Wednesday, November 6, 2013


My NaNoWriMo writing continues to move along.  I'm at 11,280 words on day 6, which is doing really well -- really well, considering that every other year I've ever done this I've fallen behind the curve really quickly, but this time I'm ahead of it.

My writing style is often very haphazard and scattershot, and not at all what I'd recommend for other writers.  I go back and edit and rewrite and add in stuff a lot.  A LOT.  I skip ahead and jot down bits of conversation and things that occur to me without knowing how they might fit in.

Case in point:  it's the day after the slumber party, and my plan was to have the girls go downtown, do some shopping, visit an amusement park, eat lunch, and then call it a day -- go back, collect their things and go home.  All well and good, but this is not a plot and it's not interesting.  What makes a story interesting is plot and character development.

Still, I started trying to write this part.  It came in fits and starts.  My overall plot is the challenge between Nabiki and Ranma, so I had to address that, because after the night before they were tied.  Okay, they can have a cooking contest.  I wrote something about all the girls waking up and the bathrooms being crowded... well, the washrooms anyway, in Japan you have a bathing room and a toilet and I  guess the wash room is separate?  Anyway it was kind of a paragraph floating in the middle of nowhere without anything dynamic happening in it.

Then I went back and tried to work on the cooking challenge.  Breakfast would come before washing up/getting ready for the day, yes?  Once I'd watched a couple of videos on how tamagoyaki was made, I was able to write the whole cooking challenge scene quite easily.  Then, when I went back to the beginning and wrote "Morning came.  Ranma awoke.", I realized that Ranma always woke up earlier than everyone else and went outside to train, and Akane was used to training with Ranma now.  So the opening scene for the next morning came together -- Ranma goes out, starts doing katas, Akane joins her, they begin to spar, others wake up and come out to watch and are amazed.  Then they talk about the challenge and the cooking challenge is suggested, and we flow into that.

And then what?  I had an idea in the back of my mind that something would happen during the day where Ranma would rescue his cousin, maybe save her from thugs or a runaway vehicle or a horse (perhaps a mad horse with Sentaro Daimonji and his wife Satsuke riding it).  Ranma would grab Izuko and jump to a rooftop, and Izuko would finally realize that Ranma was a pretty cool martial artist.  But then -- I wrote the morning scene with Akane and Ranma sparring, and so Izuko has already seen Ranma's amazing leaping ability.  Still, I'd almost settled on "the big thing that happens" being the return of Pantyhose Taro, working from the manga story (volume 21 in my VIZ collection) in which he shows up a second time, this time with the octopus tentacles, and with the supposed water from the Spring of Drowned Honorable Man to douse Happosai with.  I'd written some dialogue from the conversation, starting with Pantyhose saying, "Well, if it isn't the Crossdressing Coward and his friends...."

Then I came up with some dialog for the trip into town.  Ranma was upset at having lost the cooking contest to Nabiki -- Ranma was too arrogant, she didn't expect Nabiki to know anything about cooking.  Now she's mad at herself.  Miyuki pays a lot of attention to Ranma, so she would notice and ask what's wrong.  is Ukyo bringing her battle spatula?  Of course she is, she brings it everywhere.  Would Ukyo be annoyed that they're going to a restaurant for lunch and it's not hers?  Probably.  Would Shampoo then suggest that the Cat Cafe was the best place to go?  Yes, yes she would.  Maybe Miyuki would suggest that next time, they can go to Uchan's (as a way to pacify Ukyo), but then of course the last time they went to Uchan's for a club meeting, they were attacked by sexy teahouse ninjas.

And if we're bringing up weird attacks, then let's not forget they were attacked last night.  Weird things always happen around Ranma.  In fact, Ranma wouldn't rule out something happening to them today.

All of this fell together pretty easily into a conversation during the trip into town.  I stopped to figure out how many limos they were using (three, for about 20 girls), and who was in the limo with Ranma, which limited who could be in the conversation -- but Miyuki, Ukyo and Shampoo had to be there.  When I got to the last line:

"Like last night with Happy and that Dreaming Jewel?" Ranma replied.  "Yeah, pretty much.  And I wouldn't rule out something weird happening today either."

I glanced to the beginning of the next scene, and I saw:


"Well, if it isn't the crossdressing coward and his friends.  Who are you hiding from now, crossdresser?"
Ranma turned to see a familiar face -- that of a tall, muscular Chinese boy with thick black hair.  He was carrying a large round glass bottle wrapped in rope netting.
"Pantyhose Taro!" Ranma exclaimed.

And you know what?  This works.  Suddenly I know I don't need to describe anything that happens between these two lines.  I don't have to say, "They spent the morning shopping," or explain where they parked the limos, or if they visited the amusement park, or any of the stuff that they were supposed to do -- because the plot and the characters are all that matter.  My conversation in the limo hits some plot points and character development points, so it works pretty well, and then we suggest something else is about to happen and jump straight to the scene where it starts to happen.  I didn't write those lines expecting them to be the start of the next scene, but they very clearly are.

I like it when things come together!

No comments:

Post a Comment