My new writing process includes some initial brainstorming to feel my way through the idea, some vague outlining which is essentially a list of sequences (groups of related scenes) in a spreadsheet, and then a process I call quickdraft.
“First she does this, and then this happens, and she goes there an, um, some stuff happens I don’t know what but because of that she has to do this other thing.”
Gaping holes, bad writing, no description. It’s just a way to get the story told, the whole thing out there, so I can turn it around and flip it over and poke and prod to see if it holds up.
Today I finished the quickdraft of Love Runs Out, my first novel with a female protagonist.
I hope it’ll be published before year end, but no promises for the moment.
I think I’ll go play with cover ideas.
It used to be called anacrusis before I figured out what I was really doing.
I have my list of scenes for the first Jake Calcutta scifi action/adventure mystery.
I had a list of scenes I knew I needed, but on the computer, I couldn’t get my head around the process to put them in order. Sure, some scenes are obviously early in the story, others later; some are clearly before this one and after that one.
I finally printed out the list, cut it into 3/4″ X 3″ strips color-coded for beginning, middle, and end, and it all fell into place. That’s them in front of my closet door. Almost as tall as my daughter.
How Do I Know Which Scenes I Need?
Good question. Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid provides one answer.
My father was of the impression you didn’t have to meet trouble halfway; it was more than glad to make the entire trip. Some guy recommends stepping into an icy shower every morning in order to train yourself not to flinch so life won’t be so hard. My father would have said stop jumping into icy showers and maybe your life wouldn’t be so hard.
Chapter 1 went live on January 31st (because that’s when I wrote it.)
I’d had the first sentence rattling around in my head for decades. I typed it, for something to do, and the rest of the first chapter came out as if I’d already written it.
The way it ended, I knew I had to keep going.
“Going” is right. In 58 days I wrote 56 chapters. During that time we also moved everything we owned into storage in order to move out of the house we rented before we left for a month-long business trip, which we also had to pack and prepare for, while maintaining some semblance of our normal life.
When people tell me they don’t have time to write, I marvel. Continue reading “Finishing”
I get all excited and focus on how cool it is to finish things. I get excited about releasing 6 books at the same time, and having it fall on 11/11/11 because, hey, isn’t that nifty? I plan great big audacious things because I know I can do them.
What I don’t do is focus on the process which will get me there.
I think I’m gonna kill me some goals.
Continue reading “A Date is Just a Date, As Time Goes By”
My column on why I’m losing weight struck an unpleasant chord with some folks when I first published it. It’s common to hear stories of people trying unsuccessfully, sometimes for years, to lose weight.
Another angle on the same issue: When your income gets an unexpected and temporary boost, through a bonus at work or a project you hadn’t expected, do you bank the money, or reward yourself with a new toy or dinner out?
We experience it every single day of our lives: even though we know what’s good for us, day after day we do what’s fun, what’s easy, instead of what’s healthy and rational and good for our future self.
Do you ever stop to wonder why?
The first characteristic of an excellent company, according to Tom Peters and Bob Waterman (In Search of Excellence) is a bias for action. Those companies which lean toward doing something were in better shape than those which gave the appearance they were afraid of action unless it was guaranteed safe.
That’s not to say that a bias for action can’t be married to careful planning.
Continue reading “When You’re All at Sea is No Time to Remember the Anchor”