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July Camp '22: The Players (Final Chapters)



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Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:06 pm
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RandomTalks says...



The Players



I will be picking up where I left off in my April Camp since it is very clear that I only work on this novel during NaNo now. I am hoping to finish by the end of August, so my main goal for this camp will be to write out the big climax so that I can focus on tying up the endings in the next month.

So a brief outline of the story so far:

A group of people wake up on an island with no memory of how they got there. They are scared and confused and angry as from the very first moment it is clear that someone is playing a game with them. However, they must figure out which side of the board they are on before it is too late. In this race for survival and escape, secrets are unraveled, lives are lost and it turns out not everyone is who they are claiming to be.

(The plot of the story is inspired by Lost. It takes place in a dystopian world and while the setting is similar, the plot and characters are very much my own. Its sort of like a fanfiction, except that its not. Does that make sense?)

Current Wordcount: 105.316k

Goal:I am hoping to wrap up the climax within 3 chapters, so...
    (a) 12k words
    (b) outline the ending
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell




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Wed Jun 22, 2022 12:16 pm
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RandomTalks says...



PlANMO CHALLENGES



1. ELEVATOR PITCH



This is the original outline of the story that I came up with during NaNo 21, and I think it fits best as an elevator pitch.

A group of strangers wake up on a deserted island in the middle of an airplane wreckage with no memory of ever getting on the plane. All they remember are their entire lives, but with certain clots of memories missing, like who sent them there and why.
We follow Sara Andrews as she stumbles out of the jungle and recognizes exactly where she is - the island from a TV show she used to be obsessed about as a kid. She knows exactly what is going to happen and exactly when it is going to happen, and that makes her the most dangerous person on the island. How long will she be able to conceal her knowledge? How long will she be able to protect herself?

But most importantly, why are they there? And how do they get out?
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell




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Fri Jun 24, 2022 9:39 pm
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RandomTalks says...



2. CHARACTER TWEETS



(I have never been on Twitter, so bear with me please!)

Theodore: Hi, I am Theodore! But you guys can call me Teddy! This seems to be an awesome place to make new friends and I am looking forward to getting acquainted with you all!

(Teddy will be shy and nervous, but always polite and kind. He is always trying to make new friends!)

Ryan: To all my amazing friends on Twitter: don't get disheartened if I am a little late in getting to those replies! I am currently on a road trip with friends and I will share those amazing pictures with you as soon as I get back!

(Ryan will be excited and hyped and expect that everyone loves life as much as he does. He will also be insanely active on social media.)

Sara: Hi, I am Sara! Not really sure how this platform works, but if anyone has seen my brother Julian can they please tell him to come home? Its not funny anymore.

(Sara will be awkward and clueless and only turn to social media in times of desperation, um, like trying to find her brother after he wandered off again?)

Frank: Only half a dolphin's brain sleeps at a time. Apparently, they also sleep with one eye open at all times.

(Weird animal facts are kind of Frank's things.)

Will: I am taking a temporary leave, so if you are a patient in need of immediate assistance, please contact me on my private cell number and I will try to get back to you as soon as I can.

(He will be brief and precise and only use social media for business, not pleasure!)

Skyler: Hello, everybody! Skyler here! If you are finally tired of wasting dollars on those branded clothes, you should come by my shop where we design clothes to suit your varied tastes and interests! Skylar's Corner is now open and accepting orders! Hurry up! Or else, I cannot promise any discounts!

(Skyler will be charming and confident; an active member of social media with lots of followers!)

(Will try to do more characters later!)
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell




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Fri Jun 24, 2022 10:10 pm
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RandomTalks says...



3. DESCRIBE A THEME



I guess a recurring theme of the story is maturation. Technically, all the characters in my story are adults, who've had their share of experiences and life lessons. Some of them have surpassed their hurdles, while many are still carrying their boulders around because they do not know how to let it go and most importantly because they do not know what to do when the weight is finally off their shoulders. The entire point of the story is to take them far away from everything they know and have worked their entire lives for. Erase a past and blur the future so that now is all that they have. And in the middle of this empty nothingness, they get to rediscover themselves, recognize themselves for who they are when all is stripped away. We see them be real and raw and we get to watch them learn to know themselves, understand and love themselves for who they are.

