agilebrit: (Write Dammit)
This is the text of a talk I gave at the League of Utah Writers last night. I leave it here in the hopes that someone will find it useful.

Okay, so. I used to be an inveterate pantser. Usually, nowadays, I plot. Mostly because there's far less desire to defenestrate my computer.

We are all voracious readers, here, right? That means we know wholly by instinct how Story is supposed to work. My first novel, I wrote completely by accident, no lie. I had a vague setup in my head, and the first chapter made the rest of it inevitable. I didn't know that at the time, of course, and it wasn't until I was 25,000 words into it that I was willing to use the n-word--no, not that one. "NOVEL." *shudder* I had no idea how that sucker was going to end and didn't even realize who my main protagonist was until I was deciding whether or not he was going to die (again) about 70,000 words in. WHEE. It was kind of exhilarating.

But when I went back and retroactively wrote up a synopsis for it, I found that I'd instinctively used the seven-point plot structure, before I even knew what that was or why it was useful. We. Know. Story. It's hardwired.

Now, figuring out the most efficient way of getting Story from our brain to the page can be an issue. Writer Brain is funny. Pantsing gives you that "Ohmygosh, what happens next" kick, but waiting for inspiration to strike--or, worse, getting absolutely stuck because you've written yourself into a corner--is super frustrating. I can't tell you how many times I had to yell at my characters to TALK TO ME DAMMIT. Sometimes they complied. And sometimes I had to replace a computer and a window. For me, having it be the last thing I thought about at night and the first thing I thought about upon waking, and then having inspiration strike in the shower, was very common. And still is, for that matter, even with an outline. Sometimes going for a walk, or talking it over with someone, or a change of scenery also helps.

Plotting means you don't have to wait for inspiration. You know what happens next, yay! All you have to do is write it. The words flow from your keyboard like a waterfall. And then lay there on the page like a dead carp. You know what happens next? Then why bother writing the thing at all? Where's the joy of discovery? Oh, hey, that cool idea you just had? Sorry, Charlie, it won't fit and furthermore totally messes up everything else you've planned meticulously from here on out. Pop it in the Plot Bunny Hutch; maybe you can use it later in something else.

Orrrr... Incorporate it and re-do your outline. Because one mistake a lot of plotters make is thinking their outline is written in stone. It's not. That cool new idea might be just the thing to breathe life into your dead carp. That being said, don't discard the original outline, because that cool new idea might also be one that derails the whole thing into the tall grass. There's gators and rattlers in there. Be careful, and realize that you can also discard that cool new idea if it means you've got venomous snakes snapping at your butt.

Keep in mind that the magic of writing happens in edits. If you're pantsing, you can go back and insert all that neato foreshadowing you didn't know you needed, and people will think you're brilliant. Those dead-carp words you outlined so carefully, that are now just lying on the page? You can edit those into beautiful goldfish. You can't edit a blank page.

The Cardinal Rule of Writing is:
Do what works for you.

Scratch 20 writers, you'll find 30 processes. Sometimes a process that works great with one project completely falls apart with another. And that's okay and perfectly normal.

BE FLEXIBLE. TRY EVERYTHING.
agilebrit: (Numfar: Dance of Joy)
I may have mentioned more than once that I'm not a natural novelist. The short story is the milieu that has chosen me, not the other way around. I wrote my first novel completely by accident, and writing one on purpose has been daunting, to say the least.

And things like yesterday and today are why we go to writing conferences even when we think we're pretty experienced at this stuff. As you know, Bob, I've been having a terrible time trying to outline this damned novel sequel. So there was an outlining presentation that said, basically, I was doing it wrong. I've been TRYING (and abjectly failing) to outline it from the top down.

She suggested we skip from the Hook to the Resolution, then bounce to the Midpoint, and THEN fill in the blanks.

Mind. Blown.

Not that "outline like that" was the solution that worked for me. It turned out that I didn't know what the Midpoint was until I knew what Pinch 1 was. However, it changed my paradigm enough that it led me to at least a partial solution to my dilemma. And this means I have Pinch 1, and I went backward from that to Plot Turn 1.

