Wednesday, September 9, 2015

MasterClass Week 2

I did it again. I'm up at the crack of dawn because I again forgot to write this last night; knowing I'll be at work during my noon update.

I'm still getting used to my new work schedule, and said new schedule is really throwing me off my game. I keep losing track of which day of the week it is.

Maybe I need to change my weekly update schedule again. Or maybe I should embrace being up at 5am to write. Although, I'm not going to lie, even if I were still awake at this hour, I'd much rather be snuggling up to my sleeping husband.

But that's neither here nor there.

To start, I completely forgot that I haven't posted my chapters on DeviantArt yet. Whoops. Sorry to anyone who prefers to read them there. I really REALLY need to remember to do that this week so I can post those links next update.

Honestly, I forgot both due to my work schedule throwing me off, and because I've been mostly focused on my MasterClass lessons.

I faithfully followed the writing schedule that I set up for the first assignment. Every day between 5 and 6pm. Granted, what I was doing wasn't prose-writing, which is what I think James Patterson meant for us to do - even if it was a series of writing exercises to keep our skills sharp - but it was still an hour a day dedicated to working on my assignments for these classes. I skipped yesterday because I ended up being at work off-and-on for nearly 12hrs of the day, but aside from that, I'm still working on my writing daily between 5 and 6pm.

For the second assignment, my Plunny farm ended up including 9 ideas and is now 9pgs long. Most of the ideas - as I stated last week - are missing that key drive. That catalyst that sends the protagonist on a specific story. They're great ideas for something like webcomics and TV shows, though. They have that potential for a lot of stories. That might be the issue. Not that I can't think of a catalyst for a story, but because I can see the potential of twenty stories and don't want to lock it down to just one. That, and each story potential would be a short-story in and of itself; a novela if that. So the overall book would be an anthology of these small "daily" plots that these characters encounter. Sort of like publishing a fictional diary.

Anyway, I'm wandering off topic.

I did manage to come up with a plot at the 11th hour. My only hesitation is that it is back to my fanfiction roots. I don't know what it is about me that I can't seem to come up with the starting story spark on my own. I always seem to have to piggyback off of someone, be it fanfiction writing, "stealing" Ronoxym's story, or having Hubby give me the story inspiration. That's actually how I survived my college classes. I had a production class that needed me to write scripts for mini-movies, and an actual script-writing class at the same time, and Hubby suggesting story ideas was the only way I could write enough different scripts for everything.

Granted, it's usually a small thing that I'm piggybacking off of - fanfiction it's the characters or world, but not the actual plot; Ron's story it was my character telling me the story was being told wrong; Hubby's suggestions are usually "What if" scenarios - and then the inspiration strikes, and I'm off and running on my own. Such is the case with my most recent inspiration.

Still, it bugs me that I can't seem to get that spark without an outside source....

I'm wandering again, sorry, it's now 6am, but I'm still half-asleep I think.

So, the plot idea I came up with at the last minute. It's actually something that's been bouncing around in the back of my head for over a year now. Back then, when I posted on Twitter that I had updated my blog, I would then spend close to an hour backtracking and reading all of the Tweets that Rick Riordan posted over the past week. Although I'm still curious as to what he's up to with his writing, I just don't have the energy to dedicate that much time to Twitter lurking any longer.

Anyway, while I don't recall the actual wording of it any longer - and there's really no way tech-illiterate me could probably find the conversation any more - the basic spark of inspiration for me happened more-or-less as follows:
  • One of Riordan's followers asked a What If about a Huntress of Artemis - teenage girls that swear to remain maidens forever, and in exchange are granted eternal youth and the Greek goddess Artemis' protection. What if one of them fell in love with a boy?
  • Riordan's answer was more-or-less "Artemis would probably kill them both; the girl for breaking her oath and the boy for 'seducing' her." Granted, those weren't his exact words do to Twitter's character restrictions, but based on the overall conversation, that was the gist.
  • I sat there reading his response and thought "What a neat story concept! Someone should write that!"
And so write it I am. A year later. Well, probably close to 18months later; I'm not sure how long the MasterClass is going to be...

