Category Archives: Notes
I did some more research on court cases just to get a general idea on how it works and I also started reading Kafka’s “The Trial”.
I’ve researched terms and/or sayings with the words “just” or “justice” in them:
- just as well, just so, just a minute, just deserts, just for the hell of it, not just another pretty face, just for the record, just in case, just in time
- justice day/Day of Judgement, bring them to justice, poetic justice, Lady Justice.
The symbolism of Lady Justice: a blindfolded woman with a scale in one hand and a sword in the other. The scales is a symbol of balance, the blindfold = impartiality, sword = authority.
Order of a court case:
- crime committed.
- person is arrested
- Plead guilty or not guilty
- settlement or
- The Trial. Evidence is presented to determine if the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
- sentencing: determined through jury and/or judge
- accused can appeal
Other jargon: if person lays a false claim under oath, he or she can be charged with perjury; jury’s verdict, cross examination, hostile witness, the accused, affidavit, bail, insanity plea, juvenile/minor, double jeopardy (protection of defendant; can’t be charged with same crime twice).
Writing is like drawing and colouring in a picture, but instead of using crayons you use words. The plot is the outline, then colour and shading based on how your character develops.
I’ve written Chapter 2’s outline (plot) today.
Last time I ended with the teens in the house. Then I had to figure out how to introduce the house characters to them, also which room they are in.
Plot outline: Hallway, sitting room, playroom, bathroom, dining room, hallway, library.
The teens are locked up in the bathroom right now, trying to figure out how to escape.
Here is a thought: when does one plan the chapters? Beforehand? While you’re writing? Or afterwards when the story is finished?
Because I think I’m finished with Chapter 1 and started with Chapter 2. The teens are in the house now and meets the man.
Obviously it’s not perfect. It still needs a lot of rewriting, but I’ll work on that later. Otherwise I’ll never reach the ending.
I’m ashamed to say I haven’t made any real progress so far this week. I couldn’t do anything on Day 9 and Day 10 and yesterday I only made a small, rudimentary drawing of the interior of the house.
I’m so annoyed with myself. I know I should just start writing now. So without further ado, I’d like to say:
Let the writing commence!
Today, I should try to define or describe the landscape (woods) and the house (inside and outside).
I haven’t decided in which part of the world the story takes place. The reason why I am so reluctant to do this, is because I don’t want to limit my creativity.
Keep in mind these are just ideas for now.
Woods: What should be in my woods. How should it look like?
Trees? Oak trees, dogwood, willows, birch, fallen trees, tree stumps
Paths? Overgrown path perhaps?
Other plants? wild flowers, ferns, shrubs, mushrooms, climbing plants (ivy), nettles, moss.
Animals? squirrels, hedgehogs, mice,
Birds? owls, black birds, cuckoos, doves, singing birds (thrush, nightingale)
Season? Autumn, red brown leaves carpet
Weather? Cold-ish, humid in the woods.
House: I’ve googled some houses just to get an idea of what the outside looks like.
The house in my head: White-painted wooden house with black roof and shutters. White wooden fence around the property with a black iron gate. White sign with black bold letters. There is a garden with flowers and maybe a big cherry blossom tree?
The house stands in a clearing.
I still have to decide if the house looks abandoned from the outside or is it neat and tidy?
I still have to draw a map of the interior of the house.
I should remind myself that it’s only day 7 and it’s okay that my characters are not complete beings yet. I shouldn’t rush it.
I am actually amazed on how much I covered in just a week. I accomplished more in a week than in the last 10 years (Gasp.Shock.Horror!).
Seriously though this is what I have so far:
A group of teenagers are lost in the woods. There is Chris and Sarah (brother and sister), Jenny (Chris’s girlfriend) and Ben (lifelong friend of Chris and Sarah).
They know each other from school and they grew up in the same neighbourhood. Jenny and Sarah is in the same year, but don’t get along. They tolerate each other only because of Chris.
Jenny is the popular girl in school: pretty, blonde hair, the cheerleader type. Materialistic, egotistic. Will do anything to have a good time. She is wearing heels (not such a great idea for a hike into the woods). Wants to be a model when she grows up.
Sarah is not so popular: she has a strong mind and strong principles, know the difference between right and wrong, a bit of a goodie-two-shoes, worries over trivialities, adores and looks up to her brother. She has dark-brown hair and she wears it in a braid. She is wearing a red T-shirt, chocolate brown jeans and sneakers. She aspires to be a lawyer one day.
Chris is tall, lean, has dark-brown hair, wears glasses, athletically built. He is an adventure seeker, always looking for the next adventure. It was his idea to go for a hike through the woods. He likes to explore which makes him one of the popular kids in school. Everyone wants to be his friend.
Ben is Chris’s best friend. They are the same age. He is the clown of the group. A bit sarcastic maybe? He likes to tease the girls. He is a bit shorter than Chris, blonde, has a sharp hooked nose and his hair is styled to stand up on his forehead (it makes him look a little bit like a cockatiel. He is secretly in love with Jenny, but values his friendship with Chris more important. He hasn’t decided what profession he will go into after finishing school.