And that, my friends, means I've got the first half of Ben's part of this novel.

Which brings me back to "why should I go to writers' conferences?" Because "do what works for you" is a Thing, and if something that used to work for you suddenly isn't, more eyeballs on your problem, along with some outside input, may help you fix it. Her actual advice did not fix my problem, but it led me to a solution that worked.

Which means I'm no longer stalled on this damned outline. \o/
agilebrit: (Writer of Wrongs)
So, I've got this little flash piece I was thinking about subbing to a publication, and I was staring at it and trying to decide if it's even a story, to be honest. I read it to the Hubby, and he thinks it's a story, so that's something.

Story is, after all, a Person in a Place with a Problem. My protagonist is certainly all of those (although, being a werewolf, the "person" part can, I suppose, be debated). And the Problem is resolved satisfactorily at the end. There is certainly more that can be told there, and I have plans for expansion, but I can sub the thing as-is with a clear conscience, I think.

But then, of course, I got to thinking about it. It's first person from the wolf's POV, and there is a certain... lack of tension there, as to whether he's going to survive this encounter or not. In a first-person narrative, the assumption is that your POV character lives. Now, I've violated this "rule" more than once, and other people have too, but 99 times out of 100, a first-person protag lives through the whole story unless they come back as a ghost or something.

So then I got to thinking, well, hey... (SPOILER) the hunter lets him walk away in the end, and wouldn't it be more interesting to tell the story from her perspective? I lose all the fun stuff about his age and how he's watched the world change and how tired and alone he is, but I gain a bunch of things as far as her family history goes and get to really drill down into why she doesn't kill him.

The particular publication I have in mind for this has an open sub period to the end of July. So I do have time to play with it. Switching POVs might be terrible in the end, and maybe I'll go back to the original when all's said and done. But the magic of writing is in the rewrite, and the beauty of being a writer is that we can play with things like this--especially in a flash piece.

It also makes the title a little more interesting, but I won't get into the whys here because the publication wants anonymous submissions.
agilebrit: (Write Dammit)
Read and rate Weekend Warrior stories.

Edit my own WW story with the ending the Hubby suggested, because it is awesome. Ha. I like this much better.

Check to see if anyone besides Digital Horror opened for subs today, because I have three novelettes still looking for homes.
After a giant pain-in-the-ass process because gmail is a butthole, I managed to sub one of those novelettes. Yay. Now I have 30 subs out.

Write 1000 new words (or get to an END, whichever comes first) in one of my WIPs.

At least stare in befuddlement at this damned novel outline.

Also, today is payday, and that means a trip to the bank and also Best Buy, because BB is having a sale on "The Man from UNCLE" on bluray for $9.99.
agilebrit: (Writer of Wrongs)
So far, I have a pair of reminders at the top of the page: Pick up the threads left over from the last novel, and drop a couple a threads in this one to leave for the next one; and start exploring larger issues in this world I'm building.

If only I knew what those "larger issues" actually are. Guess I should figure that out...

And, shut up, no, this thing will never see the light of day. That filter you're supposed to have that says "Hey, that dub-con prison sex scene between your lady vampire and your married werewolf? You shouldn't write that" is apparently missing from my head.

Don't get me wrong, I might revisit it after heavy revisions. It needs expansion, retraction, and then splitting before it's actually fit for human consumption. But it should most certainly not be Book Two. However, I can lay the tracks for it to be Books Three and Four, if I decide I actually want to go there.

But first. Book Two. Here, bunny bunny bunny...
agilebrit: (Guri praying)
So, I'm contemplating my Hitman in Hell novel (as one does), and realizing that I actually have a lot going on in here. And maybe I don't need (yet another) subplot, but I just need to weave the emotional journeys of my characters in with the concurrent plots of (a) getting out, and (b) fomenting rebellion.

