Sunday, July 20, 2014

Day 349 of 365: Breakfast Interview

I always wake up way earlier than my husband. In terms of getting things done, there's not much I can do until he wakes up (the only drawback to a super open floor plan is that sound echos like nothing else). The only real option is to plunk down in front of the laptop, which I've been trying to avoid (since there are few things in this world as soul-unsatisfying as sitting down to your laptop first thing in the morning). So, as quietly as I could, I made myself some breakfast, sat down at my kitchen table, and conducted an early morning interview over breakfast. With myself.

I've mentioned before that, despite my original decision not to, I'm going to attempt a third year of NaNoWriMo. I have the beginnings of an idea for a YA novel (I cringe at that title but, meh, what can I do? The story is about a 16-year-old and a lot gets lost if I try to change the age). It's mostly background at this point, with most of the plot still uncharted.

As I've also mentioned before, I've been trying to do a "morning meditation" with my coffee, sitting and sipping and trying not to think of anything in particular. That hasn't exactly been the biggest success: something pops into my head and I abandon my coffee yoga in light of completing whatever it is I suddenly realized I needed to complete.

Today, I sat down with my breakfast and my coffee, looked out the patio door, and essentially asked myself 20 questions.

Silently, of course. Because: 1) I have a loud voice and can easily wake up anyone in the house, and 2) It's accepted human behavior to think intensely to yourself. It's considered insanity to talk to yourself.

But I asked the questions any person attempting to write a novel: who is the main character? Who are his or her friends? What is the catalyst for everything that's going on in the book? What are the obstacles? What are the initially flawed or inefficient ways of overcoming these obstacles? What actions happen in the character's life to drive the story forward? What is the ultimate decision that they have to make?

You're not going to get all the answers you want, but at least thinking them puts the questions somewhere in your mind, allowing whatever it is you've got concocting in your brain to focus and potentially narrow. A proper story arc is a lost concept these days; all I have to do is point to the meandering mess that was the Twilight franchise as a starter. Thinking up the world and characters and plot in very specific ways can help create a good and dynamic story.

Of course, NaNoWriMo is not for another three and a half months -- and some consider it blasphemy to think of ideas before the month begins -- but I like playing by my own rules as a writer. Which includes interviews with myself while my nightowl of a husband sleeps in.

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