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Score! I snagged CJ Box's Back of Beyond today, no waiting! His ebooks are always checked out. It's the first of a four-book thriller series I want to reread. I haven't caught any of them available all summer. The second one is The Highway that features an antagonist who drives cross country in a big black tractor-trailer. I got to the really scary creepy part as we were driving across southern Wyoming on I-80, which is a main east-west artery and was wall to wall semis, many of them big and black. I was freaked out from Cheyenne till we made the turn NE of Salt Lake City on our way to Ogden, UT. Fun trip! 😄

I love being able to get library books without even leaving my recliner.
 

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Discussion Starter #202
Great. I've been reading fanfiction the past few days.

I'm glad the libraries have been able to offer virtual courses and ebooks, especially during the pandemic. The local libraries have always kept up with technology but also have a lot of foot traffic on normal days. A lot of tutors usually meet there with their students at the libraries near me.

Yeah, that would be creepy, life imitating art. My Dad gave me his old Nook when he upgraded his but I never got into reading on it. I used to read fast enough to finish books in the library loan time but not much anymore. I could if I put my mind into it. Then again, I like having a physical book in my hands.
 

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I spent some time on edits today. The first few chapters of Biker are not bad as far as plot, so for now I'm focusing on developing a more active voice and correcting head hopping. I figure I can get away with only one POV shift per chapter.

Storm has figured out there are snacks in the office. He also loves sitting on the back porch out there, looking into the woods behind the cabin. He's in and out frequently. He's a little bit of a distraction but if I can't take time to love up my boy, that would just be sad. I don't think Shadow has put it together yet that she can go to the cabin and be with me, but she will get it eventually. She's my girl and always wants to be with me.
 

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Discussion Starter #204
Glad to hear you're getting somewhere with your manuscript and Storm has made his way to spend time with you.

I have been able to get some work done on my manuscript, although not as much as I would've liked. Been too hot and humid lately to really get into writing. Hopefully, the temps will get better soon and I'll be able to focus better.
 

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There's that. I hate hot humid weather and it can cause us problems because of some meds, so I'll put up with it. Wish our AC was working right.
 

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Discussion Starter #208
Spent an hour writing yesterday morning. I got a little bit done but I think everything that's going on right now is sucking my creativity at the moment. At least it's a convenient excuse for procrastination.

At least I wrote down a potential scene in my WIP notebook so I wouldn't forget it later. It's not a fully fleshed out scene but hopefully a plot point I can use later. I found a couple of MysteryQuest DVDs that might prove useful as possible plot ideas.
 

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Lots of serious, life altering distractions to deal with now. I'm having the same problem. But I'm getting into the acceptance phase, I think. That seems to help me work on developing a new normal.
 

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Discussion Starter #210
Worked on my WIP today. Two hours!! Yay. I probably should've kept going since I was on a roll but didn't. Oh well. Turns out the one secondary MC decided to be the person the primary MCs are looking for. But he also decided to be a good guy, rather than a thorn in their side. He's actually in hiding from his former (pre-apocalypse) employers, who ended up being involved in setting off the apocalypse in the first place. Or at least their research is the reason the apocalypse happened. So, he's going to provide information and lore as needed but he prefers that his presence be kept secret. Which means he's pretty much going to remain a secondary character and helper.
 

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Discussion Starter #211
Worked on the WIP for two hours yesterday. It was mostly trying to create a story "bible". It's just names of characters so far with a couple of words for quick reference. I do intend to create entries for each of the characters and locations, etc. I picked up small Moleskin journals for that purpose but now I"m thinking I might need a 3-ring binder so I can sort things more easily.

The downside of skimming through what I've written so far is I started tweaking things here and there, rather than putting my effort into continuing the story.
 

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Discussion Starter #212
Worked on the WIP for two hours again today. Got an early start since I couldn't sleep past my usual wake-up time. I was able to get some new material in. I was thinking of stopping at one point but wanted to get something down before I finished. I'm really enjoying working on it right now. I had thought I wouldn't be able to focus on writing if I worked from home due to other distractions (wanting to watch DVDs or other projects) but I'm actually getting more work done than I normally do at the coffee shop. (Although I do miss going to the coffee shop for the change of perspective and energy.) I'm even able to ignore distracting myself on the internet while writing at home. It's probably because I've been stuck at home during the shutdown and not doing/thinking of other things that might be pulling my attention elsewhere. Don't have much in the way of creative outlets other than home based stuff.

One character (the one I didn't really have fleshed out initially but turns out to be a big secret keeper) threw me another curveball. This time, he's thrown up doubts about his loyal to the MCs. Even I'm not sure how this will turn out at the moment. It's like he insisted on being involved in creating the original situation (the world's apocalypse) and then started getting cagey when I ran with it. :lol: He's turning out to be more of a red herring than the actual villain of the story. People want him and now he wants to run away from it all. Oh well. Red herring it is, then. Part of it is I haven't gotten all the MCs (or at least the right ones) together yet in order to get him to stop being so cagey. I think it's more that he's not happy that his secrets are bubbling to the surface at the moment, now that the action of the story is remaining in town, rather than having the MCs going on a quest journey story.
 

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Discussion Starter #213
One thing I realized today is that I didn't really have a tangible villain in my first stab at this story. The MCs were trying to get some information and once they had it was a case of "now what?" I do have an idea of a possible villain (not the red herring character, at least I hope not). I just have to get to the point where the villain shows up. But keeping the story local to the 'town' was a better idea. I have more tools to work with.
 

