Thursday, February 4, 2016

Update on Ace of Arts: Chapter 6

Well I finished Chapter 6, and had aspirations of writing another one, but I just didn't get around to it, because slacker.

I mentioned a few weeks back that I started writing Chapter 6, and that I got an imaginary cityscape scene and a family interaction scene out. I went ahead and completed a school scene too, which included something big for Megan's classmate Brady. And, as usual, my jaded protagonist is sulking about it.

Chapter 6 is 2,031 words, bringing the book's total to 14,161 so far.

Here's a thing: I've been using the f-word.

It hasn't been thrown around aggressively; it's only popped up a few times, and I didn't save it for powerful scenes. I just remember what high school was like, and we said some raunchy stuff. (And that didn't really change in adulthood, but I'm saying. The f-word is common in many high schools. I remember hearing it all the time even in middle school.) This is contemporary YA and the school setting is probably pretty typical. I think it makes sense that the characters would occasionally throw out curse words, even the f-bomb. But she uses it casually, not as a shortcut to showing she's the "angry youth" type, you know? Megan doesn't talk much, so she tends to make sure the words she does say have an impact. And one of the ways she gets an impact is using strong language.

I wonder how I'm going to handle the next few chapters. I don't want her to suddenly become chatty, but I do need her to have some conversations with Brady. I will probably handle it with a mixture of three techniques: Having her open up unexpectedly sometimes, having her say little but add onto her comments with attached thoughts, and having Brady sort of lampshade her tight-lipped nature by bothering her to say more (which she will either refuse to do or claim she'll tell him when she wants to). It's a battle to get words out of Megan when you're talking to her, but she speaks just enough that it's not like it's shocking if she talks (like, you know, a Silent Bob type). I don't want it to seem like she has some kind of silence vow going on. She just doesn't really want to talk to you. It's not awkwardness (well, not exactly), it's not abject rudeness, it's not shyness; she just . . . legit doesn't have a lot to say to you and doesn't want your attention, so why should she?

I've never written a character quite like this before and I'm enjoying the departure.

1 comment:

  1. Ahh this is really cool. Last book I drafted had a character who didn't really like to speak. And it was fine when she was surrounded by a crew of like seven people. It turned out super difficult when she was all alone with someone who COULDN'T speak and yet the they were in such a dire situation they had to keep continuously communicating in any way possible. Even having her say three sentences in a row felt wrong, like someone else had taken her place. I went back for a quick edit and sliced those sentences down, tossing out whatever I could.

    Somewhat silent protagonists seem to be very easy to do in visual mediums--films, video games, tv shows, etc. Some stories get away with having characters say, I dunno, fifteen lines of dialogue in a two hour feature?

    But when your character has an aversion to vocalizing words in a medium made up of words. . .it gets weird x_x Or it did for me. But it was really fun too, so I hope at least that much is the same for you.

    Quiet protagonists ftw.