Now, I failed miserably at this when I was posting my progress over on Writers’ Huddle, but let's see if I do any better at writing a CONCISE plotline that is ONLY 3-5 sentences long, and please ignore the name placeholders of Huntress and Male until I figure out their actual names:
  1. Huntress has faithfully followed Artemis - and kept her oath - for over 300 years, but that all changes when she meets Male - a demigod that lives/hunts in the same area Artemis is currently residing - and the two fall in love.
  2. When they can't resist their feelings, Huntress and Male flee from an infuriated Artemis, and search for Aphrodite in hopes that she'll protect their love.
  3. They are overcome by Artemis and her followers, but Huntress manages to best the goddess in battle; sparing Male's life, but losing the grace and protection of Artemis.
  4. Huntress - now without the magic that gave her youth - is rapidly aging back to normal; which is almost 350yrs old.
  5. Male and Huntress make it to Mt. Olympus - currently stationed celestially above NYC - but Huntress dies of old age in Male's arms while they pleaded for the gods' help; Aphrodite still thinks she can be saved, though. 
There! Did it! Vague, but only 5 sentences! For the extended 11-sentence description of the story that I posted on Writers' Huddle, please see below:
Huntress is one of the followers of the Greek goddess Artemis; a follower is a teenage girl who retains eternal youth as long as she keeps her oath of forsaking men in order to remain a maiden for all time, otherwise she will be put to death. After over 300 years of loyal service, Huntress has the ill-fate of falling in love with Male; a modern-day demigod who happens to live/hunt in the same area Artemis and her huntresses are staying. After failed attempts to part ways and ignore their love, Huntress and Male flee to NYC where the Greek Gods have moved the celestial residence of Mt. Olympus; in hopes of getting Aphrodite's patronage and assistance in breaking Huntress' oath. Huntress and Male are hunted down by Artemis - who feels betrayed even though Huntress hasn't technically broken her oath yet - and the two must battle their way across the United States. Somewhere in the south east corner of the US, Huntress and Male come in contact with Aphrodite, who informs them that she does favor them, but only because she has a soft spot for doomed star-crossed lovers; she won't help them. Soon after, the two are overrun by Artemis and her huntresses. Huntress manages to best Artemis in battle after making a deal that Male would remain safe if Huntress wins; Artemis announces that Male will be unharmed, but she also will no longer gift Huntress the same protection as her faithful followers. Huntress' oath is revoked, but so is her eternal youth; she is aging at an alarming rate, so she and Male must now race to Mt Olympus in hopes of stopping the aging before she dies and turns to dust due to her birth being about 340 years prior. Aphrodite - curious about how far the two's tale can go - petitions for them to have an audience with Zeus, who holds up Artemis' punishment. Huntress dies in Male's arms, but pleas from Aphrodite and Hera allows Male to return Huntress alive and to her teenage self if he can prove his love. He does in a simple act (TBD), and their love is forever protected by Aphrodite.
I have a LOT of work ahead of me in building this story; mainly because I have no clue about ANY of the locations I want, or why it takes so long for them to make their way cross-country. Riordan makes things "simple" by having his characters - Percy Jackson, et al, as well as the Kane Siblings from his other series - unable to use planes or cars for whatever reason; usually age and lack of adult supervision. So they must race against time while struggling to work cross-country on magical teleportation or flying crafts, hitchhiking, ill-fated bus rides, or simply walking. I'll have to see what I can do.

But that's the point of this week's assignments! The suggested three classes for this week were "Research" and "Outlines" - which was a 2-part series since Patterson believes this is by far the most important step to writing a novel.

He stated that he typically spends about 4-months working on perfecting the outline, and the outline goes through about six drafts in that time. That way, if something isn't working, it's a lot easier to go back and rework an outline than it is to write out a 400pg story and realize huge chunks of it aren't working as you go through the second draft of it. According to Patterson, if the outline is done right, authors will be able to write the actual novels faster, and have a lot less revision when they edit the second draft; they may even end up going through fewer drafts of the manuscript before it's ready for print.

Obviously, if your characters decide mid-write that they want to take the story someplace else, you pause, go back to the outline, and rework that before you follow your characters.

Anyway, I think Patterson's views on how important the outline is - much like a blueprint when building a house - can be best summed up in this quote from the first Outlines lesson:
“It's not mechanical, because that's creative. That is a book. It is a book called 'an outline'. And if that book is great- you outta be able to sell your outline to a publisher if it's done the way it should be done.”

I'd like to think I have a fairly good handle on writing detailed outlines; as showcased in this old blog post explaining how I write each chapter of What Is Truly Meant To Be. Now to see if I can put it in action for this new story.

If I'm even using this fanfiction idea. I did have SOME original ideas in my Plunny Farm, but I just couldn't think of that once-and-done story. When I shared some of them over at Writers' Huddle, one of the Huddlers threw out some plot-starter suggestions for each of them. Really kind of helpful. Also, I still have to chat with Spink - either later today or on my day off tomorrow - to really solidify which concept I'm running with.

So, while I'm pretty certain that this fanfiction idea is going to be what I use as my "project" during this MasterClass, it IS still open for debate. I'll keep you posted on that, as well as my further progress, next week.

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