Another theme would be letting go, I guess. The main three characters of my stories have been stuck in these holes for a long time. Maybe people, situations or life dug these holes for them and even pushed them in there. But my characters have gotten so used to the darkness of these holes that they have made a home out of it. They cannot escape, not until they are open to the idea of forgiving (themselves and the world) and are ready to let go. A pivotal idea of the story is that maybe they do not need to let go completely; maybe they just need to find people with whom they can share the weight of the things they have been carrying around. And with everyone opening their palms a little wider for the other person, the weight won't be so terribly oppressive anymore. Maybe they will even learn to live with it.
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell




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Sat Jun 25, 2022 1:00 pm
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Liminality says...



Great PlanMo entries @RandomTalks! Your theme descriptions are very detailed, and I love those character tweets. Frank's weird animal fact was really interesting. Good luck with your story!
she/her

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Sat Jun 25, 2022 1:13 pm
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RandomTalks says...



Thank you!! :) @Liminality
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell




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Sat Jun 25, 2022 1:31 pm
RandomTalks says...



4. DESCRIBE A DIFFICULT PLOT LINE



Since I am going to be focusing on the climax of the story during Camp, my entire plan seems to me like a big bold danger sign. There are a lot of characters in my story and the entire climax hangs on each of them coming together to play their own significantly unique role in this game that has been going on for too long. So there is no one big scene; there are three that run simultaneously along with each other in three corners of the island, led by my three main protagonists.

1st - We will follow Sara as she leads Teddy and Karl and the others.

2nd - Will and Beth lead the reluctant campers to the beach. They are confronted with an emotionally charged Arthur on the way.

3rd- James and Daniel work together to find a way off the island.

Everybody reunites at the beach; some plans work, some fail; confessions are made and not everyone takes kindly to them.


I think the main challenge here will be to compose these scenes in a way that they each retain the voice of the character we are viewing through. I've always had a little trouble balancing plot and character story as I tend to lean towards the latter in most of my stories. But I want it to be a perfect balance this time, so that the actions that unfold trigger reactions that are equally as raw and real. It is very important that I find this balance because the impact of this climax on my characters is the foundation of their growth. Its been a very long journey and it all depends on who they are on the end line, and what they've done to get there.

Another very big challenge will be meshing the scenes together into an ending where it all leads to one point. I want them all to be together when everything goes down, but I want it to be in a way that makes sense. So, I have to focus on the pacing and the character voices and the three separate plot lines for the scene so that I have a clear vision of the ending. Its all sounding very hectic and impossible now, so I am hoping it will be easier while writing.
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell




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Sat Jun 25, 2022 2:55 pm
RandomTalks says...



5. SUPPORTING CAST



Well, there are a lot of them.

James:

James is probably the character who has come the farthest in the story. I don't mean to be biased, but he unknowingly became my favorite character in this story a while ago. It is a little difficult to understand him and like him because he is always trying his hardest to make you dislike him. Its not because he is antisocial or a sadistic. He is just so full of resentment that most days he does not know what to do with it or himself. His past has taught him to always be on guard, to always anticipate attacks and to always expect the very worst of people. He is arrogant in ways, overconfident and proud and not always easy to get along with. But he is also very sharp, catching on to things way before the others and establishing his one-man army on the beach from the very first day.

Underneath though, he is full of raw vulnerabilities and we get a glimpse of that through his interactions with Sara who always sees through his facades and calls him out on it unashamedly every time. Generally, James is a very unhelpful man, but when it comes to her and Max or things he cares about, we see how fiercely protective he can be.

Frank:

Frank is a middle-aged man, whose history and background is just as much as mystery to the campers as the island itself. He is a good person, solid and reliable, a perfect gentleman, with a surprisingly vast knowledge about wildlife. And yet, it is impossible to know him. There is always something shimmering beneath his eyes, some thought or plan that he will never let you know but will undoubtedly use against you when the moment requires. No one knows what he wants, what he desires or hopes for. But he is always there, casually tucked in the corner of every scene, with an opinion about everything.

He is wise and intelligent and when he speaks, one is forced to listen. He forms an easy bonding with Max and Skyler and Jason, but his relationship with the islanders are always changing shapes and forms. James is wary of him and Will maintains a respectable distance. Sara, on the other hand, often fails to brush aside his words and we see them affecting her, especially after Beth's entry into the group.