I may have mentioned once or twice that I'm emotionally stunted. Emotional journeys are hard, yo, and I'd way rather blow things up than deal with complex and squicky feeeelings. I've got four actual protagonists in this thing (yes, I know, shut up), and they've got various levels of personal and interpersonal crap to wade through, and, just. Augh. My current outline is wholly inadequate for this, and I really have no idea what I'm doing. Not to mention the fact that I've got one character who is a complete cipher to me and might as well be a McGuffin. I really need to figure out just who she is and what she wants besides the obvious.

Perhaps what I should do is make a seven-point outline for each character with the emotional beats the thing needs, and figure out where those go in the actual plot.

I have also realized that I need a map in the worst way.

...this shit right here is why I would rather write short fiction.

This post brought to you by this week's episode of Writing Excuses and the impression I have that I've just dived off a cliff in Acapulco after consuming a fifth of scotch.
agilebrit: (Puppy Has Teeth 1)
Which is why description does not come naturally to me, and I suck at it.

That being said, it has (belatedly) occurred to me that one way to contrast Alex and Ostheim in this book is through their decor. I see Alex as liking open spaces, high ceilings, huge windows, and bright colors--whereas Ostheim goes more for dark woods like mahogany and walnut, lots of paneling, and close, crowded rooms. Alex's house is a castle; Ostheim's house is a den.

Someday, maybe I'll be actually good at this writing thing and be able to keep track of All The Things. *headdesk*
agilebrit: (I regret nothing)
And they are assigning... homework.

This week's episode is on idea generation, and the homework is this:

Write down five different story ideas in 150 words or less. Generate these ideas from these five sources:
1. From an interview or conversation you've had
2. From research you've done (reading science news, military history, etc)
3. From observation (go for a walk!)
4. From a piece of media (watch a movie)
5. From a piece of music (with or without lyrics)

I have more ideas than I know what to do with, and I've gotten them from all these sources. So I'll do this particular bit of homework as a retrospective.

1. We were in Glacier National Park, and the Hubby mentioned that bears are "big, dumb, and dangerous." I wondered what would happen if you ended up with a bear that was big, smart, and dangerous, and "Bear Essentials" was born. It's available in the "Far Orbit" anthology.

2. I was looking at pictures of prehistoric bug fossils and wondered "Why don't we have dragonflies with two-foot wingspans anymore?" Research revealed that we'd need about twice the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere than we have today, I thought about how to achieve that and what other effects it would have, and a couple of articles in Popular Science later, "The Road to Hell" was born. It's available at DomainSF.

3. Visiting the Hubby's sister in St. Louis, we walked down an eerily empty downtown street. No traffic, no people, closed businesses. Even the homeless weren't hanging out there. It was creepifying, honestly, and some of the architecture was... hah, interesting, to say the least. It had personality. So I wondered what would happen to turn a bustling city center into... well, that, and wrote "Guardians of Public Safety." It will be available soon in "First and Starlight."

4. Wait, I have to pick one? Well, my spaceship crew was inspired by Firefly. Alex Jarrett is a sort of Tony Stark without the asshole gene, who does Big Pharma rather than weapons. Ben started out as Harry Lockhart from "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" and morphed into someone completely different. And "The Cow and the Beanstalk" began from the premise of "why in the world would a guy pay actual magic beans for an ordinary cow?"

5. "He won his soul and lost the war," a lyric line from "The Death of Johnny Mooring" by Enter the Haggis, inspired "Better a Millstone." That line haunted me for a good long while while I noodled exactly how that would happen and what kind of character it would happen to. This one hasn't found a home yet, because it's dark and kind of depressing and I kill lots of things in it they say you're not supposed to kill. Also, it's long. I consider it a dark fantasy rather than horror, because it's a secondary world rather than ours. This is also one I can point to the roleplay and say that it had a direct effect on my fiction, because the angel and demon characters will be very familiar to anyone who's read any of the fun stuff I've done in that with [livejournal.com profile] werewolf_hacker and [livejournal.com profile] guriel.

