Feb 18, 2010

Thesaurus Thursday in which I hesitantly reveal my results of step 2...

Lazily expanding my vocabulary one commenter's synonym at a time.

Scared, intimidated, terrified, hesitant...okay, I was hoping the string of synonyms would validate the name of today's post, but frankly, I'm super tired and going to bed.  Yes, it's Tuesday and it's 9:00.  But Scheduled Post by Blogger will be friend and post this when I am on my ninth hour of sleep.  Here's hopin'!

Okay, remember step 2?  No?  Go here and read.  Yup, do it.  Then, suggest things and tear my result apart.  Seriously, I want to hear ripping sounds!  No, not that kind of ripping.  Shredding, teeth out, blood curdling, thrashing.  I want my paragraph to be a wishbone in the end, only the best part remains.  In the meantime, I'll be writing down the wishes I want to use when the wishbone is available.  Assuming I get the long end.

I know you'll still like me, so here it is (step 1's in parenthesis, just to help):

S1:(Two teen boys discover they are to become stepbrothers, shortly after they each realize the other is gay.) Tina suggested changes, I'm still processing them, but the point is that things can and will change.  Even when you're on word 45,000, things can change.

Step 2: Scottie is wondering if being gay is what’s wrong with him.  Justin is wondering what to do about being gay.  The boys first meet at a high school GSA meeting.  Three hours later their lives collide when they learn they are to become stepbrothers.  Scottie struggles with his identity and friends.  Justin struggles with his reputation and father.  At first, their attraction for each other can’t be denied.  But, soon, something stronger develops.  (9:00 EDIT: Truthfully there is a different ending to the paragraph, but I am not ready to divulge that info to the public.  What I've said is correct, but I am not elaborating, sorry guys.  I can't give it all away.)  It helped me to look at this paragraph on the back of the books on my desk.  It gives you a good perspective.  Unfortunately, The Hunger Games and Hero were the two I had and they're not very good inspiration, but they follow the same idea.

Using the instructions for Step 2, from the link up above, does my paragraph accomplish the goals?  Does it need to be more exciting, imaginative, or enticing?  Tomorrow I'll bust out my fancy board and we'll add step three.  Anita, I feel compelled to tell you that the most recent use of that board, stay tuned while I get the DL.

Now it's 10:00...how did that take me an hour?


  1. Two things~

    1. Is this story told in two POVs? If so, I would do two paragraphs.

    2. You aren't laying it all out there. This is a snowflake, so you are supposed to pretty much tell the ending. Instead of saying, something stronger develops, you should tell us exactly what that means.

    Here's mine. It kinda sucks:D

    Lexie thought everything was looking up when she left her foster parents and moved across the country to go to college. And then she had the first bad dream. If dreaming of carrying out a grisly murder wasn’t bad enough, she caught the morning news to discover the victim in her dream was killed the very same way she dreamt. When she starts poking around, she catches the attention of a hot young detective, and it’s not the kind of attention she wanted from him. The more she digs, the more she leads the authorities and herself to believe that she is, in fact, the killer. When it becomes clear that the detective is going to be the next victim, Lexie is forced to face the killer to save his life.

    One thing I struggle with is that there are two threads to this story, not only is it a suspense it's a romance. So, it feels like I'm focusing on the suspense plot and not the romantic one. What do you think? Should I include both?

  2. Tina - Thanks for totally calling me out! I totally half-assed that, and it shows. Heather helped me fine tune it a little bit, but she did her duty of letting me make the decisions. The book is from both the boy's POV's. So, thanks for giving me the umph to attempt two separate paragraphs. I like it.

    As for your paragraph, yes you need some of the romance in there. Let's see what my commenter's suggest and I'll think on it for the day.

    Also, I've added an edit to my post, re: the last sentence of the paragraph.

  3. 1. What's a GSA meeting?
    Jon, if you don't want to give away the ending, just make sure you have it down in the paragraph for yourself (which you probably already do). I wish I had a wip to work on the snowflake method right now, but I will be checking back to your posts when I do!
    2. Tina, you could put at the end the detective she has fallen for is the next victim or something like that to show the romantic side too.

  4. Kelly - 1. Good point, don't assume people know what you're talking about. GSA=Gay-Straight Alliance, thanks for pointing that out.
    Check on having it written down for me and select others.
    Great advice for Tina!

