I spent all day yesterday fighting off a migraine. A BIG one trying to hit me like a truck. I woke up at 3am this morning because of it. It hurt that bad. I ended up taking 1200mg of Ibuprophen in one shot and a cup of coffee with it on an empty stomach hoping to get rid of it. Something I normally don’t do because it can tear up your stomach. But the pain… it’s the kind you expect any moment your eyes and nose will start bleeding kind of pain. Of course they don’t but you kind of wish they did so that maybe the pressure in your head would stop.
And of course Mom had to know what was wrong at the dinner table. “What’s wrong, you want to talk about it?” I just looked at her and said, “My head hurts.” It’s like this every time. Now if I were truly upset or pissed about something, the dinner table is the worst place and time to call it forward for discussion. Especially with kids at the table. Yet she does this every time. Every. Time. “Oh, I didn’t know your head hurt.” I do feel like she is trying to pick a fight with me during those times. What I don’t understand is why.
Dad poked his head in the room yesterday and realized just how little space we have in my bedroom/living room after yet again he said that I “need to get a dresser up here.” I asked him where I was going to put it. We’ve got four people up here and not one damn dresser. All our clothes are stuffed in bags and baskets all over the damn place. So he walked around up there like he was going to have the answer right away and… all he came up with was “I guess I better hurry up and finish this room.”
The hallway landing is clogged with shit that doesn’t even belong to us. The room above the kitchen is packed right full of boxes and shit my parents claim is all mine that I don’t recall ever putting in there. Little Bear’s soon to be room just barely fits the two mattresses the boys are sleeping on right now. And my bedroom/living room is holding everything that we have brought from the apartment thus far, plus a few things that were already here.
I don’t need to wonder why I am having migraines. Or why after I took that much Ibuprophen I had weird dreams only to wake up to the sound of my father shouting at 5:30am to find no one shouting. No one else awake. Not a soul. No computers on. No TV on. Nothing to make the sound I heard. I do remember my dream (well it’s fading now) and no one I could see in the dream was shouting either. I just know that as I was waking up, I was thinking “What’s he yelling for now?” My dad wears a CPAP and doesn’t normally even talk in his sleep.
But I do have children that talk in their sleep. And I did a head count. All accounted for and where they are supposed to be. An hour later and it’s still quiet here so I don’t know what I heard. I’m still tired but in 30 minutes it will be time for meds and I’ll have to wake them up. I am so not ready for the day at all. I don’t like waking up like this, left wondering what the hell happened to wake me up, and stuck with lingering echo memories of past relationships. Like those with Scholar Owl’s father.
And now two days ago the fire alarm just outside my door here has started chirping like the ones at the apartment. I need to tell my dad it needs a new battery. At least it’s not a hard wired system so it will be taken care of in a few minutes. It doesn’t even chirp every minute on the minute like the ones at the apartment, so at first I thought I was hearing things. I don’t even notice it during the day when everyone is doing stuff. Just when things are like right now. Ghostly quiet with just me alive and awake.
Ah well, let’s focus on the book shall we? Because I do have concerns about that too. As I said before my personal goal for word count is 60k words. I’m 2000 words from the halfway point and I’m trying not to freak out. I was starting to feel like the outline was speeding up, as in not have enough material for the second half. So I got to looking at it and realized a couple of things.
- I made a point in the beginning to flesh out the key plot events
- I failed to flesh out key plot events in the later half
- my subconscious mind saved my bacon with the romance I didn’t actively plan for
I have some things in the outline that the characters do that to me make perfect sense. And they make sense to me because I’ve been writing these characters in short stories for years. Many of them are hand written, tucked away somewhere in boxes. Some are stored away on floppy disks. Others are locked in a private setting. You get the idea here. The point is they are programmed in my head now. So I planned for them to do things based on who they are and the relationships they all have with each other.
What it comes down to is your entire cast of characters are all connected – or mine are at least. Even the villain doesn’t make sense if so and so isn’t friends with this other guy. Why kidnap the princess if the hero is in love with the prince? See what I’m saying here? But in order for the reader to understand all of that dynamic, you have to show that dynamic. You have to show that so in so is friends with this other guy so that your villain makes sense to the reader, not just to you.
And that’s why yesterday I had to write a “fluff” piece that isn’t really a fluff piece for the book. The entire episode is focused on a date. I realized that it wasn’t going to be enough for Thomas and Rhae to get past their awkward declarations to make later parts of the story resonate. I wanted readers to see that their romance is built up from their friendship, the trust they share, the work they do together, and that they have this bond. Whether I succeed in that is for the reader to decide, but I have to put that effort in.
When I started building my outline, it was to give me an idea of what I needed. Now I need to start planning what the reader needs too and readjust the outline. I’m even finding seeds in there for another book.
My primary concern is whether or not I will hit 50k words before I reach the end of the story. If I don’t when I end the story, I’ve already decided I’ll go back to where I’ve used the “fade to black” transitions between episodes just write in the missing stuff. Like I skipped/glossed/rushed over the reading of the will and probate process. Yes probate takes time – a long time sometimes and I feel that in this book it isn’t unreasonable for it to extend throughout the story. Right from the beginning I wanted Celeste to handle that because I didn’t want her to be a main player in the plot. Given who she is she could easily overtake the story. I don’t want that. I mentioned her lawyer friend, who I did want to have a bigger role in the plot, but then he never made an appearance. Aside from the sex scene I intentionally skipped, I can’t think of anything else at the moment that is missing but I’m sure the holes are there.
Then again who knows? If I finish the story before November ends, I may go back and write those “lost episodes” regardless of word count. But for now I feel driven to press forward.
Oh wait, I do feel that my combat scenes are short. It’s not that I think I’m rushing them so much as I’m not sure what to tell the reader. Am I telling enough? People don’t fight forever. Bullets have limited supply. You can only last so long. So this was kind of a beef I had with anime like Dragonball Z. I loved the story, but the fights… felt too damn long. Not sure how Naruto or Bleach pulled it off differently, but they did.
And maybe this is why I feel like my outline is too short? Everything is moving so quickly. I have never had an outline before so in the past things just unfolded according to the characters and their reactions to each other. There would be a lot of meandering. That’s not happening here at all. I’m not sure if this makes sense, but it feels like it’s a very aggressive way to write. Maybe assertive is a better word? Either way, I kind of like having an outline for a sense of direction and purpose.
Now if only I could do the same with moving.