Where do you get your ideas? EVERYWHERE.
agilebrit: (Guri praise the Lord)
Because Dave Farland just quoted super-agent Albert Zuckerman's Writing the Blockbuster Novel, referring to what we call "transport." Apparently, in choosing (or creating) your settings, you should have one that transports your audience to a place they'd want to go.

Welp. I guess I'm failing at that, because this story is set, literally, in Hell.

Whoops.

He does go on to say that an unappealing setting doesn't spell instant doom (Pern, Arrakis, the Alien worlds), but you do have to introduce something cool. And then he asks a few questions, to wit: Does the beauty balance the horror? Does the darkness overwhelm the light? Will my readers want to visit here, or will they want to flee?

...it's Hell. So, no. Again, whoops.

That being said, I have workarounds for this that I wasn't even thinking about before I started reading this book. Clearly, my characters are going to have to overwhelm the horror of the setting. I have four, er, people that we're following through this trip, plus another who's important and pops in and out, and each of them needs an arc. I should probably look more at the Hero's Journey for this one and see how I can adapt it.

That being said, my descriptive chops are going to get a workout in this book, I can already tell. I want people to feel the flames...

I'm excited about this one again.
agilebrit: (That which does not kill me)
Okay, I have two short story outlines now that I'm completely happy with. The novel outlines are still...

Problematic.

As you know, Bob, I am not a natural novelist. I also know this about myself, but I have at least two stories that want, very much, to be novels. I pantsed the hell out of the first novel, which actually worked (I think), but the second one (also pantsed) was a trainwreck. However, outlining things beforehand seems to have kicked my writing into a better gear, and these two novels need outlining. Extensively. But... I don't know how to do that. I'm stuck like a big stuck thing.

So, I have a copy of Dave Farland's "Million Dollar Outlines" coming, but it won't ship until the 30th because reasons, which doesn't give me time to read it, absorb it, and bang out the rest of either one of these outlines by January 1st. What I'm going to do instead of the original plan is write the two shorts whose outlines I'm happy with, then edit them and work on the outline for Angry Bitter Angel through January, and then just write Angry Bitter Angel for the remainder of January and February. In March, I'll go back to the original plan of "Short at a NaNo pace until the draft is done, then 1000 words per day on the novel while editing the short into a semblance of not sucking."

This will also teach me flexibility for changed circumstances, and to gather and use the numerous tools at my disposal. I got thrown off for this entire year because my January plans were derailed by getting sick, and I don't want that to happen again.

I'm kind of excited!
agilebrit: (Write Dammit)
Okay, so I think I've decided what I'm going to do as far as Next Year's Writing Plan.

One short story per month. I will have extant outlines so I can hit the ground running on the first of each month and bang out the first draft at a NaNo pace. Once I have the story drafted, I'll go back to the novel while editing the short. The goal on the novel will be a thousand words per day. I may take a once-a-week break, but we'll see how I feel after a month of doing that.

At the end of June, I will evaluate this system. I think six months is a fair amount of time to see how it's working for me and shift it so that it works better.

And I will be flexible enough that if a call for subs comes in for something that really pings me (or for an editor I'm especially fond of), I'll scribble something for that, even if I've already done a story that month.

This means that I'm going to take the next two months and hammer out better outlines for both novels I have in mind, and a few shorts as well.

It may be time to break out the Scrivener.
agilebrit: (Over My Head)
So, my January NaNoWriMo project is coming up soon, and I'm naturally contemplating what I'm going to do for it. The short story/novelette seems to be the length that has chosen me, and I'm perfectly happy with that, honestly. There's way less angst about sending a 5000-word story I've spent a month writing winging out into the ether as opposed to something that took me a full year of blood, sweat, tears, and swearing. I could pound out another five to seven stories in January and be just as pleased as punch to do so. This would give me more things to sub to short fiction markets. I don't see a bad there.

However.

I've got two novel ideas knocking--nay, banging loudly--on the back of my head.

