I am kaitco

a writer's log

iStruggle Saturday, December 11, 2010

iStruggle. Really, iDo.

Chapter Seven was in need of work. Deep work. So much work that I’m not sure I really got anything accomplished today.

I could say that I wrote/edited 4411 words today, but considering I still have to actually write the prose and the dialogue, I don’t think I’ve written anything at all.

What I did do was struggle to pull together some incomplete, incoherent thoughts, into a long coherent one. I also managed to flesh out Munnerly into a more “living” character. I decided some time after I finished Chapter Three that I needed to cut nearly half of it and focus on only one or two of Damen’s teacher’s. I originally thought I use the chemistry teacher, but he seems rather boring and, unless I made him like my high school chemistry teacher, there was nothing to help tie me to the character. Munnerly, however, has the added bonus of being English considering I’m on this British TV and Film kick and since I plan on a lot of Damen and Brit’s little conversations to take place during their studies for math. In fact, now that I think of it, I’m not sure why I never considered Munnerly earlier since, close to 90% of the conversations and events I’ve planned surround their math class and I even made Anessa into a math major and an accountant just to be able to add her to the random events properly.

Anyway, most of the fun of creating a character that is the antithesis of myself is the research. I spent close to two hours researching the British school system and trying to gain some understanding of what she would already know and how she would have come to be a Briton teaching Americans math. Apart from seeing that I thought the “Tories” were onto something with bringing back the selective grammar schools (seriously, the comprehensive school thing sounds like a pipe dream and I wish we had “select” schools in the States to make people actually value education), I realized that I will have to make a severe change to the Potter story I was planning.

Like any good American, I desire to make the story my own and bring it “home” in the process. A part of this was to make Hermione turn 11 the September after the kids started at Hogwarts, but after reading about the Brits’ school system, it doesn’t seem practical for that to happen since it is very clear that kids start school the first 1 September after they turn five and the same appears to be the same about Hogwarts. The more I read about English schools, the more I saw how closely Ms. Rowling’s imaginary school mirrored the “real” “public” schools in England and Wales (quotes around public because public here and public there are two completely different things). It’s not really that big a thing, but it disappoints me that I can’t make the change and keep the story making some sense. Enough about Potter…

After reading through lists of Brit slang and dozens of Wiki-clicks, I finally thought I had a handle on Munnerly and changed her a little in my mind. When she was just a fringe character, she could afford to be plain and weird, but I imagine that the more Damen sees of her, the prettier she’ll seem to him, perhaps going into his having a jones for older women. Even with Munnerly made a little clearer, the chapter was is a disaster. I don’t know what the heck I was trying to do originally, but it just wasn’t working and was perhaps the worst lead-in to meeting Corey that could ever be possible. Even now, it’s still poo, but I’ll have to live with it until I go back and write the prose.

I guess I’m just surprised and a little disappointed since I was still flying high after last night’s chapter completion. To see so much work needed on an important chapter…it’s just a little daunting.

I think I hit on some important topics to some come later: the love of Chopin, the bits about his father and always being homeschooled and more Brit frustrations and I like the idea of now ending the chapter with meeting Corey. I think I’ll still need to go back and make Munnerly the source of his silence cessation (say that five times fast!), but I like the chapter much more now, than I did when I took a look this morning.

Tomorrow/Today will consist of bringing everything home and actually writing the chapter, so perhaps I really will have 4K words written by the end of the night. I must say, however, this chapter has created more of a struggle and more time spent with my head in my hands staring at white space on the screen and praying for inspiration, than anything else so far. I don’t usually struggle like this, so it’s completely new territory.

I’m not sure I like this part of the journey.

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