Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Work In Progress Wednesday - the Stewage Pot

Well, I finished my first notebook. And I'm about 10 pages into the second. This one is just as cute and just as fun to write in.

As far as my WiP, I've finally figured out who the real bad guy is. Can I get a "Woot! Woot!"?

While we're on this note of stewing on bad guys, I want to talk about all the behind-the-scenes stuff it takes for me to actually write. I'm not one of those people that just knows what's going to happen. I don't like to outline or plan too far ahead. I want the characters I'm envisioning to come alive, tell me what their problems are, what they're struggling with, and then help me figure out a way out of their problems.

To do this, I'm constantly tossing ingredients into the Stewage Pot. What if this girl likes that guy? (potatoes) What if he is a ghost too? (carrots) What if the rift isn't working? (onions) Why wouldn't it be working? (okay, get those onions outta there. They're stinking everything up.) What if his teacher knows more than he's let on? (shallots) What if the teacher is a ghost too? (yes, the shallots are nice in this Pot. Very nice.)

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Writing requires a lot of stewage. Brain time. So this past week, I've really been trying to pin down who the villain is. Every spare moment I had, from emptying the dishwasher to waiting at a red light, I've been thinking about it. And I've created a couple of characters that are not on Santa's Nice List, so it could have been either one. For me, it came down to their motivations.

One of my potential bad guys was my protag's dad. And he just didn't have the motive. And you wanna know how I finally came to the conclusion that motive matters? Watching Law & Order. Yup. Once again, an aspiring novelists questions can be answered with TV. In Law & Order, the cops work hard to establish motive for a crime. Villains need motive too. And my protag's dad had no motive to hurt his own son. So he got the ax on my List of Potential Bad Guys.

And then there was one.

Now pinning down his motive will be a bit tricksy, but I know I can do it. There are a plethora of red lights I have to stop at everyday. Lots of dishes. Laundry. And TV. Ah, yes. It may take major brain cells, but I'll figure it out. After all, I like Plot Stewage a lot more than Character Stewage. It's a different spice, you see.

How's your WiP going this week? How many ingredients have you added to the Stewage Pot?


Sherry Ficklin said...

Ironically, I'm having trouble making my villian seem justified. He thinks he is, readers need to think he is too. and my non-villian is just way too villian-y. He needs to be redeemed a little before people start hating on him...

Annie Louden said...

Congrats on finding your villain!

I need to take lessons from you and be thinking about my story during all my errands and red lights.

Also, yay that you're on your second notebook! That is an accomplishment right there.

Kathryn Hupp-Harris said...

I'm glad you finally found your villain.

It takes me forever to put down a story. There's nothing more frightening than a blank page.

As far as my WIP, I'm trying to decide whether or not it's time to query.

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

Awesome on filling the first notebook and nailing down the villain! I love the whole idea of stewage - I do the exact same thing, figuring out little bits during the chorey parts of my day. I only have two chapters to go though, so my stew is mostly cooked through - I just need to get it on the page.

Tara Maya said...

I thought I was the only one having trouble finding out who my villain was. In my case, I'm always trying so hard to redeem my villains, I sometimes end up redeeming them to the point it make no sense for them to be villains any more.

I like your term "stewage."

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Ah, villains. Sometimes they really are hard to pin down. I didn't know mine in my current novel until most of the way through. He just ... happened. Congrats of figuring yours out!

Francesca said...

I like the image of a pot and throwing things into it. I've one project I'm working on that is a bit like that. I keep tossing things in and then taking them out and then stirring it up and peering in to see if I have a story and I'm still not sure that I do. Mmm. I love red lights.

lisa and laura said...

YAY for bad guys!

As for our WIP, it's techinically not "in-progress" yet. We've got quite a few ideas stewing and we haven't decided what we're going to tackle. We'll keep you posted.

And is it weird that your post made me hungry? Um...yes, I think it is.

Carolyn Kaufman | @CMKaufman said...

So glad you figured out who your bad guy is!!!

Jenn Adams said...

Okay, so before I comment on the WiP question, I just have to say that the new format of your comment doo-hickey makes me unable to comment on the word verification. It's sad because the last comment I left had a real hee-haw of a WV! But, in the case of that WV, all I would have said is that it's too racy to comment on, and I would hope it wouldn't come up during one of your WV contests!

As for stewage, I think I forgot to take my pot off the shelf this week. Nevermind buying ingredients and having them ready to throw in the pot at red lights or during TV viewing. :) All I'm thinking at when I'm stopped at a red light is, "Crap-I'm-already-late-when-is-this-stupid-light-gonna-change-already???"

So kudos to you for actually getting out your pot, throwing stuff in, tasting it occasionally, etc. You're my heroine!!

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