Andi Winter

Writer, Reader, Tea Drinker, Chrononaut

Month: December 2016

R.I.P. Carrie Fisher

I was five years old when I first saw the original Star Wars in a movie theater. I don’t remember much about it, other than the frantic drive with my family to get there, and I think we were a little late, and that it was cool. But it must have left enough of an impression because I started writing Star Wars fanfic at the age of seven. It was mostly dogfight scenes involving Rebellion fighter pilots communicating with each other as they fought Imperial fighters written in pencil on that elementary school paper with the top and bottom lines and dashed lines between them.

The Empire Strikes Back changed everything. I was eight years old and I loved that movie. We had the movie on a vinyl record—not the soundtrack, but the dialogue from the majority of the movie. My sister and I would play it over and over and over to the point where we had it memorized* and I could voice a fairly accurate Yoda. Not only that, but I thought if I could just get my hair long enough, I could wrap it in braids around my head like Leia did when she was on Hoth. I even got snow boots that looked like her boots from the movie.

Then there was Return of the Jedi. I got the novelization for a friend’s birthday present, and had to read it before I wrapped it and gave it to her (because I hadn’t actually seen the movie yet). While I was bummed that Leia didn’t get a bigger role in RotJ (and annoyed that they did the whole ‘slave girl’ thing, although she did kick ass with strangling Jabba *spoiler*), she was a Jedi (or at least had potential)! She had skillz!

Then in The Force Awakens we saw an older, more experienced Leia as a General. A General! Not a Princess, but a General. And still with an attitude.

But Carrie Fisher was more than that. I loved her in When Harry Met Sally, as well as her novel Postcards from the Edge, and her memoir Wishful Drinking. She was smart and funny and painfully honest about her mental health, and other, issues. No matter what life threw at her, she came through it with admirable wit.

She will be deeply missed.

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*Fun party trick: recite all the lines of The Empire Strikes Back to the amazement of your friends. Or until they start to get annoyed. I still can’t manage a Wookiee cry, though.

Nanowrimo Day 21 – the last day

It’s the final countdown . . .

Now that I had my characters in amusing trouble (got to have that last “whoops!” moment), it was time to make them work their way through it. There is nothing like a “Freaky Friday” scene to get characters engaged and to bring out their personalities! They solved their problem, everyone is more or less okay, and our hero and heroine are together at last, crossing the 50,000 word count mark. Woo hoo!

Writing the final scene felt triumphant and scary and frustrating and delightful. These were the last words for this first draft, and I wanted the story to end on an upbeat, happy note, so I spent more time fretting over the words and characters’ dialogue than I would normally, but at the same time I felt like I was riding a great wave and flying.

Reached 50,402 words and promptly uploaded them to the Nanowrimo website to have my word count validated, and with a click of a button—ta dah! Winner!

Now what?

Now I have a finished first draft of a novel, which is about the equivalent of an artist’s piece of marble or lump of clay. The next step is to refine it and make it better, more cohesive and consistent. (Like carving away the excess to reveal the sculpture.) It’s odd to have to finish a story to figure out what the story was about, and who the characters were. Knowing what I know now, I can go back through the novel and make corrections and changes to make it the book I envisioned. Once that is done, I will see about publishing it. When will all this happen? Sometime after the holidays (which will probably mean July).

Final thoughts

Thank you to everyone for your support and questions and encouragement. This was the first time I have blogged about my writing process (rather than just keeping a spreadsheet tally of time and words). Hopefully, it’s inspired others to give art a shot (any art—not just writing, but writing is good, and cheap to start).

Notes for the Future (aka Useful Things):

  • Have story/plot points to accomplish, esp. in 500 word increments
  • Place Butt in Chair, alone, with no noise or distractions
  • Writemonkey FTW (i.e. distraction-free writing software)
  • Have a concept/vision for the story
  • Borrow story frameworks from classic novels (particularly novels you love)
  • Create individual files for each day’s writing in addition to the one LARGE file of the entire work

Writing sessions today:

15″ – 330 words

50″ – 1333 words

35″ – 1057 words

Total novel writing time: 1445 minutes (24 hours 5 minutes)

Total novel word count: 50,402 words

 

 

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