Friday, July 6, 2012

Actually Finishing Something This July

I'm linking up with Katie's Actually Finishing Something July challenge!  Go here for more details.

What is your writing goal?

Ten chapters in my new story The Rochesters.  That's a working title and does not in any way reflect upon what the book's actually going to be called when it's finished.

Tell us about this project. Give us a small synopsis.

This story began back in March, when I was suffering from writer's block over OAN.  One day I randomly pulled out a short story I'd written back in 2010 about a girl who made a cake for her sister's wedding only to have it ruined by the family's dog.  The story's pretty weak, but there were some good elements in it, and I started brainstorming a little bit about how I could work this into a full-length novel.  Lo and behold, The Rochesters was born.

As far as synopsis goes, this is what I have as of today.  Sylvia Lemmins' guardian dies, leaving her alone at her boarding school for the summer--not a happy prospect.  Her mother's cousin, Gregory Rochester, and his six children offer to have her come and stay with them in Cedar Lake, Michigan.  (It's a summer resort town, and yes, it's called Cedar Lake, and yes, that's because I'm bad at place-names, and yes, the characters often complain about the mediocrity of their hometown's name.)  Sylvia's desperate to fit in with this large and boisterous family, and as the summer goes on and preparations for the oldest daughter's wedding get underway, she's on the lookout for the perfect way to give something back to this unusual family who has made her feel so welcome.

How long have you been working on this project?

I started planning the characters and some events in March and even wrote a few pages, but I didn't start truly working on it until last week.  Other projects were calling my name in the meantime. :)

Introduce us to three of your favorite characters in this project.

Yay! I adore my characters with mucho adoration, as you may have already deduced, and I firmly believe that the characters make the story what it is.  So without further rambling, may I present Sylvia Lemmins, Francie Rochester and Gregory Rochester.  Sylvia, Francie and Gregory--er, Mr. Rochester--, please meet the lovely readers of Quest for Stories.

Sylvia, my fifteen-year-old protagonist, is pretty much me in a nutshell.  Except for the parts where she's completely not me at all.  Sylvia wants little more than to be accepted by those around her, and in that way she's tremendously like me.  The difference lies in the fact that Sylvia is extroverted and outgoing; she will do her utmost to make people like her.  Usually she'll succeed, too.  (I'd be more likely to wait for people to make me like them.  Saves so much trouble forcing myself to like them.)  Sylvia often talks too much for her own good (which I've been guilty of at times... ahem...) and she's never at a loss for something to say.  I'm finding it rather hard to describe her, frankly-- everything I say seems to make her sound childish and attention-seeking and she's not. She just wants to be needed.  I haven't come across a picture that represents Sylvia yet, but when I do y'all will be the first to know. :)

Francie, the second child in the Rochester family, is nineteen-going-on-twenty and one of the most joie-de-vivre people you will ever meet.  Home for the summer after her second year of nursing school, she's the kind of person who will sing "Que Sera, Sera" in the shower and blithely forget to make her bed while scolding Patsy (the youngest) for not putting her dishes in the sink.  It takes a lot to upset Francie, which is a good thing, because an awful lot happens over the course of the summer that would upset a lesser person than Francie.

Mr. Gregory Rochester is the patriarch of the bunch, a dry-humored man with a calm that can last throughout a storm.  Just about anything can and will amuse him; he takes life with a good measure of salt and a tall cup of black coffee.  His children adore him, as does his niece (okay, technically she's his first-cousin-once-removed but she calls him Uncle), as do I.   And I couldn't help naming him Gregory.  At first he was to be Arnold, but the name just didn't fit properly, and after I'd cast one of my favorite actors in his role... well, the rest is history, as those people known as "they" are known to say.

How often do you intend to write in order to reach this goal by August first?

I hope to write a little every day, but I know that won't happen... I'll settle for four thousand words a week.  A nice, round number.  Whether I'll attain it or not remains to be seen.

How will you make your characters behave long enough to finish this goal?

I don't make my characters behave.  They make me behave.  It's a great honor to be writing the stories of their lives, and they never let me forget it.

Go to page 16 (or 6, 26, or 66!) of your writing project. Pick your favorite line or snippet on the page.

Heehee.  I have exactly five pages so far in this project.  Dreadful, I know.  That's why I need this July motivation to get me crackin'.  So I'll take a wee bit from page five and hope that will suffice.

“Then I suppose I’ll have to tell Frank I can’t go.”  Celia, who was (as aforementioned) not the drippy type, was also not the type to bewail her losses.  She took a pragmatic sip of milk.
“I suppose you shall,” agreed Mr. Rochester, “but if you care to pull a Bartleby the Scrivener and would prefer not to, I will be happy to perform the hated task myself.  Do you think that I might look more harsh and forbidding and properly like a stern guardian if I wore my horn-rimmed spectacles during my little chat with Frank, the hopeful suitor? I believe they’re in the attic somewhere—I can easily fish them out if you think they’ll aid me in the part.”

Tea or coffee?

Tea.  And in this kind of weather, it had better be well chilled.  Preferably with lemonade mixed in, thank you very much.


Miss Melody Muffin said...

Ooohh, a new story!!! I'm loving it already!! Especially the part about Frank and the horn-rimmed spectacles!! I think I'm really going to like Mr. Rochester!! (A favorite name, favorite actor, great character, what more could anyone ask for?!)

Tarissa said...

Your writing goal sounds good for July. I greatly enjoyed the snippet you shared.... a had a nice laugh over it!

Elizabeth Rose said...

Your new story sounds charming — the perfect summer novel in my mind. :) And that quote about the horn-rimmed spectacles was just brilliant. I adore your writing style; so droll, and yet so humorous. Lovely job so far, my dear!

— Elizabeth