Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Three Things

First, I'd like to thank you all for your wonderful input regarding my single or double MC story goals. I have to say that in four out of the five stories I've written, I've give both my MC's a story goal, not always in contention with each other, but none the less they've each have a measurable story goal to work toward.

But in the current manuscript I'm revising, I realized that my heroine doesn't have a story goal. And here comes my second thing for this post: The problem with my dear Fiona is that she is a free-spirit type. She has scene or chapter goals and some segment goals (ones that span several chapters/scenes) but not a big story goal. How does one take a free-spirit who refuses to box herself in, but rather takes life as it comes while trying to manipulate it to her own liking and give her an external, measurable story goal? And one that perhaps works against the hero's goal of generating more income at his church? Okay, there you have it, I'm shameless, but yes, I'm asking for some brainstorming help for this round of revisions. If something wonderful pops in your head while reading this to solve my problem, please, please, please, do share!!! I and Fiona will be eternally grateful!

Thirdly, a dear blogger friend really helped me to face facts this week and I must share. Check out Georgiana's post regarding how we're doing with our 2010 goals. She's holding herself accountable and so should I. It's February already, and if it's not bad enough that this month marks my forty-fourth birthday, Georgiana's reminder of assessing our goal journey has me seriously considering waking at 4:30 to 5:00 am to actually fit some heavy revising, critiquing, editing, writing, into my life regularly to ward off impending depression.

Winter is known to spark darkness in our life, which I'm seriously bending toward, so add to the vitamin D deficiency, frustration from not getting time to do what I love, write, has me needing to make a change...and fast. But, oh, that start time is so, so early. But if it gets rid of this spiral into depression, it will be so worth it. And just think, those 4:00 am starts for horse show days won't seem near as bad if I'm already in the habit, right? But will I actually do it?

Only time will tell.

Surrendering to Him,



Laura Frantz said...

You ask such good writing questions. I wish I could answer this one about Fiona - love that she's a free-spirit! Since I'm an intuitive writer I don't think much about the process but just go with my gut. I would make a very poor writing teacher/mentor and thus am very thankful for the Camy Tangs of the world!

I do understand your struggle with the blues. I think so many writers have them. Exercise is HUGE for me and I hope you find that it helps you. I try to walk about 3m a day rain or shine. It really helps! And you know what they say - exercise enhances creativity:)!

Praying for you. You have a wonderful blog!

Anita said...

Like Laura, above, I have to get the exercise in. It doesn't happen every day, but when it does it really gets my adrenaline going. Outside in the elements is best for me...good think time too.

I've been thinking about getting up very early too. With no one awake, no phones ringing, no cable guy could be used to get a good jump start on the day. But like you..."5 am is so earrrrrly!" We'll see. I'll link over to the post you mentioned.

Susan R. Mills said...

I've got nothing for you. I'm struggling with my own story goals at the moment. I feel your pain. I'm also struggling with my 2010 goals. I'm managing to stick with some, but not others.

Joanne said...

You suggest that Fiona is a free-spirit who refuses to box herself in. To me, there's your starting point. Maybe have someone ELSE, or something ELSE box her in. Maybe a family crisis calls for her unwilling attention. Or an accident, or a financial crisis. Something that puts the reins on her, when she wants to run free. Then the story goal becomes just that, her escaping from the box back to her own carefree ways?

And I'd definitely at least try the early hours. They might prove so productive that you come to enjoy them!

Karen Lange said...

Have you thought about sending the info you have about Fiona to Jeannie at The Character Therapist? I'm thinking of sending one to her soon.

That's all I've got for now, running dry on ideas today but if I think of anything else, I will let you know!

Elana Johnson said...

You will do it! You go, girl!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I like where Joanne is going with it. Your free-spirited heroine doesn't want to be boxed in. So she may have an internal goal of never getting married or forming attachments.
But maybe her external goal is to help your hero (for whatever motivation) and then be able to split in a certain time frame. (so she's not boxed in) Her conflict can come if for some reason she can't leave.
Someting like that? Does that get a juices flowing?

erica m. chapman said...

I chose not to make any measurable goals and in that way I'm a bit like Fiona, or so it seems. I wish you luck in finding a solution to your problem with her ;o) You can do this!!

Tana said...

If I were you I would sit down right now and jot down at least ten random problems you could throw at Fiona. That always gets me out of a pickle and perhaps you could tease out one of the problems into a story arc for her?

Katie Ganshert said...

I'll be up with you, friend! And winter sure is dragging me down as well. No fun!

Dul├že ♥ said...

Difficult times are just temporary...
I know, you know.

Krista Phillips said...

I think you have some great suggestions for your goal issue... I was thinking along the same lines!

*hugs* I totally understand what you're going through. It's SO SO SO hard to get time, not to mention energy. Praying for you--that God wakes you up at 4 a.m. and doesn't let you get back to sleep:-)

Jessica Nelson said...