Beth:

Elizabeth, or Beth, has the widest of memory gaps among the significant characters. Its especially difficult for her as her past, confusing as it is, hangs like a heavy weight over her shoulders. Misunderstood from childhood, the cycle continues on the island as she switches from one side to the other, trying to secure her own safety. She is smart and intelligent, often using her knowledge to carefully manipulate people onto her side. She doesn't succeed often and the islanders become more guarded and confused about whether to accept her in or steer clear.

However, what she desperately wants is to belong somewhere with someone. We can see this in her scenes with Will, who makes the biggest effort with her. She is a little jealous and angry and hurt at the effortless friendship Sara shares with Will and Daniel and especially James, as according to her they have even less reasons to trust her. However after a confrontation with James, we see her and understand her more clearly. Its easier to sympathize with her when we realize just how lonely and misunderstood she has been all her life.

Daniel:

Daniel is quiet and reserved. He has a lot of thoughts but he doesn't share very easily. Earning his trust is difficult as he seems to lend it to specific persons for unspecified reasons that often seem to confuse the others. However he is trustworthy and reliable and always ready to do what needs to be done. He has his morals and he sticks to them uncompromisingly. He has the respect of the others, even if they fail to understand him most of the time.

His past is just as heavy and blurry as the others', but he carries it gracefully, accepting any hurdles that comes his ways. There are very few moments where we actually see him being vulnerable, but he recovers and slips back into duty and action just as fast. He shares an easy comradeship with Will from their very first interaction, and as confusing and secretive she is, Daniel still trusts Sara for some reason. This friendship especially eludes the rest of the campers, but it also goes a long way in establishing Sara back in their circle of trust.
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell




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Mon Jun 27, 2022 1:10 am
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Carlito says...



Whoo for continuing what you started during April Camp!! <3
It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

Ask a Therapist!
I want to beta read your novel!


Ask me anything. Talk to me about anything. Seriously. My PM box is always open <3




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Wed Jun 29, 2022 1:20 pm
RandomTalks says...



Thank you!! @Carlito
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell




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Thu Jun 30, 2022 3:01 am
RandomTalks says...



6. MOST CHALLENGING CHARACTER



Sara is not exactly my most challenging character as I have always had a clear vision of her as a person and what I want to present in and through her story. She was my main protagonist and the person with whom the story started. And so far, I think I have had a quite successful journey in portraying her as a character and bringing out the different layers of her through interactions with other characters and experiences on the island. However, the climax will be bringing her arc to a full circle and it will be challenging because her entire personality and who she is as a person is tied to a past that is both dark and murky.

To successfully portray that, I will need to put a lot of focus on her flashbacks. Its important to establish who she was back then so that we can understand who she is right now and what made her that way. All her insecurities, her secrets, her suspicions and her trust issues are the result of a childhood that was not easy. But the only thing or rather person that made it bearable, that grounded her on difficult days and made her want to stick around was her brother. I have explored the different aspects of their relationship throughout the novel, but the guilt that is attached with his death forms the basic foundation for her personality now. Its what drives her to get up every morning and forces her to live another meaningless, excruciating day as a punishment for not listening, for not being the sister her brother had needed her to be. All the little accusations that have been laid upon her since the beginning, the doubts and the mistrust - her tendency to alienate herself from the same people she would risk her life for, without any reason or cause; all of it will line up and fall into place to form the broken picture of her character. Because that is who she is - Sara Andrews, the broken shell of a person, who is always running, always hiding and always trying to make up for the one mistake she made that she cannot take back.

While it is intimidating to close the chapter on a character you have spent such a long time with, I am also quite excited for that one scene where it all comes together. It will be the climax of her story and I just hope I can do it justice.
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell




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Thu Jun 30, 2022 10:18 pm
RandomTalks says...



7. QUESTION & ANSWER



Since the novel showcases a lot of characters and their different stories, personalities and histories and issues, I have used the third person multiple to give each of my characters their own unique and distinct voice. Most of the time, we are switching between Will and Sara, and sometimes when the situation requires, we follow some of the other characters like James and Beth. The switches are divided evenly enough that we get to form an idea and are able to distinguish between each of the characters we are following (or at least I hope so!)

I have never used multiple POV before so I become a little nervous when two of my protagonists have to share a scene together. For example, if Will was confessing about some detail of his past to another character (Sara), would you as the reader prefer to experience it through his POV or through Sara's?