Of course, both of these novel ideas involve heavily Biblical angels and demons and are probably (frankly) unsaleable to any major (or minor) markets. One of them takes place in Hell; the other follows up Angry Bitter Angel with the ramifications of the events in the novella. Yeah, you're not the only ones picking your jaws up off the floor because they're not werewolf stories. I'm stunned myownself.

So the question is, do I scribble more shorts I could actually (possibly) sell (ha), or do I invest in a labor of love for something I'll (probably) end up self-publishing?

My advice to other writers is always "write your bliss," but my bliss is pulling me in two directions right now and I'm not sure how I solve that. I have the notion that I could commit to writing a short story per month next year and work on the novel(s) between doing that. I've always said I like to have one in the writing stages and one in the editing stages. If I scribble the first draft of a short at the beginning of the month, then I can be scribbling a novel draft while that's in editing.

I think it may be time to step out of my comfort zone.
agilebrit: (Mine is an evil laugh)
Okay, so. I have Established Normal, and Broken It. I have shot my protagonist in the chest. I have an outline right up to the Resolution.

And it has just now occurred to me, as I wrote these words, that I don't actually need this to be a Ben story and that the ending might be better if it's not. I can still do the "werewolf who has nightmares" plot, but I can end it differently--and in a way that makes it a more "horror" ending than a "dark fantasy."

I'm also thinking that it will be better and more immediate in first person than third, and interspersing it with Very Clinical Lab Notes will up the horror quotient as we realize that the people running this place do not see this guy whose eyes we're watching the story through as a person, but as a specimen.

And this way, I can leave him in the lab at the end, having triumphed over his nightmares--but still stuck in his own head. And... oh. Oh my.

MINE IS AN EVIL LAUGH. I am a terrible, terrible person, y'all.
agilebrit: (I'm a terrible person)
I'm poking the Nightmare story's outline right now, and debating if I want this to be a Ben story or not. I've completed six stories this year, and two of them were Ben's. I adore the guy, but I may have him sit this one out, even though he's ideally suited for it because of his very specific triggers. However, the way I'm thinking about ending it isn't suitable for Ben, because it's a horror story and leaves the protag in a pretty bad place.

Understand that I'm not opposed, on principle, to leaving Ben in a bad place. I am me, after all, and I do terrible things to him in the name of fiction and RP all the freaking time.

What I am opposed to is breaking my universe, which is what the end I have in mind for this does. I have under 7000 words to work with, and the preferred length is between 4000-5000 words, so I don't have time to mount a rescue operation (or have him rescue himself). The end I have in mind leaves the protag (whoever he is) firmly tied to the railroad tracks (metaphorically speaking), and yep, that is an oncoming express train that will not stop for him.

*squint* Or not. I have just realized that my putative ending for this thing kind of sucks and should probably, actually, be Pinch One. And oh, holy crap, I just thought of something awesome to do with this--which will make Ben the perfect protagonist.

I've said it before: this right here is why I do these blog posts. Something about noodling ideas this way breaks things loose.
agilebrit: (Guri praise the Lord)
When I wrote the novelthing, I did it completely by the seat of my pants. The structure was pure instinct, and very little in the way of notes ever got written down or saved. So when I needed the synopsis, I went through it and did bullet-pointed sentences of basic Plot.

And then I looked at that and went "Oh, God, what have I gotten myself into." It's six pages long just like that. Turning it into something that's actually readable and interesting seemed like an overwhelming task.

Until I realized, last night as I was falling asleep over my keyboard, that if I broke it down into the Seven-Point Plot Structure, that I would hit the high points that needed hitting. And until I thought of it this way, I didn't even know that I'd done a seven-point structure, because the thing is incredibly plot-heavy (and character-heavy)--but I totally did. I can see exactly where the points hit.

This. This right here, is why I go to conventions. If I hadn't seen Dan Wells's presentation on the seven-point structure and started using it in my short fiction, I would not have seen that I did it (again, wholly by instinct; I had no idea what I was doing, really) in the novel. I'd still be flailing around.

