Tuesday, November 5, 2013

NaNoWriMo Update, day 5

I'm at 9,800 words for today, probably 10,000 before I go to bed.  (I can crank out 200 more words can't I?)

Here's what it's like for me writing sometimes:

I'm doing a dream sequence / series of dream sequences in my anime fanfic story.  A lot of characters are trapped in a dreamworld, and each time one of them "wakes up" and remembers who they really are, the entire dream changes.  First it was a ronin samurai tale, then it was a 1920's Chicago ganster tale, and then it was a modern magical girl story.

I want the main character and a secondary character to defeat a demon that's causing these dreamworlds.  I was going to try and end it in the gangster scenario, but I kind of wrote my characters into a corner -- although I managed to get them to meet, and one of them knew there was a demon at the center of the dreamworld that needed defeating, I realized that they likely weren't anywhere near the demon and had no way to find it.  Originally I'd planned to do a magical girl world too -- but it seemed unnecessary.  Now I realized it really was necessary -- it gave the characters the tools to find the demon and defeat it.

So!  Someone wakes up, dreamworld resets.  This magical girl world was based on Card Captor Sakura, so I pulled out my old DVDs and watched a few episodes.  I sat down to write.  Okay, but what does Sakura's bedroom look like?  I tried to look this up online, but this wasn't much help.  I went back and watched another episode.

Okay!  Wrote some more.  One of the characters is supposed to look like Syoran.  How do I describe his battle costume?  This time, I'm able to look the information up.

Wait, what's Sakura's activation phrase again?  I like the English subtitled version, and my online sources are not exactly the same.  I go back and watch part of an episode to get it right.

Wait, what are Syoran's attacks?  More research -- again, online sources are not exactly like the subtitled English, so I must go back and watch.

Okay, what are those demon-banishing ward things called?  You see them in anime all the time, but are they called "wards".  More research.  I am so glad that I live in the age of the internet!  Ofuda or sutras, depending on if it's Shinto based or Buddhist based.  Okay, got it.

I eventually make it through the demon battle and back to the main story.  The girls are going to a fancy evening out!  Hmm... how do I describe the dresses they wear?  The funny thing is you can search on "dinner dresses" and get lots of pictures of exactly what you're looking for, and still not really know how to describe it.  How would a fashion magazine describe it?  I manage to find a glossary of clothing terms for writers, which helps out a lot.

Next problem -- where are they going?  Saying "we're going to something like an opera or ballet" doesn't cut it.  I need to be specific, so they're  going to the Tokyo Ballet.  But what are they seeing?  I don't want something that takes forever, I have a lot of things for them to do this evening.  I spend a great deal of time looking at what ballets the Tokyo Ballet typically perform, what ballets are the most popular, etc., but I have a hard time finding a ballet that is short.  Trying to search on "short ballet" gets me nowhere -- I get hits on ballets for little kids, etc.  I wind up just saying it's a "mixed repertory program" -- a collection of short ballets, usually non-story dance ballets.  That works.

And saying they're going to "a very good restaurant" or "one of the best restaurants in Tokyo" doesn't work well either.  Saying they're going to "Argento Aso, an excellent Italian restaurant" works.  In this case I probably could have made up a name, but I used the name of a real restaurant in the Ginza.  I spend more time trying to figure out how long it's been around, just in case it's fairly new and might not have existed when my story is set (about mid 2000's roughly), but the restaurant's web site doesn't have any information on when they were founded.  I decide not to sweat it, who's really going to know or care?

Tonight's problem was breakfast -- two of the characters were involved in a challenge to make the best breakfast.  What do they make?  How about omelettes?  Okay, but do the Japanese make omelettes like I would?  They wouldn't use cheese would they?  Do they add milk?  After a little research and a couple of Youtube video demonstrations, I have my answer:  yes, Japanese make omelettes, no, they don't use cheese.  They make those rolled tamagoyaki omelettes, but I find one demonstration that includes milk (they don't always use milk) and includes chopped carrot, onion, and scallion, so I use that as my template -- mostly because I want an omelette that has stuff in it, and it gives me more to write about I guess.

This is how a lot of my writing has gone this week -- short bits of prose followed by pauses to do research.  It's hard to sound like you know what you're talking about all of the time, but at least with the internet you can make a good attempt.

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