My latest short story "The Night the Lights Came On"

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Gearing Up

I am gearing up to write my novel. A few posts ago I explained why I wasn't getting any words on the page for NaNoWriMo because I've been studying story structure like crazy. Here I'll get down a bit more into the nuts and bolts of what I'm doing to prepare and why I might have much more time to write in the near future. I also have a short story that's nearing completion and I'll tell you what it's about. It's a sad story.

So I'm still in the process of fully planing out my story, down to the chapter, before I continue writing the first draft. I wrote three chapters, which I'm now revising to fit my new outline. I'm almost done defining all of the beats from Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet and putting them into the correct chapters on my outline. Once I have each chapter filled with a sentence or two I'm going to flesh out each chapter a bit more with one paragraph onto index cards. That is where I will attempt to make each chapter a little story of its own with a goal for the characters, a beginning, a middle, and an end, all with the purpose of moving the story forward. No more meandering chapters full of stuff that will need to be cut later. Yes, I know I will still find lots of stuff to cut in my second draft, but this time it will not be one or more chapters in a row like my last book. I'm excited to finish all this prep work and get back to writing, but it works because I don't have much time for writing right now.

My wife may be taking a job that has her working evenings. If she does, I'll get home from work and be on Daddy duty. Once I lay the kids down I would have a good hour and a half or more to focus on writing. Currently I really just can't find the time to write because I'm getting up super early for work, I get home and enjoy hanging with my amazingly wonderful family, then I have time to hang out with my wife. We usually talk and catch up on whatever TV shows we're into. I have been trying for a few years now, but I simply cannot write while watching TV - even if it's a show I hate! Even if it's a show I hate and I'm only trying to transcribe audio I recorded from my commute home! If the TV is on, my attentions are stolen away from writing. I have found that I can read comics, draw, and do a little bit of outlining while watching TV. Drawing is the only thing I can really be productive with though. It uses more of the right side of my brain and is effortless. I seriously can only write a few sentences over the course of an hour if the TV is on. When I have the rare opportunity to write in silence it is easy for me to blast out over 1,000 words in that time. So I'm trying to work on my drawing skills and eventually get back to producing some web comics. I've only done one and a half pages of one, adapting one of my novellas, but it's something I've always wanted to do. My favorite artists on YouTube who posts videos on how they draw are: Mike KoizumiMark Crilley, Sycra Yasin, and Xia Taptara. I've been learning some great stuff watching them draw and listening to their commentary as they crank out amazing work. It's pretty dang inspiring.
So right now I'm plotting and planning, drawing and studying anatomy, and gearing up to write my next and best novel to date. That's the plan anyway :) I'm also almost done with a short story I was writing for a local newspaper's short story contest. I didn't finish it in time, so instead I will be publishing it soon in eBook and audio. So there's something to look forward to, maybe. I'm really proud of the writing but it is a story about a boy going with his parents to have his pet dog put down. I might try and have the ending scene being him getting a new puppy on Christmas day so it doesn't end on such a blue note. Yeah, I think that would be a good idea. The theme of the short story contest was "The End," and somehow that story just came out. It might be me finally grieving for the loss of my childhood dog. He died quite a while ago, but it was right after both of my awesome grandpas had passed away within two months of each other so at the time my parent's dog dying, while I loved him very much, just wasn't really that big of a deal in comparison with my amazing grandfathers. I don't think I've ever written a super sad story. I've got to say it kind of takes it out of you - every time I write a bit more of the story I'm really sad while writing it. Hopefully that will come across to the reader. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave a comment if you have anything to add to the discussion.

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