Angie Azur is a YA Sci-fi Writer.
Writer for PALEO Magazine.
Former Intern at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
SCBWI & COWG Member.

Friday, December 21, 2012

90 Days to Your Novel: UPDATE DAY 50

Trucking right along on my 90 days to my novel challenge....remember I'm only counting the 90 actual days I work on it, not going 90 days straight. With 2 kids, helping at school, and my volunteering schedule, 90 straight days is impossible.

But I am on day 50. Over halfway there now!!! So exciting. And I just purchased this new writing software called Scrivener. The learning curve is a little long, but I think it's going to be amazing once I plug everything I've written so far into it.

Wish me luck.

Below is what day 50 looks like...

The chapter in 90 Days to Your Novel is called:

I have been writing all of the middle scenes from my outline. I have also changed my outline, having realized that I was smashing too much into the first outline. I had to expand it a little.

Quote of this day: 
"In a story, something happens."

The middle is considered Act 2 of your novel, and according to Sarah Domet, it should contain plenty of conflict, yearning, and obstacles for your main character.

The first thing she had me working on were my action scenes. I had to pull all of the action scenes from the middle and write them. It did not have to be in sequence, in fact, in your outline you shouldn't have only action scene after action scene. So this is a jumping around the outline exercise. 

This used to bother me. I like to write linearly. But, after working this way for the past 5 months or so, I'm used to it. I also think it is making me a stronger writer because I am thinking of each scene as its own individual mini movie, rather than trucking through them in a line. 

Action Scene Example Sample: (Remember this is a first draft - no revisions yet....)

Week 8: Day 50

Scene 16: Action

Characters: Seita/ Uncle/ Anpaytoo/ Mindy/ Bane/ Kele/ Winita

I reach out toward the huge bird. It's beak golden, shines with the warmth of the sun. But as my fingertips get closer, it calls out with a high-pitched song, turning to look West. With three pumps of its giant wings it flies off, over the sea to someplace beyond what I can see. I want to go. And, then I'm awake.

The whole tribe stares at me but with sleepy eyes. They look peaceful, like they just woke up too. And, when the first one falls, I think he fell back to sleep, until I see the blood. I scream.

My awakening, my beautiful dream, quickly becomes a nightmare. I see Kele pointing in my direction. A bald guy, covered in white powder, looking more like a ghost, charges toward me.

I'm still groggy, and fall backwards, trying to figure out what's happening. We're being attacked, and led by Kele.

"Uncle!" I yell.

He strikes the ghost with his smoking pipe. The ghost spins to the right, and stabs at Uncle with a long spear. Uncle dodges, hitting him again with his pipe. The blow shatters the pipe. The ghost smiles. His big yellow teeth are ground into sharp points. He thrusts his spear at Uncle's belly. Uncle dodges, but not in time. He's hit. I scream. He falls to his knees. Hands are on my shoulders, and I turn wildly to fight, but it's Anpaytoo.

"Come," she says.

"No! I have to—"

"You must."

I search for Uncle, but I don't see him. He's all right. He has to be all right. Someone had to help him. The lodge is filled with screams, and cries. Adults hide their children behind them, as more ghost people pour through the lodge doors. Blood splatters the leather walls. Something is thrown on the fire, and black smoke rolls out from under it, filling the lodge and my lungs. There's a mad dash for the doors, and more fighting. People fall, dead.

Anpaytoo guides me without a word, around the outer sides of the lodge and to a corner. No one comes after us. It's like they don't see us. It might be the smoke, but the way Anpaytoo's mumbling, I think it's something more. She waves her hands over the wall and walks through. I follow. And we are outside. Just like that we walked through a wall. I glance back, and the pelts are intact. She did not cut them. How? I stare at her, and she shakes, putting a finger to her lips. I nod.

Anpaytoo moves swiftly toward the path I know goes to the docks. But there are not boats scheduled to come this week.

"Seita. Wait!" I hear little Kara's voice. She's running toward me, long dark hair flying out behind her.

Anpaytoo waves to her, but not a hello. She's doing something, putting a curse or throwing magic. She's definitely doing something to protect us. I can hear screams coming from the lodge. I want to go back, but Anpaytoo grabs my wrist. She points silently to Kara, and then to me, and then down the path to the docks.

Kara nods without words. I do too. I take her hand in mine, and we run. Turning back for a second, I see Anpaytoo still waving her hands in large circles, like she's saying hello to the whole world. I turn back and run harder.

"How did you see us?" I finally ask, when we are far enough away from the fighting that I can't hear the horribleness anymore.

Kara's eyes light up. "Anpaytoo's been teaching me."

We round a corner and I slide to a stop. My bear is there. He sees us and lets out a hello yowl. Kara backs up.

"You see him too?"

She nods.

"He's friendly. He's my guide." I squeeze her small hand to reassure her.

