Posts Tagged ‘rupert’ Archive

The First 312 Words

Gabi Lessa is having a fabulous contest on her blog in honor of her birthday!

Here are the rules if you’d like to join!

  1. Visit her blog to sign up for the contest. You have until noon on Saturday, March 12th, to sign up.
  2. The contest is open for everyone. You can enter either a finished manuscript or a work in progress.
  3. Post the first 312 words of your manuscript on your blog. Just the first 312! It doesn’t matter if it ends mid-sentence, that’s ok. But please be sure to count! 312 words, not one more, not one less!
  4. When you post your entry, post your title, your genre and your manuscript’s status (finished or in progress).

So…here’s Rupert!

TitleRupert Reginald Robinson, the ninth & the House Next Door
GenreMiddle Grade
First 312 Words:

Rupert Reginald Robinson clutched a thick book to his chest, his forehead rested against the glass of the backseat car window.  The car bumped across the road.  His head slid to a new place and left a smudge of grease on the glass.

“Ouch,” he said as his head whacked against the glass for a third time.  He released his book and rubbed his forehead with two fingers.

In his left hand he gripped a baseball.  The ball was worn and frayed as if a dog had chewed on the red bindings.  As the car bounced down the road the ball rotated around, his fingers moved methodically so the ball was always in motion.

Rupert placed his head back against the glass and looked out onto the street.  At the corner stood Bobby.

Bobby was the school bully.  A small grey rat rode on his shoulder.  This rat was his favorite form of torture.  Bobby would hide it in kids’ lockers to scare them.  He scowled when he saw Rupert spying him through the glass.

“Aunt Miriam?”  Rupert asked and looked up to the front seat.

“Hmm?”  Miriam kept her eyes on the road.

“Are we almost there?”

“No Rupert, we are not almost there.  Do not ask again.”

Rupert turned back to stare out the window.

Beside him, his cousin sat in a booster seat playing with dolls.  She hummed quietly to herself as the dolls clicked against each other.  Rupert could hear her lips moving as she silently talked to herself

“Mom? Are we there yet?” Delilah asked absentmindedly.

“We’ll be there in just a few minutes, sweetie.”  Miriam said and reached back to pat her daughter on the knee.

Rupert rolled his eyes.

The car came to a halt in their driveway and Delilah began to squirm in her seat.  She quickly dropped both her dolls to the car…


I’ve read two posts on plotting recently, the first by Chuck Wendig and the second by Angela Perry.  Both of them are fantastic and have inspired me to revamp my plotting style.

I’ve always been a plotter, but it has been in the form of a shabby outline and more often than not, it’s all done in my head.  I’ve always liked leaving things in my head for a while to stew before getting it down on the page.  That all has changed in the past week.

Rupert is finished, and by finished I really mean not even close.  I’ve changed the beginning a bit and have a lot of work still to do on the ending.  It certainly is exciting though to have a whole book put together!  Anyways, I’m going on vacation in three weeks and am going to use those weeks in two different ways.

  • I’m going to keep editing Rupert, and
  • Plotting!

I’ve had a novel sitting in my noggin since high school and recently it has been itching to get onto the page.  I tentatively began plotting this novel a few weeks ago but really didn’t want to get into it before Rupert was done.  After reading Angela’s post on plotting, I decided to plot more…and more…and now I have many many pages of plotting done.  It’s exciting!  I’ve decided to use my vacation in three weeks to use the plotting I’ve done and write as much as I can of this other novel.  It will be a vacation from Rupert!  haha.

Here is what I have figured out I like to do when plotting:

  1. I draw a map.  This is one of my favorite things to do when I am beginning to world build.  My maps begin by pencil and are slowly filled in with colored pencils, the more I figure out what the world looks like.
  2. I write a one page, quick overview of the major events.  This will be expanded and filled in later.
  3. I write a list of characters filed into two columns – if they are major or minor characters.  After this, I take the major characters and put them into a chart.  In it I include their motivation (abstract), goal (concrete), two values that conflict, their main conflict, and the change that occurs in them.  This is something I have taken from Angela.
  4. I write an outline, including chapter titles.  I love making up chapter titles.  Under the titles I write, and highlight, the characters who are introduced in the chapter.  I try to write about a half a page of what I want to happen- character dilemma’s, how the main characters are evolving, conflicts that are resolved and conflicts that are created, etc.  I also write questions here that I need to still find answers to.  Snippets of conversation get stuck here also.
  5. Something else I have taken from Angela is writing from each characters point of view, even the minor characters.  I did this and ended up discovering unknown aspects to characters personalities and what makes them unique.
  6. Lastly, I take a page from J.K.Rowling’s book.  She puts together a spreadsheet that contains all important elements and character development that occur through out the novel.  I love doing this because everything gets stuck in one easy place to refer to.  This isn’t always the easiest part of plotting for me, but when I finish I feel very accomplished.

