One thing that’s always frustrated me is how so many other writers gush about how they write every single day and how their characters come to life for them and how they can’t stop thinking about their current work-in-progress. It frustrated me because I couldn’t relate, and I didn’t feel like a ‘real’ writer because of that.
Until a couple of weeks ago when I started writing the story of a young man (a bank examiner) entering a little town in the days of Ye Olde West, going into the bank, and being caught up in a robbery/hostage situation with a few other people. I couldn’t get it out of my head! Not until I’d written the entire first draft, which I finished just a few days ago, and even now, I can’t stop thinking about it. All the character stepped out of my mind and onto the page with names and backstories and personalities and I didn’t have to do any of those silly character development questionnaires to figure them all out (which is good, because those never work for me anyway). And getting up early every morning to write hundreds of words felt incredibly good, like I was really accomplishing something for once, and I ended up giving up movie watching + email writing time (unheard of!) to write more. On one of my best days, I wrote 2,000 words in forty-five minutes, which is probably a record or something.
So, what exactly is Untitled Writing Project about? Well, I just finished the first draft, so things are still subject to change, but I think I’ve got the basic plot. And it’s pretty much what I talked about in the above paragraph. I’ve always wanted to write a story where a bunch of people are stuck together and have to work with each other toward a common goal (in this case, escape), because I love that plot type, so it came very naturally to me. For once, the entire plot worked out well without a bunch of complications or me tearing my hair out over insurmountable problems. All the characters felt real to me (although dialogue is still something I have to work on), which I’m sure helped quite a bit. I’ve got backstories for everyone, even the three robbers, though because the story is told from only one character’s point of view, I can only hint at those stories (or not mention them at all). Which is why I’ve decided to expand the whole thing for NaNoWriMo. That way, I can get all those juicy subplots worked into the main story thread.
Characters are something I don’t reeeeally want to talk about right now, because they could still change so much, but I will spare a few words. I doubt that Smythers, the protagonist/hero, will change much. Because the story is written from his viewpoint, I have his character arc/motivation/etc worked out pretty well. Also, Walt and Annie (who I’ve cast as Anthony Perkins and Audrey Hepburn because ADORBS) are pretty well set in stone as well. He’s a doctor-to-be, she’s his wife (they’re both quite young), and I love them. Picking a favorite character is too hard, but they’re near the top of the list. Jackson is probably the character I have the least background information on so far. All I know is that he comes from the mountains (did you know that Nevada, where the story is set, is the most mountainous state in the USA?) and he traps animals and sells their furs for a living. Mrs. Bradley, Alice, I haven’t quite figured out yet, either. I’ve taken some elements from High Noon for her story, but I don’t want to plagiarize, so I’ll have to see how that works out.
I even like my robbers (as much as one can like them) – Scott, Marty, and Les. That picture in the collage, from High Noon, is sorta supposed to be them. I cast Lee Van Cleef as Scott, but the other two are too old for Marty and Les. So, just focus on Lee Van Cleef. 🙂 Anyway, like I said, I’ve got ideas for their backstories as well, but I’m not sure if they’ll make their way into the novel.
Untitled Writing Project (btw, it’s called that because I’m terrible at thinking up of titles) is 13,621 words long, so it’s a longish short story, a novelette, or a novella, depending on how you want to look at it. I think it will take well to expansion, although, as it stands, the story is good already. So, even if lengthening it doesn’t work out, I’m satisfied.
Now that I’ve introduced my story to ya’ll, would anyone be interested in some snippets?