The bear pounds the ground, and I can feel Kara tremble. I put my other arm around her. And, her body relaxes. The bear nods at both of us, turns and trots down the path.

"He wants us to follow him," I say.

"Okay, but you go first," she says.

I smile, and jog off after the bear. The three of us race down the last stretch of the path, and I see a boat coming in to dock. I don't recognize it. It's not one of the local fishing boats. It's painted black, with an odd symbol on its side painted in gold. I slow up.

"It's okay," Kara says. "They're supposed to be here."

"But I'm not." Winita jumps out from behind a tree.

"Go away!" Kara stands between me and the big girl.

Winita laughs. "What you gonna do about it, shrimp?"

"This!" Kara kicks Winita square in the shin.

"Ouch! You're dead!" Winita grabs for Kara, but Kara ducks.

"Run!" I yell at Kara, but she turns and tries to kick Winita again.

I pick up a stick, and swipe at Winita as she lunges again for Kara. I miss, she doesn't. Kara goes down, holding her face. I ready to strike at Winita again, when I'm grabbed from behind. I scream.

"Shut up, and get on the boat." The voice booms in my ear.

I struggle. "Let me go."

Kara cries on the ground, holding her face. I see blood in her hands.

"Let go of me!" I push on my captures arms, but it's not use. He's strong, and has me wrapped in a tight bear hug.

"Honaw!" I yell.

The bear charges from the trees, but it doesn't come for me. It storms toward Winita. Winita screams, and takes off up the path.

"Honaw, help me!"

"You want the whole wraith's to hear you?"

He hauls me to the boat and throws me on board. I turn to kick him, and stop mid-thrust. "Bane?"

"Get back!" He growls at me.

I hear them coming down the path. I can see their white powdered bodies racing through the green trees. "I have to help her!" I try to get off the boat, but Bane shoves me back. "Kara! Hide!" I yell, struggling with Bane.

Kara lifts her head. Blood drips from her lips. "I'm okay, Seita. Go. You have to go."

The engine kicks on. Water's thrown behind us.

"Get up! Run!" I yell one last time. I can see the ghosts charging down the dirt hill. They quickly become white dots, like salt on a brown plate. And, then they're gone. I wipe my face. Did Kara get up? What will they do if they find her? What happened to Uncle?

"Bane?" I search the boat for him. "Bane!"

"Pipe down. He's occupied."

I look up toward the voice, and see Mindy smirking down at me. She's at the wheel.

"Where are you taking me?" I climb the steps to the helm.

Mindy turns the boat sharp to the right. I stumble. She smiles.

"Where?" I grab the wheel.

"You want to drive? Good. I could use a rest." She sits down on one of the cushioned seats. "Just don't hit ice." She closes her eyes.

"Mindy!" I hold the wheel, watching the water. "Mindy, I'm serious. I can't drive a boat."

"You couldn't drive a seaplane either." Bane comes up the stairs. "But you did."

"That was different," I say.

"How?" He hands me some hot tea, and takes the wheel.

I toss the hot water out. "No way. You're not putting me to sleep again."

Bane checks over my shoulder to see where the hot water landed. "That was regular tea, and now it's all over our poles."

I glance down. Six fishing poles drip with the hot water. Steam rises from them.

"It had a lot of honey in it. The lines will stick together, now."

"Sorry," I say.

"Stupid," Mindy whispers behind us.

"I'm not stupid," I say to Mindy, but she keeps her eyes closed. "And you have to turn around and take me back." I stare at Bane. "My Uncle was hurt. Kara was hurt. People were killed."

"Yeah, and no ones coming to their rescue for days." Band steers to the left, avoiding a chunk of ice. "They'll be fine, your Uncle and Kara. I promise. Okay?"

"No. It's not okay. None of this is okay."

"Why don't you go downstairs, get some more tea. You're freezing. Warm up, and we'll talk."

I don't move.

"If you get hypothermia, you'll never know what's going on."

I stand my ground.

"There's a down blanket in there too, and a coat for you." Bane raises his eyebrows like doesn't that sound nice.

It does. "Fine. But I want real answers when I get back."


I search his face to see if he's lying, but I can't tell.

Inside the boats kitchen is pretty warm. I find the coat, and blanket just like he said. I zip the long down up, and instantly feel better. The tea is still steaming on the stove. I fill a cup with the hot liquid and dump about a beehives worth of honey into it. And, then I notice the gear.

There are boxes, and bags, tons of food, and maps of the sea. This isn't just a quick rescue mission. We're going somewhere, and by the looks of all this stuff, it's a long ways away.

 What I've learned:

  • Begin action scenes in the middle of action
  • Just write - don't get held up on some word or phrase - just write and revise later
  • Move on - don't revise right now - this scene might not even make the final cut
  • Engage all your character's senses
  • Show how your character acts and reacts
  • Do not edit yourself yet

I hope this helps you when you are stuck in your middle. 

Keep writing...

and as always.
Good Luck
Happy Holidays too...

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