Thursday, August 03, 2006

I need a notepad and a pen. And then I need the willingness to actually use them.

Working on the new novel again tonight. Already seeming like I'm not going to get much of it done, as I'm already avoiding it by writing here instead. But I needed to stop and complain about stupid little things. Like the fact that it's only the second chapter and I already can't quite remember how long the protagonist has been awake for.

I need to keep notes. How freaking difficult is it to just jot down the day and time that he last slept, and then refer to that anytime I need to know? Not difficult at all. So why haven't I? Outside of my often being a gigantic retard, I'm really not sure.

It's a little detail, to be sure, and one easily fixed in later drafts. But I hate having to clean up stuff like that in later drafts, because it's so bloody easy to just get right the first time through if you're paying attention. And it's not that I'm not. Or not entirely. It's just that my mind wanders, and I end up focused on other things, digressing into a commentary on how the future turned out to be a world of sedation, and isn't it wonderfully ironic that in this sedated world, our protagonist would be an insomniac?

Yeah, wonderfully ironic, except we can't remember anymore how long he's been awake for, because, Todd, you haven't figured out how to use a notepad yet.

I think I'm also avoiding this chapter because it's the back-story chapter. Well, not THE backstory chapter. The way I write, I never know when backstory is going to suddenly rear it's ugly head. But this is the big one. The spiritual moment that did the exact opposite thing from most spiritual moments -- the moment that convinced our hero that God doesn't exist. And the moment that everything else in the book is going to end up connected to. This is the Columbine chapter. This is when our protagonist tells the story of the day his high school was the site of horrible, random, meaningless violence -- when a pair of students blew away a half-dozen other students, just because they could.

I so fucking don't want to mess this up.

It needs to hit the reader hard when it happens. It needs to explain how this character gave up on God. And it needs to do all of this while treating the topic of high-school violence with respect. I don't want this to be a bullshit exploitational thing. My thoughts and opinions on high school violence are complicated at best (but really, when aren't they?) and I need to get as much of that across on paper as human possible.

I should just stop worrying about it and go and do it. I tend to be mostly successful when I take that approach. But I'm a bit out of it myself right now, from not having a fantastic sleep last night, and I half think I might be better off saving it until my brain is working better.

I'm even stressing about what would make the best background music for trying to write this chunk.

Again, I should stop worrying, and just load something up and write it.

Instead, I distract myself here.

Writing about how I'm distracting myself.

How meta.

In novel-related successes, I did name the pseudo-love-interest character (and, even before then, figured out the love-interest subplot for this novel, so that's yet another success) and have already established the line that introduces her. Or at least her name.

"Her name was Summer, but she looked more like late-autumn."

Super-cheese? Probably, but at least for the moment, it's working for me. Because it's coming from the main character, and not a third-person narrator. And if it's super-cheese, at least it helps depict his sudden, love-at-first-sight reaction to her.

Now if only I had a name for my main character.

What's a good name for a 20-something insomniac?

I need something quick, because there's no way I'm going through half a novel without naming my narrator again.


elise_on_life said...


elise_on_life said...

You're doing a "love-at-first-sight" relationship???? I can hardly believe that. I'm the romantic, and I don't believe in that, so I'm surprised you could! Give me your story on that!

Todd said...

Jeremy. Good name.

As for the love-at-first-sight thing, maybe I described it wrong. He falls for her upon first sight. Things are not destined to end well for them, but he does end up on an interesting roller-coaster ride. This is, of course, all based on the assumption that the story will proceeed as currently planned. It might easily not.

The primary point is this: A love-at-first-sight thing does not necessarily equate with a happily-ever-after thing. Especially when I'm the one writing it.

elise_on_life said...

Especially indeed.

elise_on_life said...

Give him a chance to dream, though!!

Todd said...

And that's the trick -- how to let him dream without allowing for too great a heartbreak for him when (if) those dreams fail to come true. Add to that the fact that, as mentioned, the character will be more and more out-of-it as the story progresses and...well, I'm sure it'll be an interesting love story, at any rate.

She's sort of a groupie for the leader of this bizarre insomnia cult that the main character ends up stumbling onto. And her apparent interest in him is not as sincere as our her might like to think it is.

Ah, but I say too much...