Well, yesterday I set some goals for my writing, which would acknowledge my exhaustion just getting everything done on day I go to the “day job”, and hopefully motivate me to get my ass into gear on the days I am not working, so I do actually get some writing done and not just writing about writing, which doesn’t really count.
Four days off work now. Sunday is Full Moon Madness again, I hope to get five thousand words, hopefully all on the story! That will be a whole chapter. If I use my time well, its possible I could finish the first draft by the end of these four days off.
That will leave the first draft a bit short of fifty thousand words, but I have more I want to add to most sections, as nearly everything needs more physical beats and emotional response to events. There is an excellent post on physical beats and why they are so important to our stories here , on Michelle Styles’ blog.
The other thing I want to look at is the clunkily named Motivation Reaction Units. Lynn Raye Harris, the Harlequin competition winner mentioned them in one of her posts on I (Heart) Presents, which got me thinking about them again. The concept comes from a book I have seen recommended by several writers- Techniques of the Selling Writer . I haven’t bought this book yet, but it’s another one on my wish list! There is an article that talks about some of the concepts in the books, including Motivation Reaction Units, here . It’s an article I read when I was first thinking about writing again, but only now, as I’m wrestling with getting that sense of really experiencing the story rather than being an onlooker, do I feel I’m getting what he is talking about.
The essential part for reader involvement and emotional intensity is the bit in the middle, the “feeling” and “reflex” component of the Motivation Reaction Unit. Something happens, the POV character has an emotion response to it (the feeling) and a physical response to it (the reflex). Then they speak, or act. It can’t just be action / reaction. The motivation is not the triggering action so much as it is the POV characters emotional and physical response to it. Then out of the character’s response, comes their reactive action. The bit I am missing at present is the true motivation- I’m just showing action / reaction, and that’s why my story feels like looking in a window at two people, rather than being there in the room, right inside the POV character’s head.
That, and the physical beats that anchor the dialogue in a physical reality, are the main things I need to work on in my edit. Oh, and sorting out subtly dropping in more backstory so the characters actions seem more believable, changing the whole situation with her father, and generally rewriting great chunks of story!
I’m getting ahead of myself here anyway- I haven’t finished the first draft yet! And at the rate I’m going (now 3.30pm and I haven’t written a word on the story today) it is not going to happen any time soon.