Maybe it’s the whole “going back to school” business, but September is always the start of a really productive fall for me. Many businesses restart their fiscal year in July; I tend to restart my word meter in September.
Not that I didn’t write in June and July. I did. But the level of intensity was completely different. I did get a major project kicked out the door (finally!!) and finished and submitted a shorter story by the deadline. I also worked more on promo behind the scenes stuff for the print release of Rose. (Boy, the post office is going to looooove me in the next few months!)
Now, though, it’s time to get down to business and get the next major project churning. This month, I’ve been character building Victor and Shiloh in their story tentatively called “Gifted.” I’ve talked about my process before, so I won’t bore you again, but suffice it to say that the character letter is still one of my most important tools. Victor wrote me a letter this weekend, where I learned about how he blew out his knee (if you remember from Dear Sir, I’m Yours, Victor was a star college quarterback), discovered his greatest strength/weakness, revealed some old lingering guilt and fear, and how he came to find–and use–the riding crop for the first time.
I’m working on Shiloh’s letter, but she’s been a harder nut to crack. I don’t have her cast as anyone yet, which is a problem. She’s not firm in my mind. I know some general elements of her personality and even some of her past, but not the key parts that will make this a killer story. I need her fears, her failures, her deepest darkest longings. So far, all I’ve got are her longings for Victor. *laughs* I know she’s gone to extreme lengths to get Victor to admit what he feels when he looks at her. She’s planned this whole elaborate scheme out just to net herself…for him. But I still don’t know enough about her to see her face.
A blog plays a part in this story (or at least it did when I first sketched it out). I think the key to figuring out Shiloh will involve a series of blog entries that will actually kill two birds with one stone. They play a part in the plot; they play a part in me understanding her character better. That’s how Rae’s letters developed too — and they ended up HUGELY important to the story. I want Shiloh’s blog to be just as crucial. Yes, I already know what she calls it: V’s Gift. You did catch that Shiloh means “gift,” right? I’ll be playing on “gift” and “gifted” throughout the story.
I’ll continue working on her this week, and I’ll run both characters through the Emotional Toolbox. I know most of the external plot already, but I need the inner workings all laid out. I have a few side characters that need to be more than shells, so I’ll also flesh them out. I already know the theme, thanks to a song that Molly directed me to ages ago. Time is Running Out by Muse:
I won’t let you bury it. I won’t let you smother it. I won’t let you murder it.
Come September 1st, I want to be grinding through a minimum of 1K a day.