Monday, November 21, 2011

Open forum for "weekend" discussion

I swear, I had been SO bad with not keeping up to date with this blog. Even worse, not keeping up with editing. I've been stuck in the midst of it for ages. Chapter 3 took a really long time because a lot goes down. Later on, it might possibly get chopped up into a couple pieces because it runs long.

It starts with a journal entry, Nina explaining what happened that day and of course my leading man is the only thing on her mind. I made a note of writing that she's awestruck that the cheerleading crowd took her in right away, plus the fact she hadn't tried for cheerleading before. Well, it is the start of high school and cheerleading isn't exactly huge in grades 6 through 9.
I didn't really hash out her character too much because, being a little biased, I wanted to develop my leading man a lot more. Plus it makes it a little more convenient for my target audience to think of her as them and they could make her into anything they want. There's the little crux of being stuck between working to make sure any "Twi-haters" read it and put her in the same category as Bella Swan and just not worrying about that at all.

That's what that one writer's digest articles said: don't worry about what the people say, just work on the writing part of it and the rest will fall into place. Some will fall in love, some won't, it's the way of things. Plus if I make too many assumptions, that's where people are going to go automatically and say "well now that you mention it, there is a lot of similarities... blah blah... you totally copied"

Chapter 3 is broken down into a couple different scenes that I'll mark with bullet points:
  • Nina's journal: what happened on Thursday, September 13th
  • popular girls ask Nina about Jonas and what happened between them the other day
  • Nina and Jonas talk at lunch
  • Jonas meets Nina at her house after school
  • Nina's parents ask her about Jonas and insist she invite him and his family over for dinner
I could just as easily split the chapter in half... the first half being at school and the second half being at her house, two different settings/scenes.

Nina and Jonas spend the entire weekend in each other's company. It serves a few purposes and sure, a few people might not be interested in me hashing out my characters here.

Here are the things I've established so far, excluding the whole origin story. Unfortunately, I've got this sinking feeling that my future editor will tell me to just limit the prologue to a paragraph or two since it detracts from the rest of the story. Plus there's the fact that maybe someone will read it, not know its an origin story or they'll be disappointed that the following chapters aren't anything like what I illustrated initially.
  1. Nina arrives in rural North Carolina with her parents
  2. A voice in the wind warns her of an incoming thunderstorm and she obeys, though very curious about it
  3. A group of future cheerleaders welcome Nina into their group immediately, all very welcoming and Nina is awestruck by their generosity... though its established early on that Mai has a "gossip girl" mentality, knows everything about everyone 
  4. Nina runs into Jonas, rendering her nearly blind & helpless. There's a chemistry between them that she can't quite explain
  5. Mai tells Nina that Jonas is extremely mysterious, keeps to himself and whatever she learns, she reports to anyone who will listen.
  6. Nina sees Jonas alone, and they establish that they'd like to be friends
  7. Jonas reveals to Nina why he spends so much time alone, why he's so different
  8. Nina's parents want to meet Jonas and his family as they're their only neighbors
One day I ought to make a sketch of the area in which they all live and put it in one of my blog posts... it's a very isolated set-up I have, which assists Jonas in his loneliness a great deal.

I highlight Nina's parents a tiny bit in the first couple chapters. Her dad is a meteorlogist, a little scientific, but otherwise easy-going. Her mom is a bit of a worrier, I'd written a couple passages where she sees Nina off before she walks to school and that she isn't sure whether she's set to go the following day... after the whole lunch room incident.

I never really took the time to highlight Mai's friends before. They're just kind of there to assert her place and popularity, but I never really gave them personality before. Plus after a while when Jonas & Nina get more serious and they decide to clue Mai (and her future boyfriend Corey) in on a few things, they kind of disappear. They don't serve nearly as great a purpose later on, although I might be able to work something in later on.
In the latest draft, I labeled Marcie as "second in command," giving her more dialogue. She's the most awestruck about Jonas because she's turned on by his mysterious persona. She has dark hair that's shoulder length with stunningly dark blue eyes (similar to Eric's, in fact) that sparkle when she's intrigued/interested. When it came to Rachel, (by the way, all three girls names were completely random, the first ones that popped into my head), recently I was thinking about the character "Rocket" that Jena Malone plays in "Suckerpunch"... that whole look with the short pixie cut and her disposition is just as sugary sweet. Maybe I ought to give her more lines. Bonnie has platinum blonde hair that is a little longer than Rachel's and otherwise I haven't fully given her a personality yet... just that she falls in line with Rachel and Marcie, on the same wavelength if you will.

