Blog No. 118
I have a rather full plate this year, when it comes to writing and the like. Christian and I are hard at work on the second (and a half) drafts of our collection, I have a rather long multipart story going up monthly on Adventure Worlds, I’m picking away at the novel I started last year (and restarted this year), I have edits galore, and since we have more artists working on Finders, I’ve been drumming up new ideas for the pair, plus the next zine is due. What I don’t need is another story idea burning a hole in my imagination, but that’s what I have. Saturday morning, I woke from a vivid dream, ran over to the computer, and feverishly typed an awkward opening paragraph encapsulating the fading memory of the dreamed adventure. Now it’s following me around, pulling me away from my other tasks, spinning around my head like one of those pirate ships at theme parks (but the ones that actually go all the way around.
Having story ideas has been a problem of mine. I suspect like other authors, I tend to have too many. I’ve said it before; I started writing because it is the most direct way to tell my stories. Writing doesn’t come naturally to me. I spent many years struggling to sit and get the words on the page, bursting to tell my story to my friends. Usually, I gave up and just explained it all in a flurry of: “and then,” “because,” “so this guy,” and so on. I’ve had thoughts of making movies, writing comics, putting on plays, and even bringing back radio shows, but all those mediums require people, money, and skills that I don’t have. Also, every time I tried, someone (often me) would fail to hold up their end, and the whole thing would fall apart. Writing is a way for me to tell my stories on my own, succeeding or failing on my own.
As many authors know (definitely the Adventure Words writers do) jumping from shiny idea to sparkling concept, does not a writer (or story) make. The way to improve writing and storytelling ability, and actually finish something, is to stick with one story until it’s finished. Eventually it gets hard to stick to only one (when you have a blog and other things going on) but the lessons learned happen when stories are finished and edited. Picking up a new story idea whit the number of things I have on the go is stupid, selfish, and a good way to fail, but I’ve already done it. As of Saturday, I added the new story to my list of ongoing projects.
I’m not going to get into any details. You can read the story when it’s finished (if another new idea doesn’t get in the way). I will say it’s not much like the other things I’ve been working on and I suspect that most people would categorize it at a YA or Teen novel (thought I don’t think that’s where it’s going). It’s very Studio Ghibli in style and their tone varies greatly. In order to make this betrayal of my other writing worthwhile, I’m giving myself strict daily goals. Each day, if I reach my goal (anywhere from a thousand words on days when I do this blog, to twenty-five hundred words) then I get to keep working on the story the next day. It’s made for some nice momentum and big word gains. If I keep this process up, I should have over ten thousand words in a week and the new story will become my novel for the year. I’ll be sat to put my other novel on hold again, but it will be that much better when I get around to writing (maybe next year). Now I have to get to writing if I want to do more writing tomorrow. How did I manage to trick myself into that?
3 thoughts on “Fresh, Exciting, and New!”
Being a writer means you create organized chaos. Plan on word counts or hours writing but IMO, don’t preplan which project you work on. I find I have to be in the zone of the particular project at hand or I will get nothing worthwhile done. I have many projects on the go and it’s much more efficient if I work on the one that’s in my head – the one that generated a great line or paragraph or character. I also plot everything so I have an outline for each project and a file called IDEAS – it contains anything I think might work in a short story, novella, blog, or novel and is usually one paragraph, or even one line.
Good luck and enjoy the creative flow – you sound like “writer’s block” will never be an issue with you.
You make a good point, with writing what you are connected with at the time. Some times what goes on the page is meaningless without being in that zone.
I think there is a possible trap there too. I spent many years starting stories and never finishing anything because I didn’t push through when other ideas were more enticing.
I know you don’t have that problem, you have your book and many other stories you’ve finished. Maybe it depends on how far along you are with your writing. You’ve given me something to think about, that’s for sure!
Finishing can be difficult. I use two methods to get things done. 1) I always do character studies and a story outline so I know where the story is going and how the characters will interact. 2) I also set a specific deadline for each piece I write. A date when the first draft has to be done.
Ben, you are very talented and have a tremendous amount of potential. You need more thinking time – letting your ideas develop in your mind, mentally building your characters until they become real, and tracking the plot and story climax in your head. Write those spontaneous inspirations and file them, but be sure you know the entire story and understand every characters before you begin the real writing. Depending on the story to develop as you write – rarely works.