I have found that there are pros and cons to both sides. If I narrate the scene through Will's perspective, I can delve deeper into his feelings and internal thoughts and his mental state in that precise moment of confession. And yet, I feel that the narration gets a little narrowed down in that moment; it becomes one-directional as we are driven by overwhelming emotions that are guiding him in that moment and maybe not in the next. On the other hand, if I narrate that scene through Sara's perspective, we get to sit in the passenger's seat with her and watch as he takes these crazy turns and dives and eventually crashes or corners himself into the dark corner of self-reproach and pity (metaphorically of course!). We get to observe his minute reactions and we get to reform our idea of him as a person right then and there. It has led to some rather intense and exciting realizations that my characters have had about each other before. I most definitely enjoyed writing them, but I cannot decide if that is something the readers would enjoy reading as well or if they would prefer to watch the scene from its source?
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell




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Thu Jun 30, 2022 10:36 pm
RandomTalks says...



8. SONG CHALLENGE



I don't really listen to songs while writing as I like to focus on the lyrics and it can kind of get in the way when you are trying to form words inside your head, or even ideas. So I mostly listen to movie soundtracks or scores and themes while I am working on a project. Its a weird quirk really, because I really think I have listened more scores and soundtracks in the past few months than I have actual songs. Anyways, here goes:


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Since the story is inspired by LOST, I think it would be criminal not to include it here. It was a huge source of inspiration during my past NaNo expeditions and maybe it will motivate me this time as well!


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I have also been listening to Dardevil's soundtrack for some reason recently?( I know its random, but so am I!) On a side note, this track drops and rises in all the right moments (are soundtracks even supposed to do that?), and it did get me through a lot of homework last week!
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell




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Fri Jul 01, 2022 4:30 pm
RandomTalks says...



9. CHARACTER & LOCATION LIST



Characters:

Spoiler! :
    Sara
    Will
    James
    Theodore
    Daniel
    Jason
    Skyler
    Ryan
    Frank
    Ethel
    Kaya
    Neil
    Max
    Charles
    Beth
    the campers
    the others
    the highers
    the Puppeteer (?)


Location List:

Spoiler! :
    On the island -
    the beach
    the camp
    the the jungle
    the cliffs
    the hatch
    the caves
    the waterfall/stream
    the others' camps
    the abandoned barracks
    the control centers

    Sara's flashbacks:
    Her home
    Grandparent's house by the beach
    Austen High School
    Allison's house
    Jake's house
    Middletown Street
    Christ Church

    Will's flashbacks -
    His house
    Parent's house in Chicago
    Susan's house
    His dad's hospital
    Parker Avenue
    Jones Cemetary
    Jerry's flat
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell




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Fri Jul 01, 2022 7:16 pm
RandomTalks says...



10. CHARACTER PROFILE



I am going to use Julian here as most of his scenes in the novel is there to establish Sara's past and I think it would be cool to have flesh him out some more.

Spoiler! :