Mai was more than slightly influenced by Mai Valentine of "Yu-Gi-Oh!" fame... that was a big huge animé series for me at the given time. She rubbed off very much so on the project, but she fit in perfectly into the high school I created. She has an affinity for the color and otherwise they have the same appearance. Just as Mai Valentine softened over the course of the first season of the series, my character did the same and she actually plays an integral role later on.
Actually, with Mai, her physical appearance is almost a deliberate steal from the show, but as a character, she serves the purpose that Lin does in "Spirited Away" (the final puzzle piece to the creation of this story in the first place, a crucial missing element to Jonas's characterization... huh, I really ought to be thinking more about rewatching this movie if I want to get back on track with this, but I'd been putting that off for quite a while).. Lin doesn't like Haku much at all because he's the main hunchman of the witch that runs the bath house. Also says that he disappears sometimes, which became a key element to Jonas. Although his absences weren't expliciably noticeable as Edward Cullen in my story... the entire time, if he's missing out from school, Nina knows exactly where he is and she's a nervous wreck about it

Jonas is established as a character in a multitude of ways, but with the majority of the story being from how Nina sees things, minus the 1st person POV. At first, it's just how he takes care of her in an accident where he places more of the blame on himself even though she caused it. Then it's heresay between Nina and her new group of friends, which separates it into two schools of thought. Mai, who cannot understand him and is dying to answer so many unanswered questions, and everyone else who just swoons whenever she talks about him. "They tend to romanticize his isolation more than I do."

According to one of my creative writing texts, characters are set up by four different methods. What they do, how they think of themselves, how the narrator talks about them, and how other characters talk about them. Some methods are deemed more reliable than others. All characters have biases, especially when it comes to themselves.
Jonas is somewhat flawed (as some mysterious male protagonists are) in the fact he doesn't see himself very clearly. There is more there than he is willing to admit.

Like I kinda expressed earlier, like a few entries earlier, I may have put the nail in the coffin by sending conflicting messages. Is Jonas cool with himself or not? He's wary of Mai getting a hold of any new, juicy gossip, but in another draft earlier on, he says not to let Mai dictate your opinion about him...
Can he be wary of her getting something she can use against him or is he to the point where he could care less... it's more or less a game to him that she assumes this or that and is completely wrong (which I have dictated in dialogue), but the back of my mind worries if he's a little too much like Edward in that fashion... he makes assumptions all the time because he can read minds, thinks that Nina's human friends are mad at him for stealng her away, etc. etc.

I don't think he really notices or cares what the human race thinks of him in general... but how much does Jonas care what others think of him... I have yet to fully figure that out. I don't believe he cares either way, but I'm not positive.
Sheesh, this is embarassing. I created him and I still don't know the answer to that question.

A few more things I'm not entirely positive about. Some in part might be due to the fact I'm experiencing a temporary high regarding a few "casting" choices...
Zooey Deschanel seems to fit my physical description of Marcie as far as the eyes and hair color goes. Her stunning blue eyes are very dreamy in their expression, though I don't think Marcie is entirely as quirky as Jess is (via the FOX comedy "New Girl")

I've been trying to figure out for years what actress or celebrity I thought Nina liked like. I have one sketch that did several Christmases ago, maybe a year or two after her initial creation.
But the more I started to think about it and consider my options... I decided in the beginning, going YEARS upon years back, that if I saw someone that fit the descrption, I would know right away. I would like to dismiss this on the fact I simply cannot get enough of Taylor Swift today, but I thought of her in Nina's place, saying her lines. Omg, with shorter, strengthed hair and bangs, Taylor would be absolutely perfect to play the role.

She's a romantic at heart so she'd probably understand the story from that position extremely well. And I am just starting to work out what I see whenever I hear the song "Enchanted." In the long run after hashing out the initial set up, the "screenplay" of it, I could rewrite the 9th grade dance scene to this song instead of what I'd had in mind for years. It just would make a whole lot more sense than Madonna's conceivably racy (for 9th grade anyway) "Dress you up"
the choreography for that is still very fresh in my mind, even after 8 years.

I think the only stipulation is that Taylor has beautiful blue eyes and Nina has hazel eyes. But then again, I could always overlook that one detail. If there's one detail that cannot be worked around, it's Jonas's eyes. They are an essentially key element to who he is... after all, the guy that I was extremely into at the time had thosek the only stipulation is that Taylor has beautiful blue eyes and Nina has hazel eyes. But then again, I could always overlook that one detail. If there's one detail that cannot be worked around, it's Jonas's eyes. They are an essentially key element to who he is... after all, the guy that I was extremely into at the time had those same eyes that I could disappear into for several minutes.

So far, I hadn't been able to get to that actual discussion at hand.
Chapter 4 is Saturday, September 15th. We're left off with the following facts:
  1. Nina is astounded by Jonas
  2. Jonas is astounded by Nina, enough so that he feels free to reveal to her just the kind of person he is and why he keeps away from people.
  3. Jonas invites Nina to spend the day with him tomorrow
  4. Nina's parents suggest to her to suggest to him that they have dinner tomorrow night
Chapter 4, I've retitled as "Iguanas & Horses." The entire chapter revolves around that Saturday, while Chapter 5 is essentially the dinner in which Nina's parents get to meet Jonas and his guardian and vice versa

Several characters are introduced, starting with Jonas's "uncle" (for all intensive purposes) Peter Bronson. Strangely, "I am number four" comes to mind with that scenario, but it involves the most literal sense of a guardian. I had only seen the movie once. Alex Pettyfer plays "number four," one of 9 humanoid aliens that are the last of their race. Another race wants to destroy them as they are the only ones standing between them and universal destruction. There is a charm in place that the aliens must be killed in numerical order and we enter the story after Number 3 got killed. Each of the 9 were assigned a guardian and Timothy Olymphant (I believe that's his name, I might have it confused with someone else's) plays the guardian to Alex Pettyfer's character, but to all outsiders, he is known as his uncle.