Those are the main pieces for plotting I have fallen in love with.  What are your habits for plotting?

Illustrations by Chris Van Allsburg

Rupert’s story began some six years ago when I was in high school.  A friend had to write a short story based on a picture.  They couldn’t think of one, so naturally, I helped.  I wrote half a page of ideas and tucked it away in my memory.  Tonight, I decided to find that picture.

I’m positive all of you have seen Chris Van Allsburg’s illustrations.  They’re incredibly…incredible.

Here is the initial inspiration for the plot of Rupert:

Chris Van Allsburg Illustration

"Two weeks passed and it happened again"

This picture isn’t quite as I remembered it, but it is so utterly exciting to have it in front of me again!

My tip for all writers out there: pick one of Chris’s illustrations and write a short story based off it.  Use your imagination!  No, it’s not a rat under the rug, or a mouse.  Instead it’s….well, you choose!

Lesson From My Dogs

First, I won! Pia Bernardino hosted a contest on her blog ( and I won a $10 gift card to Amazon. How amazing is that.  I’m going to have to put some good thought into what books to get…hmm…

Sometimes, in my writing, I have a hard time with silence and have to put a lot of work into sections where I do not have dialogue.  I try to put time and thought into what a characters mannerisms are that will make them unique, so if a reader only reads their movements or thoughts they will immediately know which character it is.  This is a lesson I have learned from my dogs (and have to continue working at!!).

Prefontaine is my Boston mix (both dogs are rescue mutts) she has a firecracker personality.  I don’t mean she’s loud and rambunctious, but she is intense.  She always lets you know what she is thinking and feeling.  She’s the dominant female of the family and often butts Piglet out of the way so she can get attention.  This includes crawling on top of Pig if she’s cuddling with me.  When she’s happy she squiggles; she’ll roll onto her back and twist back and forth, grunting.  She’ll belly crawl across the carpet with a huge smile on her face in the morning.  I’ve never seen a dog so happy to wake up for the day.  Along with her happiness, comes an opposite pouty nature.  She lets you know when she’s mad.  If I go out on a run and don’t take her I come back to her sitting on her dog bed.  Her head will be down and she won’t come see me for an hour, at least not until I am fully punished.  Pre also does not like carrots.  She’ll sniff and push her head away to tell you so.

Piglet (German Shepherd/Pitt Bull mix), on the other hand, is not an attention seeker.  She often lays at the opposite end of the couch and does not like cuddling all that much.  She’ll give kisses, but they’re tentatively given- you can tell she thinks hard about who and when she’ll give them out.  She snorts when she’s happy, when she’s sleeping, and when she’s getting her belly scratched.  She loves nothing better than swimming and running off leash when we’re at the trails.  Often, she’ll disappear in the house and we’ll find her asleep on our bed.  It seems to be her ‘safe’ place.  Not much bothers or upsets her, she seems to be even keel in emotion.  She also has refused to learn how to walk on a leash so we have to walk her on a harness, which she absolutely hates and backs away from when we start putting it on.

How much do you learn from someone from their body language, without talking to them?  Quite a lot.

The happiness tip for today isn’t really a happiness tip, but a piece of advice for writing.  I have real life inspiration for my character, Rupert.  To get to know Rupert better, I sat and watched my inspiration and wrote pages purely on his mannerisms and things that made him unique.  After that, I picked out the ones that were Rupert.  My advice, is to take time getting to know your characters actions, the parts that make them interesting and be sure that is put into your writing.  This will develop those characters in your readers’ imaginations and will stick much better than any dialogue!

Major Conflict

Today I am reworking the second chapter of Rupert.  Sophia, a wonderful woman who has read/critiqued my first chapter, commented that since Rupert is a middle grade book the major conflict needs to come pretty quickly.  Geez, how did I miss that!  Here I am, writing a book where the major conflict doesn’t come in until the fourth chapter, that’s 1/4 of the way through the book (there are twelve chapters currently planned and written).

At first when I realized this I was pretty bummed and didn’t know how to rework those first few chapters as I love what I have already written.  Writing is a process of editing and knowing when to delete and change.  I have decided to write a new second chapter and introduce the conflict earlier.  Doing this, I am avoiding having to completely delete my second-fourth chapters, but I will have to change them a little.  Clever, eh?  haha

Anyways, there’s where Rupert is currently at.

Also, here’s a great piece of advice Dad gave me earlier this week.  When you are critiquing a piece of work don’t focus on content but on helping them become a better writer.