*Note: Copied over from morning pages journal vol. 10, personal journal vol. 12, dated 3/23/2020
Good morning. It’s the start of our second week of quarantine and I’m slowly getting things done. Hung up artwork in our office to creatively push us and some shelves over Ape’s desk to give her some more workspace.
Also, our office closet is getting there, with boxes finally being put up on shelves and boxes being broken down. In our minds I think we want it to function more like a supply closet than a storage closet. If I had to put a number to it, I’d hazard it’s 75% done. That last 25% is all the small organizing to make sure that all the pens and paper clips are in a bin.
The boys are making noise so I fear I’ll have to go soon. Let’s see what I can talk about.
April 1 is coming quickly and I still have a book to plot. The characters and their links are slowly coming together. The more and more I craft longform, and by extension, shortform, stories I begin to learn that all too important lesson that character is king.
Looking at previous story notebooks it’s easy to see where I went wrong. Too lost in the details, too focused on how do I get to the next point. R. L. Stine’s MasterClass wonderfully instructed me on how outlines should flow with the emotional beats not so much an event checklist.
If a checklist is the way you like to do things, great! I tried it for a few years and it didn’t seem to work. It kept my mind too rigid, too in-lane.
When I focus on characters and their links, how they know each other and how they knew each other, it frees my mind up, letting me stretch muscles as the story progresses. Sure, I have benchmarks to hit, because I have a story to tell, but it’s improved my flow and narrative structure.
I’ve only done this with short stories, mind you, so we’ll see how it goes with Project: NESS, a full-length novel aiming to be about 50,000 words.
I’m behind on deadlines. There’s a whiteboard next to my desk with due dates for smaller bits of the novel. Character Pages, Settings, etc. I’ve missed a few due dates, and that eats me up, but I know I’ll be ready to go once April 1 rolls around. That’s just always been me. I was the guy that finished up a weeks-long college project at 5am the day it was due.
I trust myself.
So long as you begin the important work on the date you set for yourself, missing the smaller deadlines isn’t as important.
Time to keep rolling.
Thanks for reading,