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There's a book called Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon. If you haven't read it, give it a try. I need to read it again myself.

Take some time to write a short synopsis, 10 pages or so. That's your working roadmap. Putting your plot points on index cards to make a story board works, too, but that can be done after working up the synop on computer. Easier to edit.

Also do character bios. Each bio should include character's GMC, both internal and external. All those GMCs are what will drive your plot. Without conflict, there's no story.

I know you're a pantser, and I'm sure you're breaking out in hives just reading this. I struggle with it, too. But it's very important and makes your writing easier in the long run.

I'm not a big fan of writing how-to books, but GMC is a fast read that I think is worthwhile. I see Amazon has it on Kindle, but I prefer the print version so it can be read with a highlighter in hand and have notes made in the margins. Maybe your library has it. Then you could look it over to decide if you think it's worth buying.
 

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Discussion Starter #215
:lol: I chuckled at the 'breaking out in hives' comment. But thanks for the suggestion of the book. I ordered a hardcopy of it so I can mark it up to my heart's content as needed. If I end up not liking it, I can pass it along to the local library since I bought a used copy. I saw this webpage when I was looking up the book: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict | Pub(lishing) Crawl. Nice, quick explanation and examples so the book sounds like it might be worth the price. And it looks helpful, even for a pantser like me. :lol: I'm going to keep writing until I get a chance to read the book. But having an idea of GMC is a good start. Thanks!!

I'm creating a book 'bible' so the character bios can go into there once I start working with the GMCs. Yeah, I know the bios will likely change over time but having the first passes will still be useful if I need to go back and look at them at some point.

Here's a website that looks interesting for writing: Pub(lishing) Crawl I checked out a couple of their posts and they're short but seem good. (I basically just did a quick skim of a couple things.) And the resources section looks like it has a lot of helpful posts.
 

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That's a great explanation of GMC. Too funny about Poseidon and all.

A mistake I've made in the past is not getting to know my antagonist as well as I know my protagonists. The protags are cool people and fun to hang out with. The antags are usually types I have very little interest in spending time with. But I have to understand them in order to figure out their GMCs, which of course have to conflict with with the protags or there's no story.

Doing bio pages and a synop doesn't mean you can't change or add anything as you go along, but if you can get your major plot points down from beginning to end, it can help keep you from going down rabbit holes that have nothing to do with your story, or help you identify holes in your plot before you write 75,000 words, or help you not write yourself into an inescapable corner. Bio pages help with continuity, too. They can help prevent dumb mistakes like your heroine having short dark hair in chap 1 and inexplicably morphing into a long haired blonde in chap 25. Detailed bios are great. I try to keep them updated as I write, so I can remember my character's favorite food or other stuff I'm likely to forget. Timelines are helpful too, so I don't have a character giving birth when she's 7 years old or some other stupid thing that didn't register when I wrote it that messes up the whole plot 15,000 words later. It's also helpful for backstories. It's how I found out my first protags, who didn't meet till their 30s, had lives that paralleled each other from childhood.

Apropos of nothing, here's the hook from the book I'm currently rereading, Savage Run by C.J. Box. I wanna learn to write openings like this!

"On the third day of their honeymoon, infamous environmental activist Stewie Woods and his new bride Annabel Bellotti, were spiking trees in the forest when a cow exploded and blew them up. Until then, their marriage had been happy."

ROFL! How do you not keep reading? Being able to write a great hook is a true gift.
 

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Discussion Starter #217
:lol: Oh my - that hook is definitely funny!!

Yeah, I've heard that the villain is the hero of his own story many times. I think the problem with this current WIP was that the antagonists were too vague (I was just calling them "the critters") and the focus was on getting the lore from the ground zero site of the apocalypse. Then the muses decided that nope... the town was more important and the whole focus of the story shifted.

I've been doing comments on this story than on any other WIP I've done in the past. The highlighting has been helpful too. I've also starting creating notebooks and now am starting to create the story bible, which I've never done in the past. So I think I"m improving my writing skills. Thanks for all the suggestions and pointers.
 

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Yes, get your antags fleshed out. They are the key to your entire plot.

Writing itself is a WIP. Every writer grows, learns, and improves over time. It's like any other skill, it improves with practice.

I need to get back to writing. I've been obsessed all summer with other projects and probably will be for a while yet. I don't think I'll be able to focus till at least January. My various projects are the distractions I need now, plus there are the usual fall chores to be done. I forgot we have to build a parcel box for UPS before winter and some other stuff, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #219
I have a few possible antagonists set up, one is more of a red herring (not the secondary character I mentioned before) but another and possibly two are good choices. I can potentially tie them together as well.

As for not writing at the moment, think of it as letting the story ferment in the back of your mind and allowing the muses to chew on it for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter #220
I found a book on creating character arcs, which as a separate workbook as well. I ordered both of those in the hopes they will be helpful, especially with the antags. Right now, one antag is basically just a teenager going through the brat stage. The one antag I'm thinking of using as the main villain of the story I'm still not too sure of his motivations. On one hand, he was a scholar doing research. On the other hand, he was a bit of a company man who wasn't too sure of the goals of the company he was working for until SHTF and the apocalypse happened. So he decided to side with the 'people' who were more powerful than anyone he ever encountered before. But I'm not to happy about that motivation.
 
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