Couple of more days. That’s all the work I have left for 2015. Just until Friday, then I’m out until 2016, when I start the long, arduous climb toward Christmas again.
Yeah, I even look forward to it that soon.
But I’ve been busier than it seems.
First, I’ve done pretty good getting some new words into a new project. It should pan into a book, but I’m not going to worry about word count. I’ll just write the story, just like I did with the last one. (Which, coincidentally, turned into a novel all by its lonesome.) I hit a wall not long after starting, but I’ve powered through that by just…I dunno. Sitting there and writing something.
This project is significant in a couple of ways. First, it’s going to be the first project in which I actually try to implement Heinlein’s Rules. My wife read this post by DWS and something rang so loud in her heart she was moved to tears. Something significant there, but I can’t identify what that is just yet. Something, though. I felt it too – yeah, that’s a little weird and ethereal, but it’s true – but her thoughts on it solidified it for me.
Anyway, I’ve gotten started because of Rule #1 – You must write. But, like most other writers, the hurdle lately has been Rule #2 – You must finish what you write. Oh, so much harder to do than say!
So, since July, I’ve launched approximately three projects. I’ve gotten a couple of thousand words into each one before petering out, losing the inspiration and motivation to keep going. One of those projects even has an outline, but DWS points out that outlining won’t help a writer finish. It won’t provide spark, interest, and it won’t make writing fun again. All it can do is guide the direction of the story (or dictate it, if you’re into detailed outlines).
So that silver bullet didn’t slay this particular werewolf for me. So far, nothing has. I took a different tack this time, though, and decided to practice what I preach and used Algis Budrys’s 7-Point Plot method for creating this story.
Okay, that’s not exactly true. I’ve had the rough idea for this story for a few years now. But to get it going, I started by creating a couple of characters, in a setting (context), with a problem.
Once that’s done, the rest of the story should sort of write itself. If you’re interested in this process, I have something up on my author blog about it if you’re curious.
I didn’t feel much inspired last night, but I sat down and forced a few hundred words out anyway. I figured they’d be horrid, complete suckitude, but my wife said nothing of quality. Only pointed out a few errors, easily fixed.
What does that mean? Well, I think it means I can sit down and write if I want to, I just have to make myself take BICFOK. After that, what happens happens.
So I have the basic elements of the story in place, in general, and last night I touched on a major element – the inciting incident’s being set up. And while I’m not deliberately planning these things, I know how the story has to launch to get going (and have for several years – five, maybe? six?), and once that happens, the rest will – or at least should – fall into place.
Time will show, but so far, so good. I’m more than 4K into it and I’ve been working on it in fits and starts, doing as much as I can manage, since Sunday evening. I do have the block of vacation time I mentioned previously coming, so there’s a long runway to come at it. But, I want to decompress over this vacation, too, and I will have to do some work from time to time and make sure things are going all right in my day job.
But I’m sort of excited by this plotting method, on a couple of fronts. First because it lays the story out so nicely for you, but second because it doesn’t force you to populate a template. How the story unfolds is yours to discover. What the middle elements are, only your imagination can decide.
Or, if you’d like, you can set everything up in as much or as little detail as you’d like. And when you’re finished you’ll have an outline any plotter would be proud of. Need more detail? Fire away, if it doesn’t kill your creativity, it certainly won’t break this method.
Whether it works for me or not remains to be seen, but if I’m going to follow Heinlein’s Rules, I have to finish things when I start them. I also have to keep them on the market, which means I’ve already fallen down because my last novel is collecting virtual dust on my hard drive while I wait for the first book to magically materialize in my head.
So the next major challenge might just be whether this method can salvage a story which has seen three or four attempted re-writes already. (I decided I need to start the story faster, too, get the hook set quicker if I can find it. But that’s another blog post.)
I’ll keep you updated, like it or not. If I’m not posting as much over the holidays, it’s because I’m writing. And because holidays.