  5. Honestly I don't want to say "Looking good Jon!" Ok I do, but then you might kick me off your blog :) I'm still working on yesterday's 15 word thing. I'll let you know when I've got it. I love books told from 2 POVs I like the idea of having two paragraphs too.

  6. I'm not sure you should feed my insanity.

    Also, regarding your ? on my last post: I got the idea for the voice exercise when I was looking for a sewing book and saw my yearbook and then turned around and saw NICK & NORAH. I'm always thinking about voice and so the idea just came together.

  7. Crystal - Thanks for liking the idea. It wasn't planned that way, but I started writing it October and it just sort of happened. I am favoring on character, though, so my rewrite will help with that too.

    Good luck on your sentence and paragraph. I look forward to seeing them come together when you send me the WiP on Monday.

    Anita - You're never cease to amaze me.

  8. Hmm - I'm no expert, but the things you mention (Scottie struggles with his identity and friends. Justin struggles with his reputation and father.) are very general. Is this supposed to be SPECIFIC turning points?

  9. December...care to elaborate? I am not sure how much more specific I can get without revealing things. Maybe rewritten, it'll be more elusive.

  10. Also, I think I need to state that I am not even sure what's going to happen yet. I am still learning about the characters and where they'll go. So, that generic paragraph can become more specific over time. I just have to think of what's going to fill in the blanks first.

  11. So playing around with things. What are the thoughts on this structure? I can elaborate later.

    Scottie is wondering if being gay is what’s wrong with him, while he struggles with his identity and friends.
    Justin is wondering what to do about being gay, as he wrestles with his reputation and father.
    The boys first meet at a high school Gay-Straight Alliance meeting. Three hours later their lives collide when they discover they are to become stepbrothers. At first, their attraction for the other can’t be denied. But, soon, a stronger bond binds them together.

  12. I like the new structure. I am curious, however, how their worlds would "collide" when they found out their parents are getting married. Had they never met before?

  13. That's correct. There parents weren't dating in secret, they just hadn't taken the step to meet families.

  14. These exercises look like a lot of fun... I'll have to try some, once I have time and a reliable internet connection!

    Look at you going all "I'm an author, follow my instructions...!"

    Rock on.

  15. Hey, I'm with Kelly. The point of doing the thing with the snowflake is to help yourself get the novel together more you shouldn't have to post what you don't want to divulge. I like the opportunity I am getting from your very generous posting to see how it works for myself. (I also did my own para but it came out really long and I'm not even to the end yet, so we'll see what I do with that.) My feedback yesterday may have been based on not understanding the point of the exercise and as you said with mine your sentence summary is doing it's job and it will change over time. Same with this section. What I think is vague here is Scottie and Justin's thoughts, specifically and respectively, "what's wrong with him" and "what to do about being gay" those phrases maybe could be more pointed and specific. But it seems like that is what you figure out as you go. Isn't the next step character summaries.

    Thanks for doing this. It is such a huge service!

  16. T - The next step is character summaries. Good job. I am so f*ing nervous about it. But, I sincerely appreciate your input on my sentence and paragraph. I am hoping my stating that things are okay to change isn't dissuading anyone from providing suggestions and critique!!

    Also...me doing you guys a service, OMG, this is so selfish of me to be doing, I think. Begging for your input, unabashedly telling you to shove off if you ain't got nothing good to say. Ugh, I hate 'ain't' I hereby ban that from use at my blog.

  17. No, I must DISAGREE. It's a service.

  18. Hmm, I think I'm with Tina on this one. Felt kind of milk-toasty to me. I didn't get the power behind the "disasters." You tossed off their attraction for one another, but (if I'm reading correctly) this would be a HUGE disaster. You've got the one guy who thinks being gay is like a disability, and another guy who has status to think of being gay isn't exactly his number one choice of status. Is that right? And they're attracted to one another. AND they have to live together now too?? Dang, THAT's disastrous! Give me more, man. More, more, more. Not necessarily more words, but more POWER.

    I'm too lazy to do my paragraph right now ...

  19. I am going to respectfully decline to do mine in public. You know, might jinx the whole getting actual words into the novel if I talk about it too much.

    And, I think that it's okay if the paragraph is a little bare now, I imagine the exercise is just to explore your topic now, and see what's behind it. Like you said, it'll change as you know more of what actually happens. I think that what you have is a great jumping off point.

    I'm holding off on showing you mine, so it'll all be fresh when you do see it!

