Behind the Glass | Writing | Organisation

oragnisation

Once I had pondered all the ideas and written them in some form or another, it was time to get organised. I collected the snippets of information and arranged them into different documents, detailing the back stories, physical descriptions, motivations, and plot lines of the various characters, including the Establishment, the Mudders, and the Rebels, because, although they are not characters in themselves, they are still entities which require their own development.

After this had been collated, I started to write the outline or summary. I had tried many times to write a story without an outline or summary, and would often start off with a hiss and a roar, only to fall into despair each time I found myself lost. With firm plot lines in place this could not happen. Even if the so-called writing muse left me, I could still blunder along with the story line, knowing that I could come back and adjust things when I got the writing bug back.

Writing is like a muscle that needs to be worked in order to use it efficiently. At the start of this process, it would take me over an hour to get into my ‘creative mood’. Each time I sat down at the computer, I would re-read something I had written, read something someone else had written, or look at random stuff on the internet, and wait for my muse to strike. Since I only had limited time to write, this process soon drained away all my productivity. But the more I wrote, the less time I needed to delve into the creative mood. Now, I can simply sit down at a computer and start typing. I need very little time to flick that creative switch, and it is purely due to perseverance and determination. I just needed to strengthen my writing muscles.

My outlines were written on a scene by scene basis. Sometimes, I had lots of information on which to set the scene. Other times, I had one line.

Often I would start to plot a scene by writing down exactly what information I wanted to express, which characters I wanted to introduce, background information that needed to be included or implied, and the world building that needed to be explained. Sometimes I wrote more about a scene in the summary than I did it the actual scene. Here are some examples taken directly from my scene summaries.

It could be a feeling or mood I wanted to express: Hungry. Hot. Cold. Tired.

It could be a dialogue line I wanted to use: “. . . the world already has the name Jake Pierce on their lips.”

It could be as simple as this description after she falls from the train in Girl Behind Glass: Waits for people to come and find her. Doesn’t really like her uncle. Gruff and annoying.

Or a line such as this one, which I used in reference to Willow and Bracken in both Girl Behind Glass and Girl Beneath Stars: Shoulder to shoulder but not touching.

It could be more detailed like this explanation of living on the outside in Girl Beneath Stars, which has general ideas, as well as lines which ended up word for word in the finished novel: Hunting rabbits for food. Rabbits are the only source of meat that flourishes on the desolate land. Maybe Devon and Willow out hunting? Show the difference in her. More adapted to outside life. Less squeamish. Flashback to first seeing the rabbit get killed by the kids. Stop just before she is about to skin it and explain how Willow is a little despondent about things. She can see how putting your passion into saving the earth like Jake does while in the protected area is understandable as you develop fondness for your surroundings and they in turn capture your senses with the scent of nostalgia. But not out here. Here it is a dirty world and cruel. There are no fond memories here. There is nothing that breeds the seeds of nostalgia in this landscape. Describe landscape. Makes her wonder if Nuovo was not so bad after all. Out of sight out of mind. If we did not witness nature and its suffering at our hands how could we protest it. It’s easier this way. It is the difference between this rabbit appearing on my plate as delicate drumsticks and the feeling of the grip of the skin as you rip the fur from its back and the relative ease with which you can twist its head from its body. I never knew life outside the dome. Everything was new to me. Living in Nuovo was simpler. Things were done with ease, I guess that’s because things were done for me. Each part of my life was planned or mapped, predetermined based on my past choices.

Once everything was recorded in an orderly fashion in one place, I started to write.

The next post will be published on 17th September.

Behind the Glass | Writing | Pen to Paper

*If you haven’t read Girl Behind Glass yet, it is currently free in the Kindle store – http://goo.gl/KUGZrA

Behind the Glass | Dreaming | Inspiration

inspiration

I gathered inspiration anywhere I could. Other Books. TV Shows. Movies. Conversations. Friends. Family. Places. Photos. Articles. My own experiences and memories. But mainly it is the feelings evoked by these things which inspired certain aspects of my writing.

Here are some examples:

A scene I watched between Matt Saracen and his father on Friday Night Lights inspired the relationship between Luke and his father.

Spending time on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand inspired the Protected Area.

My friend’s barn and the farm I grew up on inspired the place setting of Dune and Jake’s home.

An article on overpopulation and overconsumption inspired aspects of the Establishment and the world around it.

A girl I know inspired Willow’s beautiful red hair.

Wolverine inspired Jake’s frown.