Then the occupants of the house:
Man: Owner and master of the house. He is wearing a suit with a black top hat and a bow tie (almost like Willy Wonka). Overfriendly, he wants to keep the teens in the house as long as possible. Plays piano, poor singing voice very false almost like a donkey.
Nurse: Silly, short, plump woman, eager to please her master, follows him around like a sick puppy, nervous giggles. (inspiration: Mrs Kitty Forman from That ’70s Show; Charlotte Palmer from Sense and Sensibility). Always chattering away (mostly about nonsense).
Boy: 6/7/8 year old boy. Short, fat. Wearing brown shorts with suspenders over a white cotton shirt with buttons. Found in the playroom upstairs, clutching his crotch as if he really needs to go pee (but for some strange reason he never does). Shrill voice.
Hmmm Now that I’ve actually written it down all in one place it actually doesn’t look that bad.
Finally I have some idea of the house’s occupants. It’s a man, woman and a boy. And with that, I’m starting to get ideas for the plot and how to introduce these characters to the readers.
In one scene, the man will be playing a song on the piano and singing. He will be singing a familiar song but the words will be different.
The boy is up in the playroom. The man and woman will drag the teens (two each) up the stairs to go meet the boy.
I’m still deciding if there will be other teens in the house (who trespassed before). If I do decide to include them, maybe they can be locked up in the playroom in makeshift ‘cages’. One of the prisoners can try to warn the new teens.
Later, when the teens try to sneak out of the house the man will get really angry and say something like:
“Well, if you do not choose to stay, you must be punished!”
I still need a smooth transition from that to the trial.
Tomorrow is Saturday, so I will have more time to spend on each character’s description.
I’ve decided to get some inspiration for my characters, because I’m really struggling with this.
First, I wrote down all my friends’ names and their characteristics. But now I can’t even figure out what is our common interest???
The only stories that I know of that has a group of friends is The Famous Five, Secret Seven and Scooby Doo.
Famous Five: 2 boys, 2 girls, younger, and a dog.
Secret Seven: 4 boys, 3 girls, older, some are related.
Scooby Doo: 2 boys, 2 girls, older (students) and a dog.
Maybe I don’t need to have 5 characters, maybe 4 is enough?
I’ve picked random names just so I can differentiate between the characters for now – it can always change later on. (I’m so TERRIBLE with giving names to my characters).
Sometimes I think this whole thing is a waste of time and I’ll never be able to pull it off. And then I get a crazy idea that might just work.
Okay, so if I am going to try to write a farce I need to figure out what I am going to make absurd in the story. And it’s okay if my characters are stereotypes.
I’ve also started writing the beginning of the story. So far it’s only dialogue, I will fill in the blanks later.
I remember long ago, I also tried to write a beginning to the story. I should find my notes and see if I can use something from that as well.
What kind of story is it? I want it to be somewhat absurd like a ‘farce’.
A farce is a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay. It has crude characterizations and ludicrous improbable situations. A farce describes an event that is absurd and/or disorganized. The characters are deliberately exaggerated.
Examples of famous farces:
- John Cleese in Fawlty Towers and Monty Python.
- Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales
- Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of being Earnest
- William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors
- ‘Allo! ‘Allo!
- Freaky Friday
- Arsenic and old lace. I fondly remember the character Teddy who believes he is President F. D. Roosevelt and how he announces his presence with a bugle.
- Mrs Brown’s Boys
- My Boetie se boetie se baba ?
How to write a perfect farce: According to John Cleese, the absurd situations must be believable. It must read like clockwork: writer winds it up with credible premises and let’s it unwind with inevitable but startling logic. The characters are usually stereotyped. Sex and death are common themes.
So, if I do decide to write a farce maybe older characters would be more appropriate.
I also wanted to research how a trial is described in some absurd texts, because I’m thinking of including one in my story.
In Alice in Wonderland Chapter 11: Who stole the tarts? Caroll uses the following words/jargon: court, judge, jurors, herald (messenger) reads accusation, witness, testimony, jury box, verdict.
I’m thinking perhaps I should read Kafka’s The Trial. It describes a legal process but doesn’t process anything.
So I have 5 characters (that I still have to figure out). I’m placing them in the woods, but where? USA, UK, South Africa or entirely fictional?
They come across a house. What does it look like? White, old, dilapidated comes to mind. Shuttered windows perhaps? Roof is black.
Is there a garden? Trees?
Is the house surrounded by a wall or a fence? Does it have a gate?
How many storeys? 2 or 3?
Is the door unlocked? Yes
Is the house spooky or charming? Maybe a bit of both.
Is the house real or enchanted?
How many rooms does it have? Hallway, sitting room with grandfather clock and piano, heavy furniture, staircase, dining room, library, kitchen, scullery, two bedrooms, bathroom, study, hall closet, games/play room. I’m going to have to make a drawing with the layout of the house (another day perhaps).
There is a sign with a warning not to trespass. This sign will start a debate where the ‘moral compass’ will tell the others it’s a bad idea to check out the house and another character saying what harm could it do? Maybe calling the ‘moral compass’ character a chicken.
Once they are inside the house, it’s as if they stepped into another time. They see a vicious looking dog/wolf patrolling the grounds outside.
I’m not sure how comfortable I am in publishing these details. I hate for someone to read it and steal my ideas.