  20. Ali - I really appreciate your input. You've given me a lot to think about...I've been doing a lot of thinking lately...we'll see if any epiphanies come along for the ride too.

    Heather - Thanks for taking the time to comment. I understand not revealing your para, since your WiP is ALMOST done. I'll cut you some slack.

  21. Okay, Jonathon. I'm going to go there.

    S1-I just realized, it isn't right. This is supposed to be your one sentence pitch. If you were to use the sentence you currently have, the agent would not know what the book is about.

    S2-Remember. You are supposed to start with the inciting incident then each sentence should be in the (three act structure). This happens. This happens. Then, this happens. You are throwing a bit too much info about the characters in here. The why is for the character profiles you only need to show what happens, not why.

    Hope this helps. It's helping me. I'm thinking about doing a snowflake on the MS I'm currently stuck on.

  22. Jon, I really like the idea of your story and I'm looking forward to watching it evolve. Thanks for sharing!

    I haven't done step two for Hearie. I've started. Three times. Then I got frustrated, so I gave up and wrote the first five pages instead.

  23. Sarah - Five pages is good, but one of the points of the snowflake method is to see if you have enough to get passed five, ten, 150 pages. Obviously, it can be done without the method, but I specifically decided to use it based on that point.

    Tina Lynn - THAT is the fervor I am looking for, baby! Thanks. Yesterday I sat for ELEVEN hours trying to rewrite the sentence and paragraph and keep a few hairs on my head...today, I feel like it'll be fun to rewrite.

  24. Sarah: FWIW I struggle with working this stuff out before writing too. The idea that helps me (I mentioned it in the comments on Friday's blog) is that neither the sentence and the para are set in stone. They start off as 'this is the novel I am going to write', and as things develop they change till eventually they are 'this is the novel that I have written'.

    Of course I'm coming at it from the angle of *shush don't tell* not actually having read any 'rules' etc of the Snowflake Method, but I think it's reasonable to say that no one can entirely predict what changes might occur in a novel. SO describing what you think it's going to be is fine, in the first instance.

    Hmmm I kind of went off on one there didn't I? I'm just passing on thoughts gleaned from elsewhere :)

    Speaking for myself, I've not been able to stop myself writing down snippets of dialogue, description, character sketches as I go along. I'm doing my best with these planning angles but I need to write to find things out. I guess I'm unlikely ever to become a totally plan-driven writer.

    In other news - I'm excited that HEARIE now has five pages *rubs hands together in glee*

  25. Okay, I'm going to try and visit here a little more regularly so I don't comment spam you while catching up, but here are my responses to your "Step 2".

    My first thought was, "What is the relationship of these two before the GSA meeting?" I mean, I'm assuming if 3 hours after the meeting they find out they're going to become step-brothers that they are aware that their respective parent is in what I would assume is a semi-serious relationship at least.

    My second thought was, "Where is the drama?" Now, since I don't know how things occur in the story, these suggestions might by void. However, the line about Scottie might be a little better served if it hit on the external disaster rather than the internal, comment on how his reputation and friends are effected, rather than his worries. The same is true of Justin's sentence.

    The way I usually approach my abstract (the single sentence description) and my paragraph description is to think of it like a movie preview. The abstract is the teaser trailer and the paragraph is the full length trailer.

    My examples from "This Rising Darkness" from before I actually started writing.

    Abstract - Five individuals must band together to stop the evil they unleashed.

    Paragraph - What do a noble, a soldier, a street-thief, an outcast and a retired performer all have in common? Nothing, that is until they are duped into releasing the largest threat the world has ever faced. Now they race against time and the group that played them to end the magic they have awakened. Jaron, Alexander, Miktan, Siala and Matthew must band together to find a way to stop the spell that threatens the world. The ancient magic is forgotten to all but only a few, and to even them, the effects are unknown.

    The problem with my paragraph is that it doesn't hit on what they will face specifically, or even really generally. That is something that when I go back and rework it will be in there (now that I have a better idea of what they're facing).

    Anyway, you have a good start, and always remember that my criticism is that of an amateur novelist with about 5 unfinished novels.

  26. Jonathon - I appreciate the loaded comment! Thanks for putting a comparison out there.

  27. << Five pages is good, but one of the points of the snowflake method is to see if you have enough to get passed five, ten, 150 pages. >>

    And this is SO my weak point, which explains the sixteen or so 30-page-starts I never finished. I really ought to make myself try this with you, even though I find it somewhat aversive. It might be good for me.