Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Humor & Perspective

So I'm standing at the counter at the Starbucks between home and work, waiting for the guy to ring up my grande, non-fat latte. Another woman comes in and orders a grande caramel macchiatto with 6 pumps of vanilla and extra caramel. The barista asks her to repeat it, which she does. As she finishes, I add, "For people who don't like the taste of coffee."

Every one of the guys behind the counter laughed. You know they must get dozens of orders like that in a day.

The woman, on the other hand, looked at me aghast. "I like coffee. I just can't take the two shots. It's the two shots."

Maybe she should forego the coffee altogether.

But it got me thinking about perspective. She took it that we were laughing at her, which in a way we were, but moreso we were laughing at the situation. The guys working there took it as a funny comment on a part of their jobs. I was just being a smart-ass to get a laugh.

How does this relate to writing? You can change the inflection and impact of a story by changing the POV character. TNN deals with some pretty horrific situations. By having it told by someone next to the horror, but not a direct victim of it, I think will make the story not quite so difficult to read. Or write.

I was talking with a non-writing friend last night (we all need them in order to stay in touch with the real world), and she was appalled when I described the main story arc. "Why would you want to write about that?" Yet, The Group loved it and really got into giving me suggestions on how to make it even darker. Again, perspective.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

What A Character!

Yesterday, I did a little more work on the outline of the new novel. Since I don't have a title I like yet, I will refer to it here as TNN for The New Novel.

Instead of sticking with just the outline, though, I got into some of the characters. Most of the story will be seen through the eyes of a 15-year-old boy. He's the only son of a single mother with 4 daughters ranging from 21 years old to 5. I've been able to see him in my mind for a while now, but didn't have a name I liked. Yesterday, it finally came to me: Wardell. Suits him to a 't'.

I thought about Mary, who is so great at names for her characters. There's usually two or three levels to her names. Always impresses me.

How do you deal with character names? Is it not a big deal or do you fret over them?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Update on Goals

I'm doing surprisingly well for this early in the month. Usually, I have to scramble during the last few days. The goals were:

--Pick a new mainstream novel to start. [I have done this, thanks to much help from the group. See post below.]

--Outline and possibly start new novel. [Started outlining this weekend. I just need the major plot points for now. Then I can start writing.]

--Stay current with Apollo's Lyre submissions. [So far, so good. I'm caught up.]

--Send back critiques to the two authors who asked for them. [Done. Will not be making this offer again.]

--Refrain from bugging Jenny about MMG. [Not yet anyway.]

I could have included completing critiques for the Sunday group since I'm visiting again this month. More about that later.