Definitely make sure you get some D. :-)

I'm pretty sure my heroine didn't have much of a story goal for the story you read, right? At least not until the second half.
I just don't know if there always needs to be that big overreaching goal. If she has little ones that propel the story along, I think that's good. IMO, the biggest thing is conflict.

Since she doesn't like to be boxed in, you could have that be her goal. Or maybe her goal is to keep her life as spontaneous as possible due to some kind of backstory that makes her fear commitment? I don't know... but good luck girl!
And I didn't remember that you were in your forties. You look like you're in your thirties. Happy almost birthday! Mine's in February too. ;-)

Jessica Nelson said...

I'm ready to read your manuscript whenever it's ready!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I hope your winter ends soon. I struggle with it and I know I'm farther South than I am. Hold on... keep writing... keep holding those you love close.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

I like everyone's thoughts for your MC. It seems like it would be a great conflict to have her goal contend with the heroes goal. Like if he wants to generate more income, she wants to help him but doesn't agree with the way he wants to do it. It's not an long-term story goal, but one more conflict that might be able to bloom into a main problem for the rest of the story. Wow, that's a challenge.

On the other issue, I feel a bit like I am in the same boat. I've definitely been getting the winter blues. I really need to pray for motivation so I'll pray for you too! It's February, time to get motivated and excited about all life (and writing) has to offer!

Georgiana Daniels said...

I like the idea that some of the others mentioned--that Fiona is getting boxed in by something beyond her control, and maybe she discovers something worth losing the carefree lifestyle for?

Winter is soooo long here as well. Waiting for summer! Plus, when the sun comes up earlier, it will be easier to get up and write :D

I'm so glad my lil' post meant something to you. Keeping ourselves accountable to one another helps. Plus, I've now seen where I'm missing the mark and have room to improve. Always something to strive toward!

Faith said...

4:30 am! Wow... wow. That's early. But, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Especially if it involves your mental health. I'll be honest -- I'm trying to transition to getting up at 7am so I can get more work done... and it's been hard. But, I'm not getting my own goals accomplished and I can feel my own spiral toward despair and, yes, depression.

So, do what you need to do! And good luck getting started on those early, early mornings...

Sarah Forgrave said...

When I first read your scenario, I thought of similar ideas to what others have mentioned. Maybe her parents put pressure on her to make a career decision or they'll remove funding for her education?? Or maybe she's a restless traveler, but she runs out of money and she has to figure out a way to keep up her carefree ways.

Or you could pull in some interesting backstory. Like maybe she's a free spirit because she watched her mom waste years tied down to a difficult marriage. Or maybe there's some other struggle at home that keeps her from wanting to settle there.

Those are my ideas. Now I'll be anxious to hear what you end up with! :-)

Linda Kage said...

Happy Birth month!!

And your quest for an MC goal seems like it's very reachable. The biggest conflict a free-spirit can face is coming up against something that WILL box her in...just like you said.

So her internal goal could be the struggle to keep herself free and open while other forces try to drag her down with responsiblity.

This could tie in with the hero's goal of wanting to pump money into his church by giving her an external goal: getting assigned to oversee bake sales or some such thing to make money, but her not wanting the responsiblity.

Conclusion: she might learn having a few schedules and responsibilies aren't so bad after all.

Shrug. It's an idea anyway.

Anna Scott Graham said...

A good year to be born, as I'll be 44 in a few months' time... :))) Happy early birthday!

I've been in an early morning habit for a while now, and I find the quiet is so relaxing. When I'm really feeling energetic I get out for a pre-dawn walk, but lately it's been like now, catching up on blogs and the web. I heartily recommend an early start, but if you're like me, then I'm toast by 9 PM!

Mary E Campbell said...

So hard to answer your question without knowing your story, but it seems to me that a free spirit has a hard time being disciplined. She could want to be or do something really bad, but her lack of discipline gets in the way - happens to me all the time. I think something could happen to give her a wake up call - like the male MC or others are disappointed in her over something and she becomes determined to prove them wrong. Just some thoughts. I haven't been writing enough lately either - need to get up at 5:30 to get it done. Good luck with your story and finding time to write.

Suzette Saxton said...

Oh noes! I must disagree with most everyone. Please, please don't box Fiona in or drag her down or make her grow up. Let her be fun and hang on to her care-free spirit. I think she would love to go Robin Hood and steal the money from the preacher (of course she wouldn't feel guilty - it's only right, right?) and then use it to lighten the lives of others. Buy them flowers, take them disco dancing, make their dreams come true while not spending a penny on herself. She would be at perfect odds with the preacher, who of course is well-intentioned (?) but has a whole 'nother idea for the money.

As for the winter blues, my best advice is to take a walk while the sun is shining. Even a short walk. And today I think I'll take my own advice and do just that.