Now? I have actual hope that I can do this thing. Thanks, Dan. <3
agilebrit: (Over My Head)
I'm 4500 words into my next story right now, and I still don't have an ending for it. My outline takes me right up to the resolution, and stops dead. The second plot turn and second pinch are pretty sketchy too.

So, my brainstorming process is going like this:
1. What do my characters want?
2. What are my characters afraid of?
3. Why is Ben in this story other than to be Werewolf Chow?
4. Does Chambliss really need to be a POV character?
5. How can I hit an emotionally satisfying ending that resolves all those questions?

I know what Alex wants. I know what Ben is afraid of (I should probably telegraph that a little more). Chambliss and Megan are murkier. I can give Alex what he wants at the expense of what Ben is afraid of, which will create an interesting conflict--

But.

Part of my problem is the aforementioned 4500 words. This thing is already a monster, wordcount-wise. I realize that I should just tell the story I want to tell and let the wordcount fall where it may, but Businesswoman-Me is shaking her head at that notion and going "Do you really want to spend that much time and emotional energy on yet another novelette that you won't be able to sell?" And this is the part where I shove a sock into her mouth and remind her that it's not like I have anything else on my plate right now, so we might as well write the damn thing and worry about the markets when the final draft is actually done.

I would really like to have this thing finished and out the door by the end of the month.
agilebrit: (Writer of Wrongs)
I know, I know, I always say that "there are no rules."

Welp. Maybe a few.

1. First and foremost: Do What Works For You. If you are an outliner, great! If you are a pantser, great! Some unholy amalgam of the two? Great! Ask twenty different writers what their process is, and you will get twenty different answers. Heck, my process is still evolving, and I've been at this awhile. A process that works beautifully on one piece may crash and burn on another. Be flexible.

2. Write What You Love. Yes, I realize that everyone always says "write what you know," and there's a certain element of truth to that--BUT. You can always find stuff out. With the advent of the internet, research is easy. Do you realize that we used to have physically go to the library, find things in the card catalog (yes, actual, physical cards, wrap your brains around that, kiddies), and then pull a book off the shelf and find the information in there that we needed? No more. A few typed words, a click of the mouse, and the world is at your fingertips.

Heck, if I stuck to writing what I personally know, I wouldn't have written any of my stories. I am not a billionaire genius pharmaceutical researcher, a werewolf anything, a time-traveling wizard, a necromancer, a Guardian Angel, a retired monster hunter, a butler, or a spaceship captain. I am certainly not male, although most of my protagonists are.

But writing what you love--that right there is where the magic happens. If you're passionate about your subject matter (no matter what it is; obviously for me, it's werewolves, but pick your poison), then it will come across in your prose (or poetry), and other people will love it too.

Corollary: Don't Write The Trend; Be The Trend. If you're trying to write novels to trends you're seeing in bookstores right now, understand that you're a good four years behind the curve. Publishing moves at a glacial pace. It will take you about a year to write and polish a novel. Call it another six months to find an agent. Call it another six months for them to find a publisher. And another eighteen months to two years before that book actually hits store shelves. With short fiction, you might be able to write to a trend, but don't count on it. Write your passion, and you might start the Next Big Thing yourself.

3. Grow Rhino Skin. I'm not even kidding. If you don't have it, then get some now. I just saw someone (who will remain unnamed) on a forum (which will also remain unnamed) go off on another poster for using the term "kid." He loudly proclaimed that he was not a "kid" and got terribly offended where offense was neither intended nor implied. I am fifty years old. I am new to that particular forum. By their standards, I, too, am a "kid." This kid? Is nineteen. Of all the things to get indignant about...

