On Not Killing Characters #AmWriting

I suppose you can’t expect much concentration from a squirrel. I scamper off to my next objective, change my mind halfway, turn back, and turn back again—all the while forcing the considerate people around me to slam on their brakes.

Over a month ago, I expressed my utter joy that I got to murder a character. Well, I haven’t done it yet. I know, I know. It’s long past due. While I was working on his nefarious demise, my mind darted ahead, knowing the next stop was a second earthquake, based on another POV. As I tried to fit all the proper nuts into my mental tree, I just couldn’t see a good way to move from one earthquake to another in the murder-the-character POV.

Now some people suggested the earthquake POV could experience aftershocks that murder-the-character POV wouldn’t feel. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work for my world. Earthquakes aren’t normal. They only occur for a particular reason, and when they do occur, it affects the entire continent. So it’s all or nothing.

So I set aside my plans of murder in favor of removing the earthquake from the other POV, because the earthquake takes place before the murder in the timeline, and if I was removing the earthquake, who knew what kind of ripple effect it would have on the other POVs, so might as well get it out of the way first. (Holy run-on sentence, SquirrelGirl!)

I was diligently working on that when a couple of people responded to a post I’d made in the Ladies Who Critique forums. See, I’m working on book 2, and I want people to be able to start reading this book and still enjoy it, even if they haven’t read book 1. Therefore, I needed to make sure I explained enough about the various powers and races for people not to be lost and confused.

It turns out, some things needed a bit more background. With the swish of a furry tail, my mind leapt to new branches and I found myself bobbing on the idea of a pre-prologue prologue. This one would be nine centuries before the start of the book, when the humans first arrived on my elemental-inhabited land. Again, I abandoned my progress and chased this the new direction.

Good news, though. I set my goal with my accountability partner to finish a scene in a week. I did finish writing my pre-prologue prologue, coming in at 3600 words, though it’s still in a rough draft. With that out of the way, I can return to the earthquake, and then back to killing the character after that.

Oh, and I did promise pictures of my aqua hair. Unfortunately, I haven’t taken any good ones of myself, but here’s one with me and my daughter. Her hair goes from natural, to aqua, to fuchsia in a nice rainbow effect. She’s definitely the cuter between the two of us.

Are you the type to write where you feel driven, or do you force yourself to finish a scene before tackling something new? If you could dye your hair any color, which color would you choose?

Squirrel photo taken by Camelyn Gast.

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

16 thoughts on “On Not Killing Characters #AmWriting

  1. The new stuff sounds awesome! It’s so exciting to read about your progress. I’m just weird like that.

    I tend to first try to plow through and if I’m really getting nowhere I’ll bounce over to something else and see if it helps.

    Teal, but I haven’t the courage to do it. Though I did get auburn highlights recently, but they’re subtle. XD

  2. Such a cute pic! I would go deep purple, like eggplant. If I was brave enough. Maybe someday…. 🙂

  3. Tweak some of the story specifics, and I could have written this post. I will work on whatever scene/storyline I’m inspired to work on in the moment, and leap from one to the next and back again whenever my thoughts do. Just the other day, I was switching back and forth between two separate novels (one contemporary kind-of romance, the other fantasy). Really didn’t seem like it would be all that productive, but I was surprised how much I actually accomplished. We have to do whatever works for us.

    Love the aqua hair. I am pretty obsessed with coloring my hair purple, though I seldom actually seem to do it. I’d really love to have that mermaid hair I’ve seen around, too. So awesome!

  4. The two of you are adorable together.
    I don’t change that much in my manuscripts once I start writing, so altering all of that sounds terrifying to me.

  5. I try to steer the course with a scene but if the dialogue derails me it just does and I have to make the change. Lol. I don’t dye my own hair anymore but I had it magenta for a few years. It was the first time I dyed my hair and the color went all wrong so I was afraid to change it. Sigh. I liked to paint my nails green and blue too back then 🙂

  6. Probably blue. Or green. I never got to dye my hair in highschool (and after I never had the urge).

    I try to tackle the scene I’m working on, unless something really strong is pulling me another direction. Then, I’ll usually work on that. I’m all over the place but somehow it gets done in the end. Keep going, girl! And congrats on meeting your scene in a week goal 🙂

  7. The two of you are a perfect match. As far as hopping around, I have my share of trouble in that department. I’m sure we’ll both get through it somehow. Fingers crossed. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  8. That was not a run on sentence. It was long, sure. But there was punctuation, so it was totally legal 😉

    Nothing wrong with not killing a character. But I guess you’ll get to it eventually.

    I’m a write-in-order writer, so I’ll write the next scene and then the next. I tried to write what I felt like writing, but it didn’t work for me.

  9. So cute. And yay for finished your pre-prologue prologue.

    Usually, I’m all about writing where I’m driven, but recently, I’m forcing myself to focus on one chapter at a time. And if I wasn’t currently growing my hair out for wigs, I’d totally try getting it a nice deep red.

  10. Well if I had more than peach fuzz, I would probably dye my hair purple or maybe hot pink. Or I might just bleach it white. I think I’m going to keep it mostly buzzed for a while as it starts growing back.

  11. I have writing urges that mean that I flit from project to project like a butterfly. So why not from scene to scene or chapter to chapter – whatever gets the words down. (Flitting off to write a belated review.)

  12. Nothing like setting a goal to force all those extraneous flurry of thoughts to scatter. I know what you mean by jumping around from thought to thought. Seems like I’ve been doing that for awhile. One day I’ll finally finish a story and it will all have been worth it.

  13. Oog. If I tried to finish anything before going on to something else, I’d never get anything done, especially when I’m in the plotting stages. I’ve been jumping around so much it’s a wonder I can keep track of anything. >_<

    And your hair looks awesome. ^_^ I've dyed mine black before, for a Snape costume, but if I could do any color I'd do a dark blue or dark purple. Never done it outside of cosplay, though.

  14. That’s a great picture! If I was going to dye my hair, I’d like the color I had twenty years ago–a wheat-in-the-sunshine kind of blond, I guess.

    I force myself to write my stories in order from beginning to end and if I hit a rough spot, I plow through and go back and fix it in the editing process.

  15. I usually try to finish a scene before I go on.

    Hair a different color? No, not me. I keep mine a boring brown. My daughter on the other hand . . .

  16. Great to read about your process. Thanks for sharing!

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