A photo of dry and cracked earth inspired the outside.

My father teaching me to skin a rabbit inspired the rabbit hunting scene.

I’ve started to use Pinterest to gather my inspiration. There isn’t too much on there yet, but I hope to use it more in the books to come.

The next post will be published on 10th September.

Behind the Glass | Writing | Organisation

*If you haven’t read Girl Behind Glass yet, it is currently free in the Kindle store – http://goo.gl/KUGZrA

Behind the Glass | Dreaming | Characters

characters

Names. That seems to be the question asked most when discussing the characters of my novels. How did you choose the names? Why did you choose the names?
Until I found the recent document of my first attempt of writing the story, I believed Willow was always Willow. This was the name she came with and the one I couldn’t change. (If you care to read the first few words I wrote on the story back in 2010, click here. As you will see, Willow was called Darce. I forgot about that.) Bracken was originally Talon, a character from another story I had written, but when his personality morphed, he was no longer that character, everything about him had changed so much, including his physical appearance, I could no longer keep the name. Talon belonged to someone else, a boy with a beautiful smile and a golden halo of curls. So Bracken became Bracken, and when Ash came along, it was at that point, I realised there was a theme to my names. I had two choices. Change some of the names, or embrace it and theme-name an entire city. Despite the hesitation I felt, I went with the latter. This brought about names such as Dune, Bear, Skylark and Falcon. It made naming characters that were from Nuovo fun, and rather easy.

The Mudders were another story. Some of the names changed from the first draft to the last because it was pointed out that quite a few of them began with D. Why? I have no idea. I guess I like the letter.
When choosing names there are many methods I employ. Sometimes a character simply comes with a name, such as Luke. Other times, a little research into the meaning behind the names is involved. Or, it is just a matter of trying out different names until one sticks. None of my characters are based on real people, although some share traits of people I know. For example, Granny Ava’s snoring is a direct re-telling of my Nana’s sleep patterns. When my family stayed with my Nana, she and I would share a room. Being the good little girl that I was, I disliked telling my Nana to shut up, but they were the only words which would stop her frightful snoring. Simply telling her to be quiet, or giving her a gentle shake wasn’t enough.

Each of my characters needed to have their own stories, their own motivations for the choices they made, and not simply because it suited the plot. There were a few characters cut from the story because of this, those that did not add to the story line, and then there were those that were developed because they did. Originally, Bracken had an older brother called Narcissus. I liked this name so much, I gave it to a minor character that was later introduced in the Boy in Uniform story, though he is known as Narc.

Here is a brief overview of the three main characters:

Character Willow

Willow Stanton is the main protagonist of the series and the perspective through which Girl Behind Glass and Girl Beneath Stars is told. It is her story. A story where she has led a sheltered and naive life under the protection of the dome and the watchful eyes of the Establishment. She has no idea of life before the dome, and lives believing whole heartedly in everything the Establishment tells her. Her dream is to join the Guardians so she can see what life is like outside the dome. She is focussed on her goal and knows what she wants. When she finds herself outside the dome, she is shaken, and must adjust the way she looks at life, and what she believes to be true.

Character Bracken

At the beginning of the story, Bracken Rush is Willow’s best friend. He is one of the only people she knows who is willing to question certain aspects of life within the dome, the boy who is in love with her, and the son of the governor of Nuovo. He goes through the greatest transformation during the story with the help of the serum, resulting in conflicts between him and almost everyone he loves. He loves Willow at the beginning of the story, and still loves her at the end, though the type of love changes. After the introduction of the serum, Bracken is left tormented. Plagued with violent tendencies that had no place in his life before, it changes him so greatly, he no longer knows who he is. Boy in Uniform is told from his perspective.

Character Luke

Luke Forbes is a laid back, happy-go-lucky guy with a smile that melts hearts. Since he is more of a people person, than a cause person, he is willing to see the good in most people, although, Bracken’s close relationship with Willow, starts Luke and Bracken’s friendship off on rocky ground. His struggle comes through the relationship with his father who has turned to alcohol in an effort to ease the guilt he feels over the death of Luke’s mother. His father would often take his feelings of guilt out on Luke, and this is when Granny Ava stepped in and took Luke under her wing. Luke admires Willow for the resilience she has shown and her willingness to learn new things.

The next post will be published on 3rd September.

Behind the Glass | Dreaming | Inspiration

*If you haven’t read Girl Behind Glass yet, it is currently free in the Kindle store – http://goo.gl/KUGZrA