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Diary of a Novel: October 11, 2005

Written by Vicki Hinze

On October 11, 2005

Warning: this is a no-edit zone… I’ve decided to keep a diary of the novel-in-progress. Noting what’s getting done and how it’s getting done. This is a continuation of yesterday’s post, which carries a different header because until now I didn’t know I’d be doing this. It’s a guided thing, and you all know, when I feel the tug, I follow. So here we go!

Busy days, busy days!

This has to be the most fun part of writing. The character cast is done. I love the heroine and, well, actually the main cast. They’re so not prepared to fight the battle they’re going to have to face. I wonder how they’ll do… Will they rise to the challenge? Fall flat on their faces? If they fall, will they get up? God, I hope so or I’m screwed! Okay, settle down, Vic. Have a little faith. These guys are parents. Parents can and will do anything when it comes to their kids, right? Right? Oh, man. I hope so. Because to do what I have in mind, they’re going to have to get it together AND use it. Enough worrying about them. Just need to believe and tag along and see what happens.

The idea and one-sentence focus blurb are done. The novel elements are all written up. The settings have been nailed down, the maps run off or drawn and the specifics noted. Even the time of year and the story calendars have been run and are waiting for the writing where the passage of time can be tracked.

Okay, so I’m in the not so fun part, convincing myself that it is fun. Yes, I’m lying to me. At least then I can look forward to this and not dread it. And since I know I’m lying to myself, is it really lying? Or is it just putting a positive spin on a negative attitude so that I embrace what’s there that needs doing rather than dread it. Dread shines through. I know that dread shines through. I know, so it’s not lying. It’s rationalizing. I’ll take that over dread. Back to business…

The crafting of an actual synopsis from which I can draft my plot board, which is what I use to actually write the story. It helps that I start with MY synopsis. The one no one will ever see but me. It’s long, it’s specific, it’s detailed. It’s me watching the movie in slow motion, noting everything I want noted, whether it proves to be relevant or nitnoys later dropped. Reading it would make anyone else nuts. But the writer in me is enjoying the movie, feeling the tension, the fear, the repulsion, the outrage. I wrote thirteen pages on my synopsis yesterday. I’m at what will in the end be about chapter three in the novel.

The entire synopsis that actually gets sent to my agent will be shorter than this, so why do I do it? Why will I invest in a long synopsis–likely around 60 pages–that won’t make it out of the envelope?

So that when it’s done, I can prepare the plot board. Break down the chapters and scenes and check for character growth, logic gaps, linear structure, plausibility. Check for scene settings to make sure significant events occur at the right places and threads deemed important by the space given them are pulled through and the novel tapestry weave is tight. To make sure that time passes in practical terms, that events occur in the right sequence. That major upcoming events are foreshadowed. All these things and those nebulous ones that as a writer you don’t pick apart, you just note and do something about. Little details that make fiction real.

Thirteen pages isn’t a banner day in the movie-watching phase of things. But I hit two snags. The first was to stop and prepare to fill in on an hour-long radio talk show yesterday afternoon, and the second snag regarded the book. I hated the title.

The title didn’t do what I wanted done and finding the right title that would drove me nuts. I can’t write a book without a title. I need it to know the focus of the story, to center on the purpose for writing the book. So I went hunting. Seriously hunting. And finally, late yesterday afternoon, I hit on “the” one I’m going to use.

Then I could move forward. Hence, the 13 pages. So today, on we go. Back to the movie, back to this world that is at once fascinating and frightening. I have high hopes for this book making a difference. The goal is to shed light on an epidemic that is all but ignored and shouldn’t be. (There’s that subjective business coming in again! See why I can’t write my best objectively?)

Back to the movie–sans the popcorn. Part of this subject matter flips my stomach.

Blessings, Vicki


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