I have new plans, new approaches.
I am in the process of starting a Pen&Paper RPG group (Bask in the glow of my nerdiness! :D ). I am plotting it episodically.
The old fire burns again. Obsessively writing out the stories. Hours on end. And it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice, more like something I am supposed to be doing. It comes as natural as breathing to me. Gods, I missed this.
Also: From established writers I heard that doing this is exactly the same as plotting a novel. Figure out a hook, continue to raise the stakes, keep an eye on character motivation,etc.
This will be better than any critique group as well. People are listening, instead of waiting for their turn to read their story. They are also more honest with their reaction, if you pay attention.
Are their eyes wandering around the room? Are they playing with their dice? Are they drawing stuff? They are bored. Time for Chandler’s Rule.
Are they hanging on your lips? Are they fully engaged in their roles? Are they waiting anxiously for the opportunity to make their next move? U r doing it rite! :)
But of course this only a temporary solution. Just another exercise. Eventually I will have to do something that pays money again. Here is someone who gives me a new way to write novels. Perhaps more in line with my obsessive sprint-writer streak.
I’m a pantser. Evolution’s gift of introspection has made that very clear the last days/weeks.
In the beginning I have an idea. I work on that idea, brainstorm, write a couple of lines of material. Good. Then the crossroad opens. Start writing? Or plan it out really carefully? I’m a sciency guy. I like to understand what I’m doing and for what reasons.
Nothing wrong with that approach. Except that it doesn’t work and fails to produce anything useful (For me obviously. Not necessarily for others.)
Everything I got done in the past had been pulled into this world kicking and screaming. In school I always finished my homework the night before. Three month’s project? Did some arbitrary reading over the weeks and hammered it into the computer until the printer spat something out I could turn in. 3am in the morning.
That was definitely not healthy.
Kris Rusch wrote “Never let perfect be the enemy of good.” My version goes: “Never let the arbitrary standards in your head get in the way of just f***ing DONE.”
What is easy to understand the night before, is hard for me to understand at day one: Not finished would have gotten me an F. Turning it in on time got a me a B+ (Literally everybody else got an A. Still verrrry happy about the outcome, even today.)
The reason I’m writing this is: I still have to hammer this in emtionally. Doing this goes against every instinct of my body (“But it worked for every problem I ever encountered! Read books, devise plan, do it efficiently, move on. Why shouldn’t it work here? Must be something wrong with the diagram… hmmm…”
On to Nano!
Did I mention I have no idea how to write a novel?
Nanowrimo has changed its site up a bit. I am still figuring out what link I need to give you. Here is my nick:
Excuse the umlaut. Translates to Eric Thunder-Beetle.
Unfortunately, that is not my real last name.
Update: Try this on for size.
Done with “Small Gods” (awesome), almost done with “Guards, Guards”. Next on the list “The Thief of Time”. :-)
All the while I am happily outlining my Nanowrimo novel.
Finished Small Gods. Not even 3pm over here. By that math it is possible to finish even a longer book in a single day.
What do I read next? Fortunate times indeed when all I need to read book is to find it on Smashwords or Amazon and then download it.
308 stories are not an arbitrary number. But assuming that the scribblings of a beginner would produce lasting income was obviously counter-productive.
My new plan is producing 1,000,000 words first, before I will start producing serious merchandise. The game is the same, just the measuring bar has changed.
It is my firm belief that trying really hard to change circumstances is treating the symptoms, not the cause. I will use some time to catch up on reading. In the last days I read “Reaper Man” and “Making Money” and I am currently 40% into “Small Gods” according to my trusty eReader (all by Terry Pratchett).
No TV, no movies, video games.
I am restoring the conditions from before I started out on the challenge in mid-August.
Then I will go on to Nanowrimo. I spent the last two days with Pratchett, another book called “Comedy Writing Secrets” by Mel Helitzer and a chaotic outline for a novel that is continuously growing.
I don’t feel shame for changing direction. I guess that ‘learning experience’ mantra has finally found its way into my subconscious. :-)
Thank you Sam and Thomas for your support and advice!