?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Overwrought and Undercompensated
In which our heroine WRITES! 
30th-Jul-2012 08:12 pm
Sunny chance of asskicking
I'm having a moment where I know I should just keep writing while it's working, but I also want to mark the occasion here at my journal. I started a new original writing project (largely pushed into action by some discussion about original writing over at writeandgripe) and I honestly don't remember the last time I was this excited about something I was working on.



I've roughed out a story arc that seems reasonably paced, complete, and a little bit complex. The characters are flawed and there will be angst and every time I've explained it to someone in "real life", I've gushed like such a goober about it. But, you know what? I'm not sorry for being excited about this! I will talk about it until I get enough people hounding me that I get it done. That seems to be what it takes to light a fire under me, anyway. :)

I thought it might be interesting to share the 2 versions of the beginning over here, for the sake of comparison. A couple of weeks ago, I mapped out the story, took a bunch of random notes about characters and events, and started in on chapter one, not getting terribly far along. It was OK, but I didn't love it. Then writeandgripe had a show and tell post and I took the feedback I got and went back through the beginning to make it better. I really like what it became, although I think there's still some room for improvement in there.

For those who haven't yet heard me ramble about this story, the VERY short summary is: main character Natalie is experiencing bad headaches as the story opens. Her best friend, Tucker, is with her when she suddenly has a seizure and she comes to able to "hear" people's thoughts, based on their proximity to her. But none of that has happened just yet. :)



Here's what I started out with on the really rough first draft:



“I’m bored. You need to come over and save me.” The air audibly left the cushion as Natalie Reed flopped down. Swinging both legs over one arm and leaning back against the other, she settled herself into the overstuffed chair.

“Nat, you know I’m supposed to be working until at least 5:30pm,” Tucker Campbell sighed into the phone, unable to keep his smirk from coloring his tone.

“What good is being the boss if you can’t cut out early once in awhile? Make that intern or yours earn his scratch for a change. Come over. I’ll make you dinner,” she added quickly.

She could hear muffled voices over the connection, an occasional word clear enough for her to get the gist of the conversation. For all his protesting, never once had Tucker turned down the offer of a home cooked meal, work or no work.

“You’re in luck,” he started upon returning to the call. “I stayed pretty late last night to work out a problem with the Hazen blueprints, so I don’t actually feel that bad taking off a little early. Should I bring anything?”

Natalie ran through a quick mental checklist of the items in her kitchen. “A loaf of good, crusty italian bread?”

“I think I can handle that. I’ll head home for a shower and change of clothes, grab some bread from that bakery by my place that you won’t shut up about, and head right over. An hour soon enough?”



And THIS is the new, improved version:



The air audibly left the cushion as Natalie Reed flopped down into her worn, overstuffed chair. Swinging both legs over one arm and leaning back against the other, she let her head loll back a moment, craning to catch a glimpse of the time on the clock on the bookcase behind her. 4:38pm glared back at her in bright green digital numbers. She fingered the frayed edge of the cushion a moment, letting her eyes run along the dingy navy ticking as she debated her options.

At this hour, Tucker would probably be on the job site, checking in with the contractor for the fortieth time to go over the building plans. It wasn’t that she didn’t understand how important this project was to him; she did. But he was working himself into the ground over it. She was beginning to think she was the only one with his best interests in mind.

Natalie’s day had started at the absolute crack of dawn, with back to back early morning weight training clients, two boot camp classes, and an endless series of new gym member orientations before she finally clocked out for the day. As exhausting as the job could be, some days, like this one, the latent adrenaline would leave her too amped up to relax. She huffed a deep breath out through her lips and decided she’d take her chances on wooing Tucker away from work early.

“I’m bored. You need to come over and save me,” she said when he answered his cell.

“Nat, you know I’m supposed to be working until at least 5:30pm,” Tucker Campbell sighed into the phone, unable to keep his smirk from coloring his tone.

