My daughter was born on Labor Day weekend. Dragon*Con happens on Labor Day Weekend (big deal if you’re either a geek like me or you live in Atlanta…like me). And in the past few years, we have company on Labor Day Weekend.
Needless to say, Labor Day Weekend is what I call DEAD TIME.
Dead Time. A friend worked out a writing / production schedule for me a few months ago. That schedule originally contained just fiction, as in I was only writing in my word count and what I was working on for that day. And that worked really well for the first month.
Then I realized I had to put other things in there — Art, layout, design, CE proofing, blogging, Tweeting, facebooking, formatting—and the occasional real life interruption. I knew for Labor Day there would be little to no updates or words done (though I did manage 10K on a Shared Universe project!). And though I feel like I’ve been cheating myself out of work time, I think I needed this opportunity to go back over the books about to be released…
…and throw on the breaks.
Why? Cause I did what I call the “OMG why didn’t I think about this when I was writing!” nightmare that sometimes follows the final edit when a writer finally “gets” where the story goes and what he or she did wrong. After it’s done.
And once again, listening to a podcast zeroed it in for me. Something I’d nailed in GEIST but had completely forgotten in the books I’d been writing since.
I’d forgotten to allow the readers to know what the protagonist’s and antagonist’s expectations are.
Duh! This is something I’d never really consciously realized until writing GEIST, that in that book Zoë’s expectations are what the reader holds on to, and when those expectations don’t go the way the reader and she believed they will, the outcome keeps the reader interested in wondering what happens next!
Whedon Learn By Example. For those of us who love anything done by Joss Whedon, letting the reader know what the characters expect is exactly what he does! As watchers of his shows we sit on the edge of our seats because we know what’s supposed to happen, and Whedon usually always does what we don’t expect.
Big example? Buffy. When she died most everyone believed she was in hell. Everything the viewer and the characters knew pointed them in the belief or certainty that she was in Hell. Her soul was in eternal torment and it was up to Willow to get her out. And when she was brought back things didn’t work out the way Willow and gang thought they would. Buffy wasn’t as happy to see them or as relieved.
The truth? The gut wrenching reveal that I know sucked my breath away?
She was in Heaven. She was at peace, finally. And then she was torn away from that peace and brought back to life, IE, Hell.
Wow. To me…that is the best example of what I caught a glimmer of and forgot to include in what I’ve done recently! Argh!
So my Labor Day Lesson? Five steps forward, nine steps back. But I’m pretty sure when I’m done, they’ll be better books.For reference: Podcast THE CREATIVE PENN: WIRED FOR STORY.