Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Getting some traction...

The process of rebooting my core story idea has yielded good fruit so far. I can't help but wondering how many other writers have gone through a similar process.

Rebuilding the story around my character rather than the plot has pretty much stripped my original story. Part of me feels like I've abandoned my original story, but the other part of me is reassuring me that this approach feels more natural.

A few nuggets of wisdom from a book titled The 90-Day Novel:

  • Stories are about transformations. The purpose of story is to reveal a transformation.
  • Problems are solved while dilemmas are resolved through a shift in perception.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Slamming my writing career into drive

I've been in a bit of a rut lately. The bootcamp had the opposite effect on my productivity than I expected. In fact it’s made me question everything. I've struggled with feelings that I'm ever going to be a writer, and by that I mean a professional writer. I know I'm a published writer, a blogger, a comic book historian. Keene's keynote speech on the realities of being a B-list writer was sobering. But, there's still hope in terms of ePublishing. But none of that is really going to be a concern if I don't have a product.

If I was a career in writing, that's how I'm going to have to look at it. My writing is a product and I need to get it into a marketable shape. It's a daunting amount of work to proceed, perhaps that's what I find intimidating and overwhelming. I think it's also a confidence thing. I feel like I'm no farther ahead of where I
was in 2007 after WHC here in Toronto. I know that's not true.

The other side of my struggles have to do with my Black Knight Towing/Thunderbird Towing/Marc Galloway. Maybe it's just story idea fatigue. Maybe trying to hold onto it for too long, trying to make something of it. Or maybe I'm just looking for a way out.

It's always easier to start something new than to actually finish it. Maybe that's the test I need to put the idea up against. Give it 90 days and see what kind of fruit I can produce.

Yes, I'm in a bit of a rut. The only way out is to write my way out. And I need a 90-day plan.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Butcher's Story Skeletons

From Jim Butcher's LiveJournal page:

"The story skeleton is a description of the main plot of your book, broken down into its simplest elements: *WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS*, *YOUR PROTAGONIST* *PURSUES A GOAL*. But will he succeed when *ANTAGONIST PROVIDES OPPOSITION*?"

For example, the story skeleton for his first novel, Storm Front, was:

"When a series of grisly supernatural murders tears through Chicago, wizard Harry Dresden sets out to find the killer. But will he succeed when he finds himself pitted against a dark wizard, a Warden of the White Council, a vicious gang war, and the Chicago Police Department?"

I've found this exercise useful when trying to sort out my plot ideas. Refining all the ideas swirling around in your head can be daunting, but using a model like this can help bring structure to it all. I feel that walking through this exercise helps not only focus your efforts, but rein in the scope of your story.