll also be regularly writing short stories. Believe me, they're quicker and easier to write than full-blown novels.
 

Connor B

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2015
747
4,009
25
You know, I hope to write a play for my old high school drama teacher. She's part of the reason I became a writer in the first place, and a big inspiration. I was thinking, considering her productions put a lot of emphasis on costume and set design, Alphaboy would work better on stage than in prose. It's very action-filled, with crazy outfits and monsters... I doubt I can pull off some of the stuff I want to accomplish with it in the form of a novel.
 

Connor B

Well-Known Member
May 24, 2015
747
4,009
25
I may not have explained/described the actual plot of my current WIP Alphaboy, so here I go. I've taken the liberty of adding music and casting choices for the characters to give off an 80s/90s action movie vibe.
Henry Thomas provides the physical template for the titular character, a fourteen year old high school freshman named Sean Gillespie. The son of legendary superhero Alphaman, Sean was adopted on the night of his birth by the Gillespies after they found on his doorstep. He has Superman-like powers, a strong sense of moral justice, and plenty of attitude. Whenever there's trouble he dons a suit of armor his birth father left behind.
Tommy Lee-Jones as Zauzer, the superpowered, possibly immortal, and downright bonkers leader of a terrorist cult out to plunge the world into a nihilistic dystopia. Having kept tabs on Sean throughout his life, his ultimate goal is not to destroy the Alphaboy, but to corrupt him. Turn him over to the Dark Side, so to speak. His master plan is to detonate a biochemical weapon in a baseball stadium during a Major League playoff, transforming the occupants into monsters to serve his bidding.
James Woods is Joe Gillespie, Sean's adoptive father. A cynical, shell-shocked former Special Forces operative, he's seen the worst, and lost his optimism in the process. Despite his gloomy outlook, gruff demeanor, and perpetual smoking, he's nonetheless a good father.
Cher is Sean's absolutely doting adoptive mother Mary, an E.R. nurse with exceptional cooking and driving skills.
Brian Dennehy is Sheriff Ben Phillips, the father of love interest Lisa. He's initially suspicious of our hero, but warms up to him.
Alyssa Milano is the spunky love interest, Lisa. She's kidnapped by Zauzer, setting off the plot.
Malcolm Jamal Warner is Sean's hot-headed, but warm-hearted friend, a football player on the school team.
Scott Glenn is Alphaman, Sean's legendary and deceased biological father. An approximation of his consciousness appears via holograms in Sean's base of operations, the Rock of Alpha.
Andrew Dice Clay is Cygar, a mountainous enforcer working for Zauzer with an agenda of his own.
Billy Drago is Dr. Felix Frankenheimer, a scummy mutant scientist who developed Zauzer's biochemical weapon.
Jane Kaczmarek is the high-strung Anne Macek, Sean's perpetually put-upon principal at his high school. She frequently chastises our hero for his loose cannon cop-like antics, fearing that his presence at her school is ruining her chances at making it respectable.

Produced by Joel Silver. A John McTiernan film.

Whew, that's a mouthful...
 
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