Name: Julian Andrews
Age: 15 (at the time of death)
Height: 5'3"
Eye colour: Golden-brown
Physical appearance: Julian is short and scrawny. His face is always pale, the mess of freckles peppered across his nose and cheeks always obvious to the eye. He has dark blonde hair like his father and he keeps it untamed.
Strange or unique physical attributes: He has a beauty mark on his wrist, just above his pulse point.
Favourite clothing style/outfit: Jeans and light colored shirts, old sneakers, and sweaters knitted by his grandmother. He wears a watch that his sister had gifted him on his 11th birthday and a necklace that belonged to their mother.
Where does he/she live? What is it like there? -- He lived most of his life in their family home in California with his parents and sister. His home was a toxic place and when the situation would worsen, he would move to his grandparents' with his sister and they would stay there, for weeks at a time. He would also spend some nights at his best friend Jake's house, but only if his sister accompanied him as well (he wouldn't leave her alone in their house).
Defining gestures/movements: His wide and open goofy grin. He was also socially awkward and chewed his nails when he was nervous.
Things about his/her appearance he/she would most like to change: He hated the fact that he was the shortest guy in class and that he was shorter than his sister, in fact What he wouldn't give to borrow a few extra inches, so that he wouldn't have people look down at him anymore.
Speaking style: He usually speaks his mind, often without any filter.
Pet peeves: He absolutely hates bullies. He has been bullied by several people in his short life, and its something he cannot stand letting other people go through.
Fondest memory: Going to the beach with his sister on weekends and coercing her into buying ice-cream afterwards.
Hobbies/interests: He loves surfing and swimming and anything related to the sea. He also loves reading comic books that belonged to his grandfather and collecting weird stones from the beach.
Special skills/abilities: He has the ability to make anyone feel at ease around him. Even the coldest of hearts warm up at his genuine humaneness and he can form connections easily with people, from children to the elderly.
Insecurities: He worries that someday his sister will get tired of him and will move away, as she should have years ago, without him.
Quirks/eccentricities: He is terribly fond of these goofy shirts from his childhood that had pictures of cartoons printed on them. Of course, as a self-respecting teenager he will never wear them, but he still keeps them tucked in a corner of his drawers as a keep-sake of a childhood that left him too fast.
Temperament: He is very compassionate and kind, soft-spoken and goofy.
Negative traits: He can be impatient and easily frustrated. In his hurry to get where he wants, he can often overlook the stones that may lie in his way.
Things that upset him: His father and the fact that they still have to live with him. He gets angry with his sister when she isn't willing to do anything about their living conditions (its a repetitive argument between them).
Things that embarrass him: He gets embarrassed when all the attention is focused on him. He gets flustered and embarrasses himself further by blushing as red as a tomato.
This character is highly opinionated about: Anything that he passionately believes in, especially the tragedy that is their transport system and man's dependence on technology.
Any phobias? -- He is really afraid of heights.
Things that make him/her happy: His sister, his best friends, the remembrance of childhood days spent with his mother on the beach and the hot chocolate that his grandmother used to make, especially for him.
Family (describe): His family consists of his father, his late mother, his sister (Sara), his grandparents from his mother's side (Grandpa Melvin and Grandma Becky), and his lone uncle Jeff.
Deepest, darkest secret: He knew where his mother had been heading the day of her accident and why.
Reason he/she has kept this secret for so long: He feared that once his sister found out, she would never look at him the same way again.
Other people's opinions of this character: People love hanging out with him as he is easygoing and gentle and caring. However, sometimes they just want to have fun and so his dedication to his moral codes can get a little annoying for them.
Favourite bands/songs/types of music: Country rock that he used to listen at his grandparents'.
Favourite movies: A collection of Pixar movies his grandmother had saved for her grandchildren.
Favourite TV shows: He did not have much preference; used to go along with whatever her sister was watching at the time.
Favourite books: Comic books about impossibly cool superheroes.
Favourite foods: Pasta and pudding. Hot chocolate.
Favourite sports/sports teams: He wasn't into any particular sports and was content with watching whatever was playing on the telly.
Political views: He wasn't into politics and chose to blissfully ignore the rising political turmoil in the country.
Religion/philosophy of life: Catholic
Physical health: He was always a little malnourished.
Dream holiday: Somewhere tropical; he didn't like the cold.
Description of his/her house: Their house was two-stories tall, complete with an attic (which became his father's office) and a basement. His room was next to his parents' and his sister was down the hall from him. The living room was cozy but always dirty and filled with unnecessary garbage. Kitchen was never stocked and laundry was always littering the floor.
Description of his/her room: Dark blue walls, with stars on the ceiling that he painted one summer by himself. There is a desk in the corner which he rarely uses, and a shelf of unread books he had borrowed from his sister. A closet and a mirror opposite his small bed and a collection of action figurines he had inherited from his grandfather was always lying around somewhere. There were posters of surfers on his wall and some newspaper clippings of random topics that had piqued his interest at the time. Below his mattress, there is a worn photograph of their family and he kept it safe there, despite the fact that his father was in it.
Any pets? -- None.
Best thing that has ever happened to this character: When his grandfather suggested that he move in with his sister after his grandmother's death.
Worst thing that has ever happened to this character: His mother's accident.
Superstitions: He doesn't have one.
Three words to describe this character: bright, optimistic, compassionate
If a song played every time this character walked into a room, what song would it be? Its Time by Imagine Dragons
“Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.”

― Margaret Mitchell







Oh, I'm sorry. My friends are in the popcorn and I have to save them.
— Tori Hansen, Power Rangers Ninja Storm