FOUR Challenge – Day 2. Creating more tension

Day 2Don’t judge me but I decided to geek out on the graph. Apparently I have too much time on my hands. Actually – you can judge me all you want. Day 2 kicked off rather late. I won’t go into the list of excuses including late night. As the graphical presentation shows, I’m doing ok and Im not as lazy as I like to think I am. I ran my 5km at the end of the day. I mostly ate what i was supposed to. Apparently I was supposed to eat a potato, and i forgot about that. By the time I remembered, I was too lazy to go to the store.

I should talk about my lame attempt at writing. 1500 words in about three hours. Am I lacking inspiration? I learned two things today.

  1. Create more tension – I have chapters where there is not a lot of action happening besides setting the scene. This is required here and there. However, the trick is how to maintain tension when setting a scene. This Blog on Six steps to creating more tension helped. Some genres are easier than others. In my story a little boy gets lost in town and my task today was to fill in a part of the story that has been missing although the rest of the story is written. I almost made it. One way I gauge how engaged my readers could be is by evaluating how engaged I am when i write the chapter.
  2. Forced accountability with critique groups helps a lot. I have a date with a friend on Tuesday and she’ll get me to finish the chapter before then.

In three weeks and minus 4 pounds –  I have to hand over a completed draft to the boy to read through….


The boyfriend diary: Fixing my unemotional character

I’ve been told that I’m unemotional. Last time I heard this was when I was getting dumped. Don’t worry, this wasn’t painful at all. I’ve used my lack of emotion as a tool to deal with life. So I never had a problem with “unemotional”. I liked it. I owned it. It defined me. But frequently I found that people define emotional differently.

Then as life would have it, I started writing a book. The book is written from the point of view of a 10 year old boy. I found out soon enough that the little boy, Farai, was just like me – or just like how i thought I would react in the situations he found himself in. It took a lot of help, reading, emotional thesaurus and creative acrobatics to make him more realistic. I essentially resisted this at the beginning because I felt (and still do feel) that there are situations where kids his age would react that way in Zimbabwe (i.e. unemotionally). I was trying not to turn him into a pussy little boy. I think I managed.

I recently started an autobiography “idea”, and I ran into the same problem. However, to every problem there is a  solution. I listed three solutions:

A personal “emotions diary”

love diary

love diary

I did three days. Everyday for three whole days, I wrote up to three prominent feelings I had. I had to think about questions like: What did a feel? What physiological changes did I experience, increase in heart rate, body temperature, tensing of muscles? What thoughts were going through my head and what did I say? How did I say it?

After three days, it wasn’t working so well. Ignorance had been bliss. I operated under the idea that “I don’t think about my emotions so therefore I don’t have any”. There were also events that happened through that short period that made me scared of myself. I will likely come back to that on another day.

An emotions diary about my relationship

I’m dating a truly amazing guy. He makes me happy. I decided to start a diary tomorrow on how he makes me feel. I plan to start with the positive feelings (thats just taking the path of least resistance). Maybe a daily log of our life would be a great gift for him one day. I’m curious to see whether I can be honest. If I can be honest about a situation that brings so much happiness to my life, then I expect that will be a training ground for my autobiography. I can start with the happy times. I wasn’t always unemotional.

A therapist

Someone once said to me “there are people who go to school for years to learn how to deal with people like you EJ.” Well – my ex-therapist acquired his own therapist….Only joking, I’m not that broken. Therapy is not an option because I don’t trust that I will be able to open up to someone who essentially couldn’t care less if I walked through his door or not. I don’t think you can pay someone to care. I can understand their value, but in my skepticism, its not for me.

I went with the boyfriend diary. Stay tuned for how much progress I make.