Jonas puts on a brave face in school. Despite all the rumors floating around about him, he is self-conscious about very few things. Aside from not wanting it to get out that he is psychic (or else everyone else would be afraid of him and/or bullying could escalate beyond the regular rumors), he doesn't want it to leak out that he has no family and Peter agreed to play the part as his "uncle" to make things easier for him to endure.

Peter Bronson is about 55 years of age, maybe a little older. His face is full of facial hair, 'stache, beard and all, that's graying a bit, but otherwise a dark brown (not black, dark brown). He's the intellecutal type, a soon-to-be retiring biology teacher at one of the private schools. He wears spectacles. Not glasses, spectacles. He's not super strict, but his personal values, I guess I could say, are very British in nature, but without the accent.
Nina doesn't say it aloud, but she shows some concern that a lackluster upbringing might be the reason for Jonas isolating himself on purpose, in addition to the whole psychic thing. One of her intial questions, which I believe I deleted this past draft, is if his uncle is nice and treats him well.

I went back to the previous chapter in case there were a few things, details I wanted to change. I cut out some commentary from Jonas about Mai so I could leave the rest to the element of surprise... i.e. when Jonas tells Mai to stop telling rumors about him on Monday.

At school, he shows a little bit of nervousness regarding nobody over hearing their conversation. He's more capable of being himself, being open about his emotions when he's alone with Nina. He gets braver around everyone else as things progress. That's the best I can decide at the given time, but at least it's something.

Jonas acknowledges some other insecurities about his muddled past, specifically the non-existence/mystery of his parents and their disappearance. He's leery of it getting out that Peter isn't related to him, but he also doesn't want to take Peter's last name because they aren't related. i.e. he's self-conscious that he doesn't know what his last name is.

Jonas introduces Nina to his two iguanas, Sparky and Scorch and their different personalities. Scorch is the nastier of the two with somewhat of a biting history. Sparky is the opposite, although he does have a scar that he doesn't like to be touched. I haven't fully explained that or if it even has a purpose. I could take that detail out completely if I don't think of something.

Then there are his three horses, Windy, Rain and Thunder. Their physical appearances come first, but their personalities are filled in as time progresses. Rain and Thunder appear close as far as chemistry goes, subtle suggestion. Then with Windy, on Sunday when they go down to the lake, she throws Jonas off her back into Spring Lake as a joke. She's very exuberant, if not coy and flirtatous around Jonas. Think Artemis, but with Apollo's mindset... but on a monogamous setting. Or maybe that's just Aphrodite, but without the lustful/forbidden side of love she represents.

Nina makes her mom's suggestion and both parties agree to come over that very night for dinner. Jonas is equally cool with it. While he's off getting into his riding outfit, Peter tells Nina how pleased he is that Jonas made a friend. "He's a brilliant young man, but I sometimes think he's on his own too much." He shows some concern about his lack of social life, but because Jonas keeps up with his homework and everything, he doesn't have the heart to try to change his ways. All he can do is accept Jonas for who he is and accomodate him when accomadation is needed, particularly later on when Nina witnesses the reason Jonas misses school periodically during the rainy season. Peter more or less accepts the fact that Jonas is a target for lightning strikes and as it hadn't killed him in the 40 something incidents over the course of his life, he remains concerned but it's up in arms about the whole thing.

All of the parents in the following chapter, the dinner scene, exhibit equal concerns about Jonas. Particularly Nina's mom and Peter. Nina takes pity on Jonas and agrees to help him to a certain degree. She merely makes suggestions and as he trusts her a great deal, he takes her advice to heart. And in the case of Corey, it most definitely pays off.

Jonas spends most of Saturday talking about his horses and on Sunday, Nina talks a little about her friends, spending part of the day writing a letter to mail back to Youngstown, Ohio. It's a very short chapter or so it will be. I added little ish about a red-tailed hawk and Jonas discovers a bunch of dead squirrels in the forest, as if foreshadowing that the hawk wanted him to get to the apple trees before they did...
there really is no huge point to all that, so when I go over it, I'm going to take a lot away. The only really crucial detail, I think, is that Windy throws Jonas off his back (character development) and Nina writes the letter (giving a little information into her past, before the big move).

And for those who are curious, my imagining of Jonas looks a little something like this. Or so that's how he looks when he's in the form he took in his previous life, as Jonaseriah.

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