Freebie: Figured It Out

One of the things I am working on at the moment is a story called Learning Curve. It’s about Koit and Atlas and Sera, and what happens when the shit hits the fan, essentially, as the three of them have sort of lived in a careful balance.

Before I could start writing, I had to sit down and figure out how a few different things happened, and one of them was writing out how the scene went when Atlas finally put two and two together.

Title: Figured it Out

Rating: PG

Wordcount: 429

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Musing on external conflict in my own writing

I’ve always known that writing conflict–real conflict, I mean, rather than the sort that can be classified as melodrama–is a weak point of mine. It’s mostly because I tend to be character-oriented rather than situation-oriented, but I think there’s also a part of me that just shies away from real conflict, from events that might in some way break my characters.

They’re my babies! I don’t want to kill, harm, or otherwise maim my children.

This was something that I realized after I read Hunger Games, and is one of the reasons that I ended up loving the series so much, despite being largely uninterested in the third book: Suzanne Collins helped me to realize that I am afraid of breaking my characters. She helped me realize that, because I am afraid of this, I will never write something that is as heart-wrenching as Hunger Games was for me.

It was a breakthrough! I decided then and there: the next story I write, I am going to kill my children. Metaphorically, definitely, maybe literally as well. I am going to make them psychologically different by the end of the story, by way of bad shit happening.

But I didn’t. I wrote Relativity and nothing like that happened. I was (and am) largely dissatisfied with the story because of that; it was supposed to be significant, but it ended up just flopping when I got to that part, because I had no idea how to write it and so the characters squirmed out at the last minute.

I guess this is where I get in trouble for not being the kind of writer who plans ahead. 99% of the time when I start a story, I have no idea where it is going. I have no idea of the ending. Rarely do I even know what the story is about. All I have, most of the time, are the characters.

They’re the most important part of the story, in the end, but I am just not good at creating external conflict. I feel like that fact weakens my own writing a lot.

I am hoping that with writing the Lin story with Penny K. Moss, I will be able to get a little better at creating external conflict, ’cause she’s superb at that shit. But I still need to be good at writing that on my own.

And the only way to get good at it is to write more! My official word count for November is 93,349 words, for Pete’s sake, I’d better be good at the making myself write part by now. Even though at the moment I am still slightly burnt out from writing ninety-three thousand words; I haven’t written in a week.

Except for that little bit with Koit an Atlas. Hmm. Why not?

I do always try to go with inspiration wherever it shows up. /Loooooks at Koit and Atlas. C’mere, you two. Bring Sera with you, and we’ll see about Riley on the way.

A look at my self-talk

In filling out questions for my interview at Blak Rayne Books for December, I stumbled across some random inspiration. This is the question, and my answer:

Who is your favorite character, which you’ve created? And why?

I think Atlas, from Trust Me, is probably my favorite of the moment. He’s a redhead, first and foremost (I might be biased) but the other thing I really like about him is that he can handle Koit. I didn’t intend for him to be an ass, but when Koit ended up being the way he was Atlas wound up being one right back. I don’t think Koit’s the kind of person who inspires the best in people!

I kind of want to write something about that, now: Atlas’ adventures in teaching Koit to act like a semi-normal person… or at least one who is slightly less offensive. Atlas would have his hands full, I think.

Maaaan, brain, the next story is supposed to be about Sera. I know you don’t want to write about her and her jealousy issues and her insecurity, but that’s what the next story’s supposed to be. Ballet is for Pussies, remember?

You should not be thinking about how you really want to explore that line between what Atlas wants and what Koit makes Atlas want, and how Atlas learns to tell the difference. I know you wanted to add that to Trust Me, but there were word count constraints, if you remember correctly. So don’t think about it.

Ballet is for Pussies comes first, okay? I know you’re bored by it because you know what happens at the end, but you need to write it, so then everyone else will know.

And when you’re done with that, you can write An Exercise in Humanitarianism or whatever wacky-ass title you’re going to give the Teaching-Koit-to-be-not-rude story.

“First lesson: Using your powers to make me say yes when I said no before is a dick move. Additionally–”
“Yeah, but, Atlas–”
“Second lesson: interrupting people is also a dick move.”
“Can I talk now?”
“Yes.”
“You’re being a dick, you know.”
“Quite aware.”
“So why are you lecturing me on being a dick, when you’re being a dick?”
“Because you need to know the rules before you can break them consciously.”
“Can we fuck?”
“No.”
“Please?”
“I just said–Koit don’t you dare touch–I can’t believe… mmmngh, what was I saying?”
“Can we fuck?”
“I hate you.”
“That’s not a no.”
“We’re going to have this lesson.”
“When I’m through blowing you, maybe.”

No, brain, see, this is what I was just talking about. /frowny face. I appreciate that you are being creative after being burned out on writing for two days, but I just think you’re directing it at the wrong thing. Now…

“I swear, aaaah. I swear. We’ll have the lesson. Eventually.”
Koit didn’t argue, but he was fairly sure that the lesson could be derailed for the foreseeable future.

Ok, I give up. Maybe this does happen before Sera meets Riley.