Saturday, September 26, 2015

WIP Marathon September Update

Last check-in: started new version of chapter 1

Currently: 2220 words into chapter 1 (I'm not sure how much of it I wrote this month. I think I've looked at it maybe once.)

WIP issues this month: The problem with my original first chapter was that it was too confusing and not engaging enough. Both versions start with a conversation between my protagonist and her stepfather. In the original chapter, the conversation is tense, but it's a very ambiguous tension. This version, however, is much more in-your-face about the abusive nature of their relationship. I'm not sure how I feel about that. I tend to prefer early subtlety, but I think readers will respond more to this version.

Distractions: Surgery. I really like surgery, but it's pretty draining from both an hourly standpoint and an emotional standpoint. I spend too much time feeling stupid and wondering whether or not I should be taking more initiative, and not nearly enough time writing or studying. (Also, I've been watching Sense8, Orphan Black, and Strange Empire, all of which are really good.)

Books:

Currently reading:
-Sorrow's Knot (It's hard to connect with the characters.)
-Made You Up (I enjoy reading it, though I'm not sure I buy the depictions of schizophrenia and autism)

First 300 words: (I don't usually include this, but I wanted to get some feedback)

            Hitchiking is for idiots, was all Paula Jumiere could think as the third car in a row drove past her. Almost an hour had passed, and so far the only person who had stopped for her was a scraggly old man in a pickup truck that looked too beat up to make it to the next town. She’d made up some excuse about needing to go in the opposite direction, and he’d driven off, leaving her to stand there with her feet aching and her shoulders sore from the weight of her backpack.
            She’d been planning her escape for two months, and it wasn’t supposed to involve waiting by the side of the road like a prostitute. If everything had gone right, she would have waited until the end of the school year, when she had saved up enough money, and then drove to Pittsburgh. There, she would abandon the car and bribe someone to buy her a train ticket to a city large enough where Nathaniel would never find her.
            She had nearly five thousand dollars hidden in her dorm room—two months’ worth of blackmail. It was impressive how many secrets floated around in a school of four hundred girls—drugs, plagiarism, active sex lives, secret girlfriends, carefully-scheduled trips to the one bathroom on campus where no one would hear you vomit. There was even a kleptomaniac in the senior class, though she was hardly good enough at it to make things worthwhile.
            The trick was to find the girls with the strictest parents and the greatest net worth. Confront them alone, gently, and then sit through the tears and the excuses. If Paula didn’t already have photographic or video evidence, she would record the conversation. Then she would lay out the deal.

            The best part was that every single one of them was convinced she was the only one Paula was blackmailing.


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