Stories · Uncategorized · writing

Writing Block: Apparently I Need an Antagonist

I’m reading a book called Write Like a Beast by Adam Lane Smith, and the first part covers character creation, with emphasis on creating the antagonist first and then the protagonist, as the antagonist drives the plot while the protagonist first reacts to trouble before getting proactive about it.

And therein lies the problem for Sheyla in book 1, probably for half the book she has no direct antagonist, no direct conflict.  Before the war there is only some tension, unease, and sadness about future changes, but there’s no direct, decisive conflict the way there is for the rest of the series where she always is fighting against something in some way.

But what kind of real, concrete antagonist can I give an 11-year-old girl that fits with a peacetime to wartime switch?  I can’t do something boring like a school bully, it would be dumb and out of place for the type of story it is (not to mention a mage bully would not be tolerated in their society).

I guess this is why dystopian stories usually start inside the dystopia, rather than before it’s taken over.

The only direct antagonist I can think of is a mage hunter, but again, that only works once it’s in the war part of the story, and at that point it doesn’t matter because there’s already trouble in her face.  But before?  I legit have no idea right now.  Maybe I could give her paranoia about aliens, or something a bit supernatural, but those seem too close to abstractions, which there are enough of already.  I can’t really have a dangerous antagonist, but it can’t be too normal…It still needs to point to danger.

Spectra · Uncategorized

2020 Goals: Figure Out How to Get Spectra Going

I feel a bit late writing this since it’s a couple weeks into the new year, but whatever, I want to join the fun since my friends wrote goal posts on writing.  Initially I thought I would only plan: “Get real life sorted out so I can do any sort of writing/storytelling again,” which still has to happen.  But…I’ve been thinking about how much I want to work on Spectra and get it going, so there is my writing goal for 2020.

Now I have two ideas about how to move forward with Spectra.  One is to complete a novel or two of the beginning with only Sheyla’s POV, to keep it simple and less intimidating.  And the other is to start drawing the comic as a whole and accept that it will likely be drawn in a way that will require redrawing later.  I’m still pretty scared to get it out into the world, I still feel like I’m not ready (but I’ll probably never feel ready so I should probably start already…) and it’s so big I don’t know how to break it down and persevere through drawing it all.

I really want to see it in comic form, but I have no patience for drawing these days given the aforementioned real life issues taking up most of my mental energy.  Meanwhile, I could work on the novel, but I never feel like I’m writing it how it’s meant to be, or that there’s too much left to vagueness.  For instance, I gloss over Sheyla’s parents without trying to develop them, but I don’t think that makes sense given that Sheyla would care about them and be affected by them but wow, I don’t want to bother, I want to get to the explosions already.

That’s the problem with kid Sheyla and the beginning of the story, there’s no action or explosions, which is not at all representative of the rest of the story.

The very beginning always feels flat, like it’s colorless and muted.  Maybe I’d be better off skipping all of it in the novel.  Except I need to answer my own questions about certain events that happen at that point, and I don’t want to leave them all vague.  So I still have to do the work of figuring it out even if I don’t novelize it.

Probably I’m just overthinking and being too anxious over it all and it’d be better to just get started rather than worrying about polishing every single facet of the story, but ARGH! Things still bother me!

Skipping ahead isn’t really possible, but maybe condensing down the backstory elements would help…See it all flows nicely in my head, it would make for a nice movie or tv series beginning.  I don’t think it’s innately boring, it’s just frustrating to write.  It’s missing those sorts of scenes I’m really excited to get to, the kind the middle is usually full of.

I think I’ve rambled enough on this post, it was supposed to be about setting goals, not venting story problems.  Anyway, so that’s all on my mind and I’ll see what can come of Spectra if I keep focusing on it.