Heading over to Georgiana's blog. Thanks for the link, and for this wonderful post. Let me know how it all turns out!

Regina Quentin said...

Whereas I don't have any brilliant inspiration about Fiona, I will say that you have set an admirable goal of getting up earlier like that. After reading the goals post by Georgiana that you recommended, I realized that I'd really better analyze my goals. Thanks for the reminder. I hope everything works out well with Fiona. The story sounds interesting Eileen.

Susan Anne Mason said...

I like all these ideas jumping out here! What kind of job/ profession would a free-spirit have? Free-lance writing? Dog walking? Would she be an artist? Trying to sell her work? Does she live at home or have her own place? Is she an only child or the dreaded, misunderstood middle-child?
Her goal doesn't have to be huge - it could be selling a picture, or getting a new job, moving away from her hometown to escape controlling parents. When she falls for Mr. Pastor that would ruin that for sure!

I like the idea of jotting down 10 things that could happen to Fiona. I did a workshop once where you had to write 20 things that could happen. That was hard, the first ones were reasonable, then as desperation set in, they became crazy - like 'Jane could fall down a well and be trapped'! Or 'A fire could break out and destroy the house.'(I actually went with a tornado hitting, but I loved that scene). Sometimes this exercise really brings out the creativity.

As for getting up early, good luck. Hope you're a morning person. I am most definitely NOT a morning person. But if I end up getting a full time job, I may have to do that too!

Good luck, Eileen. We're all routing for you!


Terri Tiffany said...

I've really enjoyed reading all the many ideas and responses as I struggle with coming up with overall goals for my characters. SOunds like you have some good ones to run with.

As for the winter blues--one solution only:) Come south and visit me!!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

I like Joanne's answers also. Fiona does have an overall story goal - don't fence me in. There's plenty of opportunity for conflict there.

Susan :)

Julie Dao said...

I hope your winter blues disappear soon, Eileen! Spring will come before we know it :)

Robyn Campbell said...

Fiona is a free spirit, right? There's your starting point. So many things can happen here. Eileen, just take a walk and think about Fiona. This will come to you.

And I have been getting up at 5:00 for a while. It has really helped. I pray and before 6:00 I'm writing. Then home-school starts at 8:30. I do get more writing in after school ends, right after I run.

Good luck my friend. Sorry I missed this post until today. I've been run ragged. The family had the stomach flu. All but me. YAY for GermX. woo-hoo =)

jess said...

I'm so glad you're still working on the Fi story. I LOVED the excerpt you posted. I still remember it.
I don't have much help for you...just remember that Fiona doesn't have to know what her goal is, or even that she needs one. Especially in the beginning. Just make sure the reader knows.

patti said...

Eileen, I'm no stranger to winter-induced depression so will whisper a prayer for you...

Perhaps Fiona could want $$ spent in the nursey/children's section that is counter to the pastor's ideas? Throw her passion into a project considered good by pastor, just not HIS.

I don't know, just a thought...


Lindsey said...

Interrogate Fiona! I'm only half joking here. Sometimes we need to probe the minds of our characters and only then will we see the story our characters need us to tell for them:

Tara McClendon said...

I wish I could help you find the problem. With free spirits, I'm always interested to see how they handle the world trying to push them into a box.

And if it helps, the days are getting longer. Hooray.

Winona Cross said...

Oh, Eileen, I do so wish I could meet you in real life. Your blog is so inspiring and so full of life. I'm currently taking an online workshop titled "The Xtremely Productive Writer." It is facilitated by Kara Lennox and sponsored by the Red River Romance Writers

One of our lessons was about procrastination. I remembered than when I was a nursing student many years ago that I woke up at 4 a.m. every morning for four years. I studied for a very productive two hours. Now, beginning today actually, I began the same routine. It is so peaceful at that hour with quiet, a cup of coffee, and my words. I think you'll enjoy it and get much done.

I would love to have a blog as interesting and beautiful as yours. Continue writing and Fiona will achieve her story goals. It seems her chapter and scene goals will combine, like a puzzle, to make up her ultimate goal.



Bonnie Way aka the Koala Mom said...

If one character has a huge story goal, can the other character not? Can we break a rule once??? :)

As for the writing... I had two separate people tell me last week to get back to journalling, so I'm trying to do that. I'm wondering if it'll help me with some of my own depression issues. I used to journal like crazy but haven't in the last few years. Maybe I need that writing to help me sort through my life! Good luck with overcoming your depression.

Jill Kemerer said...

I feel better if I write something each day. I have to honor my dreams, and that means putting them first. Not always easy, but worth it.

Could your heroine's goal be to not have a goal? She doesn't want the responsibility of a schedule, or something? Or maybe she's afraid of being boxed in and pushes away something that would be good for her?

kanishk said...

I'd definitely at least try the early hours. They might prove so productive that you come to enjoy them!

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