Day One Progress Report

I know, I know. It’s only noon and I should focus more on writing my tale instead of posting a chronically early progress report for NaNo, but I need the thoughts marinade in the juices of what I have written thus far to bring out the flavor.

Already some interesting things about my characters have cropped up that I didn’t expect — including just how much the character named Winter really wants to leave her past behind. She really hates being tied to her past and just wants to move on. She thought she was able to move forward with her life by joining the Mech Corps for a fledgling republic, hoping she’d be sent to the Western Marches that border the Empire her republic once was part of until they seceded when the mad emperor decided to enslave nominally free people of the region to dig for supplies to fuel his war machines. Instead, her past caught up with her and, because she is suspected with being in cahoots with an insurgent group, they decided to send her back to the place she tried to escape. She couldn’t help it that her brother and uncle were part of the insurgency… She hasn’t seen either in years, but now they are holding this over her head and keeping her from leaving her past behind.

And she’s none too thrilled that her patrol-mate has apparently been told to keep an eye on her for suspicious associations and activities. Oh dear.

So it appears that the system is determined to keep her firmly in her past, which is contrary to all of her desires. They don’t know about the beatings and abuse by her foster family after her adoptive grandfather was accused of wyt– yeah… That’s still in my head and should probably stay there for now. Needless to say, her partner Josef doesn’t know the half of what parts of her past she wants to leave behind, the smallest parts being her insurgent brother and uncle.

Then the screaming starts.

Well then, I should also mention how biting the bullet and picking up Save the Cat! Writes a Novel might be one of the better purchases I’ve made with respect to writing advice. It’s gotten me to think of the plot and characters I had already started working on and developed in minor ways from two-dimensional characters and plots to something whiffing of the three-dimensional. I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon not so much reading that book, but working with some of the ideas contained therein.

I had already decided that the character I had previously called “Red” here was going to be demoted from main character to secondary character, although she has the potential to be the cooler character. Unfortunately, I realized, she won’t be the one growing in the story. She’ll go from being little freaky Ms. to slightly less freaky Ms. That’s no story, I realized last night while reading STCWAN. I mean, I knew this was the case beforehand, but the book helped me realize it. Up until then, I was doubting my decision to put Red on the backburner. No growth, no story.

Winter, on the other hand is a terrible mess. Orphaned early, first caretaker executed, taunted and bullied by her foster family and village because of her association with the first caretaker, considered an easy mark to cheat by those who control her finances and basically forgotten by the rest of her immediate family as they went out to seek their fortunes… Now that has potential for a story because she wants something she can’t have (yet anyway) and everything, past and present, is out of her control. Serious growth potential. STCWAN helped me see some elements that were missing and realize that Winter is the hero of my story, not a little weird girl dressed in scarlet. My instinct made a pretty good decision, judging from the criteria laid out in that book. Cool beans.

Am I convert? Maybe, but I’m not going to wax evangelical about it. No Cat-Witnessing here.

Anyway, I am thinking the steaks in my brain have gotten some serious marinating done gone on are ready for grilling. Ciao.

Originally posted at

5 thoughts on “Day One Progress Report

  1. Save the Cat beats are pretty great, especially when you write like I do and don’t like to know the ending until you get there. YMMV. But, I do enjoy the structure immensely. Also, in my opinion, simmering IS part of writing. So, good on you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve used a few methods of writing over the years and STC seems to be the most straightforward, which is why I’m grooving on it this time around. Many of the other techniques seem a bit futzy and, as more of a pantser or plansters, I get annoyed when there are too many details that you’re expected to know before you write.

      I usually find discovery to be my preferred method of writing. I might have a rough idea of the signposts and milestones, but they are always open to heavy modification or outright junking as I get to know the people in my little worlds.

      Sounds like you are somewhat similar as a writer. If you’re writing for NaNoWriMo this year, good luck! Consider fingers crossed for you.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Many, many thinks are emerging and I’ve filled up more than half of a spiral-bound notebook with ideas that I’ve been jotting down on the fly, just in the past three days. It should be noted that I had no intention of filling up said notebook with my chicken scratches when I picked it out of one of the daughter’s stashes to scribble a few quick ideas.

      Occasionally this happens, but rarely. Now, if only I had been better at organizing those thoughts… 😦


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