Dwarves & Grief

You may have noticed that pretty much the only posts on this blog these days are either part of a fictional story no one really cares about or my thoughts on grief and how much it sucks.

I suppose there’s a good psychological reason for this. The grief post are there, because, well, I have a lot of it since Male died. The Dwarf–as I’ve come to call it because its real title is ridiculously long and àpropos of nothingposts are there, because the only people I seem to want to spend any time with lately are the ones in my head.

I like visiting their world. I like my characters, I like making them do things, and I like seeing how it all fits together.

Even when I’m not writing The Dwarf, I’m thinking about it. Yesterday, I updated the cover for the book to this:


Why? Well, I don’t know. I just did. I wanted it to look even more reminiscent of an old film noir, even though the story isn’t really noir at all. I suppose the gumshoe aspect of it makes me automatically think film noir.

I also went through the whole thing and edited it yesterday. I added another character, Shamus the dog. He belongs to Betsy. I added this to the end of part 4:

Bets and I drive back to the sweet, sweet city in her ludicrous compact car. I show off how bravely injured I am. She almost slams the car door on my legs. Always the nurturer. Her car suits her about as well as her name. On the other hand, her gigantic slobbery dog who insists on putting his gigantic slobbery head on my shoulder the whole trip home because he loves me so much, fits her perfectly. She says it’s a coincidence, but of course, she named Shamus after me.

How many of you get the joke about her dog’s name? Is it a little too obtuse?

I know Walker really well at this point, but I haven’t worked on Betsy all that much. Probably because I’m writing the story from Walker’s point of view and because she’s a lot more similar to me than Walker. Reading through what I’ve already written, I found her to be a little harsh for no real reason, so I softened up her dialog a bit and gave her a dog since you can’t be an entirely bad person if you love a dog. This is reminiscent of myself since I tend to be rather unapproachable to people, but turn to mush around puppies. I like most dogs better than I like most people.

Both of my main characters are based on aspects of myself and aspects of Male. They both have qualities of each of us. If you put Male and me in a blender, and poured us out into two other people, those people might be Walker and Betsy. Writing this story, is allowing me to work through the grief of losing Male, because I can keep parts of him alive through my characters. So much of him is in here. I miss his sense of humor.

I fleshed out the rest of my characters as much as I could and even gave them stand-in visual representations. Not that they really look like this, but I’ve found that it helps writing if I can picture roughly who they are. I suppose if they made a movie of my book, this is who I’d cast in the parts (never mind the fact that some of them are dead or make-believe).

And so on. Strange that most of the visual representations I chose were from classic Hollywood. I guess that also fits with the film noir style title. Walker is more of a cross between Errol Flynn, Toshiro Mifune and Cary Grant. Take Cary’s suaveness, charm and humor; add in Toshiro’s swagger and toughness tinged with sensitivity; and Errol’s affability, smile, and refusal to grow up or take anything too seriously, and you have Walker.

As a result of the way Storymill, the creative writing software I’m using, allows you to not necessarily write in an entirely linear fashion, I wrote a scene that I wanted to happen in the middle of the story, a few thousand words from where we are now. That scene led to another, and today, I wrote the book’s ending. I know exactly how the book will end, but I still have no idea how it’s going to get there. This is what my book looks like now:

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Between Competing Goons and The Love Duck, and Fuzzy and Squishy and The End (what’s with these scene names?), I have a whole lot more book to write. I’ve got the beginning, a bit of the middle, a very tenuous end, and an idea for the next book in the series, which is going to be a prequel. I’m getting way ahead of myself here, but I’m very happy with the way this story is progressing. I seem to have little difficulty writing it and it helps with the grief. Now, if only I knew what I was writing…

For now, I’m just going with it. It seems to be working for me, since for the first time ever, I’ve written over 10,000 words on the same story. Not even during NaNoWriMo have I written this much on a fictional story without running out of steam and without hating it, so yay me.

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Maybe someday, I’ll write something with a broader appeal again, but for now, I’m afraid you’re stuck with The Dwarf and grief posts.

Have you ever written in a non-linear way before? Do you know how your stories end as you’re writing it or do you wing it? Have you ever written or read the end of a story before the rest?