“What good is being the boss if you can’t cut out early once in awhile? Make that intern of yours earn his scratch for a change. Come over. I’ll make you dinner,” she added quickly, making a grand attempt at sounding put out by the notion.

She could hear muffled voices over the connection, an occasional word clear enough for her to get the gist of the conversation. For all his protesting, never once had Tucker turned down the offer of a home cooked meal, work or no work.

“You’re in luck,” he started upon returning to the call. “I stayed pretty late last night to work out a problem with the Hazen blueprints, so I don’t actually feel that bad taking off a little early. Should I bring anything?”

Natalie ran through a quick mental checklist of the items in her kitchen. “A loaf of good, crusty italian bread?”

“I think I can handle that. I’ll head home for a shower and change of clothes, grab some bread from that bakery by my place that you won’t shut up about, and head right over. An hour soon enough?”

She rolled her eyes. He always insisted on grabbing a shower before coming to her place. How dirty could an architect get in the course of a day? “You and that shower of yours. If I didn’t known any better, I’d think you were hoping to get lucky later.”

“Wow,” he said, dryly. “If that’s on the table, I’ll even use soap.”

“You really know how to make a girl feel special. Tell me again why you’re still single?” Her tone was light, teasing, the words a familiar barb they tossed back and forth. She laughed softly and continued, “One hour. Dinner will be on the table.”



~~~
So, yeah. I think the characters come through a bit better and I've managed to reveal a little more about them without feeling like I dropped a sack of uncooked exposition on the reader.

I'm not fishing for feedback (just yet), but feel free to leave it if you like. I really just wanted to light a fire under my ass by getting it out there that I'm writing and it's working and I'm excited about it and and and... :)
Comments 
31st-Jul-2012 12:33 pm (UTC)
WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Wow! You did a lot of good work making these two come alive a bit more. I am curious about what she looks like and their ages (thirties, I'd guess). I think this gives a good flavor for their relationship - they've obviously been friends for a long time. I feel some sexual tension, but it's clear that they haven't been lovers (or at least nothing serious). They both seem like hard workers with busy lives, but they manage to stay connected. I like them both and I'm curious to read more.

Kudos on your writing and your ENTHUSIASM! That is an awesome thing. *HUGS* GO YOU!!!
31st-Jul-2012 12:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm glad to see they're leaving the correct impression already. I'm not positive I can pull off the relationship arc without some help, but I have such a clear picture of it in my head! I'm already making promises to myself about getting my staff reviews done and slacking off during the rest of work to write... :) Remains to be seen if I'll have any time left before dinner.
31st-Jul-2012 03:19 pm (UTC)
I love the changes, really fleshed out and real. The transision to Tucker at the job site is particularly nice. For some reason I really love that Natalie works at the health club.

Great work.

Also you've inspired me to post an update of my scenes. :D
31st-Jul-2012 05:00 pm (UTC)
Thanks! She was originally a social worker, then she just totally wasn't. The control issues later will be more obvious played against her high level of control over her body. :)

Glad to be of service. I'm paying it forward. ;)
31st-Jul-2012 05:11 pm (UTC)
Working at a gym a way better then a social worker, especially for over hearing other people's thoughts because you have more opportunity for levity in a health club.

I push and pull between keeping and losing control is genius. :)
2nd-Aug-2012 10:11 pm (UTC)
I should talk process with you sometime, because you're right — you've somehow added a great deal of detail in the second version without bogging it down. I want to know how you do that!
2nd-Aug-2012 11:59 pm (UTC)
What if I have no idea how I did it? O_o

I'd love to talk process! Honestly, I've never been one to start with an outline, or to take notes, but I DID, so I'm already so far off my process I don't know if that's the key difference for me. I think all the reading I've been doing has really helped me figure out what I didn't like or was doing wrong in my other attempts at long works, so the attempt to "do it right" has really been a game changer. I can't wait to see how much writing I can do over vacation next week. :)
This page was loaded Nov 18th 2019, 10:59 am GMT.