Is namhaid an cheird gan í a fhoghlaim.
The craft is an enemy when not learned.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Week 28, part deux: Writing the Midpoint

So last week Anah showed us the blocking for the midpoint scene. This week (a few days late), I have a chunk of that scene least in draft form. With blank spots left for details I couldn't remember in the moment.

This is one of the big advantages to writing on paper. On the computer, I would have felt compelled to go find the appropriate information. On paper, I was free to leave that information blank to come back to it later—perhaps because I know I'll be transcribing it all later anyway.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

[Anah] Week 28: Writing the Midpoint

Back after a brief hiatus! The first image will give you a glimpse of what the exercise this week is about, the second is my work on the exercise this week.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Weeks 27-28: Writing the Climax

This week, I'm adding Nico's point of view to Anah's spinning of the climax. With Anah's vision of the scene in mind, this was easier than I'd expected—"spinning" exercises aren't usually my cup of tea.

Monday, May 16, 2011

[Anah] Week 27 & 28: Writing the Climax

This exercise was harder than I'd expected—it took me a while to get my head around doing the Spinning work for a mundane, contemporary scene. I use techniques like this for fantasy/urban fantasy work, usually, because the stream of consciousness allows me to explore the symbols and images that make those kinds of scenes gripping.

Anyway, here's the end result...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weeks 27-28: Writing the Climax

So, we decided to skip a week of exercises. Not a week of posts, though. The set of exercises that comes between the "Scene and Sequence" and the "Writing the Climax" sections were essentially repeats of things we've done before. We read them, talked about them, and decided the answers weren't worth posting. So. Moving on!

This week, it's all climax all the time.

We split up the exercises so I'm posting parts one and two and Anah will be posting part three later on. Then next week I'll post part four.

These exercises show how the climax will come together, and reflects the changes Anah and I discussed after my revelation two weeks ago. I'm pretty excited about how it's going to come together in Anah's exercise.

The Story So Far: Dianne is happy to do lists, but unhappy to repeat work.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

[Anah] Weeks 21-24: Building Scenes and the Scene Sequence, part two

James: First Meeting with Nico
James isn’t sure what he's expecting. In his mind there's this vague shape labeled “Nanny” and someone's going to come along and fit into it. He isn’t expecting a woman, so the shape is rather androgynous and sometimes has an umbrella, thanks to Bianca’s endless re-watching of Mary Poppins. What he's hoping for is simply comfortable. Someone a little warm and squishy. 

What he gets is Nico. In retrospect, he has to admit that the name sounds suspiciously like it belongs to the kind of man you’d see oiled up and looking charming in a pair of short-shorts and a tan, but with the implication that he has more in his head than thoughts of where he's getting his next beer.

“Hi there.” Nico gives him a warm smile that fades with a resounding crash from upstairs and a long, drawn-out Daaaaadddy! from one of the kids. James’ head is spinning so fast he can’t tell which one. “Can I help you out here?”

“Please.” James shoves a tangle of towels, swimwear, and backpacks into Nico’s arms. “Snacks.  In the kitchen.” He bolts upstairs toward the wailing.

As he dodges a guilty-looking Bianca and finds a whining Vali in the bathroom—the step-stool to the sink overturned—a little voice in the back of his head is muttering about how good it'll be to have a man around who can pull off the short-shorts.

James: First Kiss with Nico
James has never been able to resist showing off. He’s vain and he knows it. What helps is that Nico, it turns out, likes video games almost as much as the kids do. James is glad he thought to bring the last full bottle of wine upstairs with them, because he really needs to relax; he sloshes more into his glass and then Nico’s.

“This is very cool.” Nico lets go of the controller long enough to grab his wine, steering with his thumb while he takes a drink. “You’re trying to get me to spend my days off around the house, aren’t you?”

James puts the bottle down and picks up his own controller. It doesn’t take him more than three moves to go from idling on the sidelines to reducing Nico’s powercycle to fragments of light.

“I would never,” he says loftily, as the bits of Nico’s character rain down the screen. “I still need to get work done on those days.”