Look, kiddos. If you're going to fly off the handle at every little slight at an early point in your career, then what will you do when the rejections start rolling in, or when (not if, when) you get a scathing review? You have got to let that stuff roll off your back, or it will make you crazy. I have a tag which makes for entertaining reading on how not to act as a writer. You are not special. No one is going to wind bubble wrap around you and pat your widdle head. This business--and it is a business--is brutal. Sometimes stupidly so. And it's fine to rant about it. But do it behind locked posts to a small circle of friends; don't show your ass in public where editors will see it. If you look like someone who is difficult to work with, guess what? They won't want to work with you. Blowing a gasket over an imagined slight is a really good way to look like someone who is difficult to work with.

4. Write! Submit! Write! Submit! Corollary: Never Give Up, Never Surrender. If you want to make this a career, you have to finish things, and you have to send them out. They're not doing you a lick of good languishing on your hard drive. Make a spreadsheet, use the Submission Grinder or Duotrope or Ralan's or agentquery, and start getting your stuff in front of editors and agents. I have twenty-one pieces out right now, which is an embarrassment of riches and partially a function of the fact that I wrote sixteen stories last year. If you get a rejection, cry for two seconds and then send it someplace else. I have stories with over twenty rejections that finally got accepted to pro- or semi-pro-paying venues that didn't even exist when I first wrote them. New markets are popping up all the time. Find them, submit to them. If all else fails, then self-publish, which is not the Kiss of Death it used to be.

So. Those are the rules. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a werewolf to whomp.
agilebrit: (werewolf)
I've finally unburied the story I'm code-naming "bitten Alex" (although there is no biting involved) to work on again. It's on its third iteration after me sitting here and going "this is way too complicated for a short story" and whacking out character after character.

I whacked Ben out of it after thinking that his only purpose in the story was to get bitten himself to prove how serious the situation was, but after thinking about it for a bit (and being unwilling to kill some darlings), I think he actually serves a higher purpose as well.

Megan, even after everything, is still conflicted about her wolf. She's still not sure, after all is said and done, that she wants to be one.

Ben, on the other hand, embraces his wolf wholeheartedly. He likes being hard to kill; he likes being able to quiet the brain hamster, stop thinking, and just be sometimes.

So I have a nice contrast here, if I can pull it off. They're foils for each other. And it creates another layer of conflict. So I think I'm going back to the second iteration to see if I can make that work.
agilebrit: (Elementary)
I realize that I've said this before, but this time it's much more concrete.

I finished the outline of the Angry Bitter Angel novel on the drive out to Colorado (we are visiting the HubbyMom and showing off the Mustang). I have decided that if I can bang out a thousand words per day on it from now until the end of December, that's, you know, 65,000 words, on top of the 20,000 I already have.

So, what I'm going to do is work on ABA for the rest of the year. I'll outline a few shorts in December, then write at a NaNo pace in January, completing a first draft of ABA and rounding out the 50,000-word wordcount with shorts.

That will give me a novel to edit and a few shorts to beat into something good to keep my hand in. I want to write something for this, plus (of course) another Ben story, and another Alex story.

In pursuit of that, I did my thousand words today, so I'm off to a rousing start. We'll see if I can keep that pace up.
agilebrit: (Guri praying)
So, in a fit of utter insanity, I decided to attempt to turn Angry Bitter Angel into a novel. Considering the fact that I'm not a natural novelist, this is going about as well as you'd expect. Which is to say, not at all.

What I wanted to do was a sort of three-part thing where all three parts could stand alone, or somewhat--after all, part one stands on its own just fine, thanks. But I'm looking at the Hollywood Formula, and trying to shoehorn that into the seven-part story structure, and I'm not actually sure that works.

Plus there's the fact that I've got a Great Swampy Middle here that I'm not sure what happens in it. I have a great story for the third act, but Act Two is giving me fits.

*squints* I guess I could outline Act Three. That might make actual sense, since I have some idea what happens in it. Hell, maybe I'll skip Act Two altogether, or decide after writing Act Three that Act Two is already encompassed within the whole thing.

I'LL DO THAT.

See, this right here is why I do these blog posts. More often than not, writing out the dilemma gives me the solution to it.

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