In which Kris supports supporting characters

 

Kris here,

Tina’s been pressuring me to write some stuff recently because she thinks I’m “lazy” even though playing Minecraft is technically writing I’m just saying. We’ve also had Zack down for a few weeks to visit, and between hanging out with the kids, working and keeping the house tidy, I’ve done basically zero writing in the last six weeks. So she’s probably right. Tina also recently said “hey Kris there’s this thing where a bunch of people want to write 52 short stories in 52 weeks let’s go!” and I spit my coffee all over myself. A short story a week?!

So I’ve been setting the backbones for a bunch of short stories recently and in doing so, I notice my protagonists generally seem to be non-heroic or not the main character if you will. It’s a bit interesting so I actually got sidetracked for a while just looking at other stories to see if it’s just because that’s what I’ve read or if I’m subconsciously modeling my writing after someone, but I don’t think so. I’ve got the world I started out of boredom about a year ago that’s stuck with me because I love it (and my wife wrote a 60,000 word novel in it that she almost finished because she doesn’t care about my mental well-being) so naturally my stories are based there – but even when I’m thinking of other ideas, the only type of story that I write the main character as the important person is in horror stories. Nobody is going to be scared if you write:

“and then she received a phone call. It was the police! They said her *related person* was in a car accident and there were ghostly scrapes on the car door!”

That’s..not spooky.

Well maybe those types of stories aren’t interesting and that’s why nobody writes them, but I know I can’t be the only one! I’m thinking of famous big sellers like The Hunger Games (face of a revolution) or Harry Potter (he killed the bad guy as a baby AND an adult); but also the lesser known books too, like one I’ve mentioned previously the Enchanted Forest series (smart princess who’s amazing.) I know a lot of protagonists start as the underdog and then are the hero by the end, but that counts too. I added a story a month or two ago about an innkeeper who was assailed by a bad wizard dude – he’s just a dude trying to get by, then the two magic dudes come fight it out in his inn and burn it to the ground. By the end of the story, he’s still just an innkeeper.

I probably won’t ever make a full-length project out of a supporting character – it would be incredibly frustrating. Even in the story I just mentioned, I was thinking “maybe I should write about this wizard he seems awesome” – I think this sort of thing would be good only as supporting stories or something to tease an audience about how super great the main character for your actual novel is going to be. Each time I set up a short story, it’s a side-person: a kid who needs help with a curse seeking out a witch doctor, an innkeeper getting dragged into an evil wizard plot. This probably stems from the fact that writers are usually notorious for only worldbuilding as much as they actually have to, so I’m always finishing up books like “No! Go back to the swamp why were the snakes on fire! Teell meee!” I’m pretty drawn into side details and background information and I think side-characters are a good way to explore these without detracting from some grand quest to save the world.

Oh man, I got distracted again, there’s no way I’m going to be able to fit 52 short stories in 52 weeks DO THESE PEOPLE NOT HAVE CHILDREN!

Let’s Procrastinate

Kris here

I wanted to touch a bit more on the subject I glazed over last week. It’s almost time to comfortably give up those New Years Resolutions, so I just wanted to get in one more jab before they go! Early January, I wrote myself out about 15 objectives for January, figuring I’d have plenty of time. I mean I have all these days where I’m not working, I just have to do some work for 2-3 hours a day right, no prob. Aw dang, I forgot I was going to be sick this week! Texas, my love for you…well I don’t love you but come on, call off the trees! Allergies are crazy in the winter. I also forgot all the days my wife or child would want to spend time together, “family time” they called it. Pah! I have goals to attain!

I think it’s pretty easy to work out the sarcasm in that last sentence – of course the moment my 4 year old tells me to play Minecraft with him, I’m all over it. Wife wants to go watch a movie? Well don’t twist my arm here sheesh, I’ll probably have to eat milkshakes or something too. You see where this is going. Setting up minor monthly goals I think is a good idea, but it’s probably more attainable to reach for the quarters after all. Yearly quarters, that is – 3 month blocks where I have all this time to goof off and then hastily do everything I planned in the last weekend. So far this seems to be the way to go – I’ve accomplished probably about a third of my original plan, but I could definitely expand this instead of giving up halfway there just because I feel like I’ll fail anyway. Besides, things are better in bulk – that’s why Cosco is a thing. So Let’s jot down a few too many goals for January – March and see how many we can do.

* Clean out the car I haven’t driven for 2 years (Spiders everywhere!)
* Figure out what the heck is in those bags against the wall in the garage. I’m sure they’re housing spiders.
* Finish at least outlining the map of a world I’ve been worldbuilding. Seriously I started in November.
* Name the countries in the map after I finally finish it
* Write a short story – how can I have a hobby editing stories if I never practice
* Make some progress on a not-short story. Let’s say, finishing the outline.
* Build something amazing from these K’nex. The 4 year old they belong to can help
* Watch a movie with my wife something like once a week or once biweekly. She loves movies, I hate em. Sacrifices must be made.
* Put up a blog every Wednesday!
* Memorize at least 2 new kanji a week (I pretend to study Japanese a lot, I’ve had to have picked up something)
* Don’t write blog posts while being sick. Let’s put a tentative on this one

Eleven points for roughly eleven weeks, I can totally do that! I’ll probably have to take off that last week in March from work though.

GOOOAL(s)

2017 is finally underway and it’s time to look at new years resolutions! Well until February, when the resolutions get in the way of chocolate.
 A lot of people around me are fond of self improvement goals that are a touch on the vague side. Lose weight, teach myself programming, learn a new language! All admirable, but easily given up. After all, languages can take quite some time to master.
While observing the many successful people in my life, I’ve noticed a marked difference in our goals list…most notably, they actually have one to begin with. Apparently they update them monthly or quarterly, instead of every January 1st. Their written objectives are more easily attainable too- my “learn Japanese” seems a lot harder than their “learn 30 kanji per month.” I also see a lot of micro-objectives listed. The ever-popular weight loss resolution is suddenly a lot more feasible when you set a little breadcrumb trail to follow (note: don’t eat the breadcrumbs.) Ten pounds lighter than I am now on this day next month, ten pounds more the month after, and suddenly you can pencil your objectives in on a calendar. Success! Well, no it’s just the beginning of the process, but at least now you have directions.

So let’s do this

I started loving stories when I realized I could escape my life to play in a world that was built by someone else. I started a love affair with reading and would consume any book that I could get my hands on.  I naturally like to learn as much as I can about everything I set out to do, leading me to start learning about writing my own stories. My poems and short stories in school were met with high praise from my teachers and friends, but I never took it past that.

This November I took part in NaNoWriMo and hit my goal of 50,000 words. I have a pretty great skeleton of a novel, I just need to add more meat to it. I’ll be working on this story for a while, but I did something I had never done before. I wrote a full book! Something more than just a 500-1000 word story. Showing myself that I can do this.

I  hope in starting this blog I’d have a place to post my work. Keep writing even when I don’t feel like it. Write about what I am reading or learning. Even reviews on games I’m playing with my husband. Who knows?

Here are My own personal goals for 2017:

 

  • Get to the Beta reader stage for ‘Bonds’
  • Write 1,000 to 2,000 words every day.
  • Continue to expand my information and knowledge in writing.
  • Blog once a week
  • Start an idea notebook and keep any stray thoughts in there for review after I finish ‘Bonds’
  • Keep our twitter up to par
  • Keep our facebook up to par
  • Start a collection of new and upcoming novels
  • Attend a writing workshop

 

Pretty much all I can think of for now. Dancingdude is calling me to play Roblox… Laters!

Tina