The words are out of his mouth before he can stop them, and when he looks over cautiously, Nico is just inches away. How did they get so close? Then James remembers that they’re sitting in the double papasan chair that slides everyone into a heap in the middle.

“I wouldn’t be any trouble,” Nico says solemnly.

“You’d be here,” James says. “It’s enough.” The words sound unkind so James demonstrates his dilemma, leaning in and brushing Nico’s mouth with his own. Yes, mere proximity is enough to make Nico a very welcome bit of trouble.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

[Dianne] Weeks 21-24: Building Scenes and the Scene Sequence, part deux

So last week was the "Firsts and Lasts" exercise, and this week is "First Encounter and Then". It's a confusing set of titles, but the difference is that last week's exercises were focused on individual characters, while this week's exercises are focused on building the relationship between the characters.

There's a whole list of potential Firsts in the relationship for us to write about. I chose the First Encounter and the First Fight. Anah will be doing two other scenes in her post later on.

First Encounter

Nico has just gotten to the point where he can relax during the interview when the phone rings. [Name] glances at the caller ID and shakes her head. "I've got to get this."

She picks up the phone and it's immediately clear that she's talking to the guy who will (if he's lucky, if he gets the job) be Nico's boss. Her boss. The next thing he hears, because he's been tuning out so as not to eavesdrop, is [Name] saying, "Here, let me put you on speaker," and then suddenly he's being introduced to James [Last Name], who is tearing his hair out about car seats and school schedules and damp patches on the kids' clothes from where their cereal splashed.

The last interview question Nico had answered was regarding a sick kid on an airplane. But what James wants to know, apparently, is how Nico would manage to get two kids out the door on time in the morning without needing to make three trips back inside for backpacks and lunchboxes and one right shoe. That, Nico has an answer for. He half-raised his kid sister while his mom worked two jobs. He knows how to maintain a schedule, how to talk to people through their frustrations, and he knows the chaos of dealing with a kid first thing in the morning.

The relief in James's voice is reassuring—Nico has nailed this interview—but Nico wonders about the man behind it. He'll find out soon enough. He's got the job, and he starts Monday.

First Fight

The kids are caked in mud from head to toe. Pretending to be frogs will do that. Nico gets between them and the back door, blocking their way until they take off their shoes and socks. "Upstairs to put your clothes in the hamper, then get ready for a bath," he tells them. "I'll meet you up there in a minute." He has to get their shoes rinsed off so they'll dry before tomorrow.

Vali grumps a little, but Nico knows it's just for show. The little boy loves bathtime. There are crayons he can use to write on the walls, and when he erases what he's written, there's no sign it was ever there. That kind of freedom to explore and make mistakes is something he cherishes.

Inside, they follow directions perfectly, waving cheerful hellos to their dad before heading up to their rooms. The kids are happy, but James looks tense and uncomfortable.

"We found a frog," Nico says. "Next week, Bianca's class starts learning about amphibians. She was pretty excited."

James doesn't like that the kids were so messy. Crawling around in the muck is dirty, and full of germs. They're kids, Nico reminds him, and dirt washes off. The kids had fun.

James knows. He was watching on the monitor. Nico is surprised by that, he'd forgotten all about the monitor system James showed him his first day on the job. It makes him a little uncomfortable that James doesn't trust him enough to leave him truly alone with the kids. On the other hand, he's still new. And they're James's kids. Nico would probably be even more paranoid than James if he had to trust a stranger with his kids. He remembers walking his kid sister to her first day of kindergarten and staring suspiciously at the teacher and the other kids. Yeah, he'd be worse than James.

Nico tells James that if it makes him uncomfortable, they won't play in the pond anymore. They're James's children and James has the right to set the rules and boundaries. James is quiet, then shakes his head. The kids had fun. Just be careful.

Of course, Nico tells him. Always.

The Story So Far: I realized, as I was writing the First Fight, that I have to talk to Anah about the crisis in the story. Because I have an Idea. This kind of thing is what's making me realize how valuable this new system is for our process. So excited!