I’ve been let free from the house today to go and work. My wife and I have an agreement, since getting child coverage is so tough for us on a consistent basis, where we’ll excuse one another on specific days to go do something we love.
Typically, she goes and plays music. I go and write.
I have a few favorite spots I like to frequent, giving off an aura of safeness and comfort, where my mind isn’t bogged down by what’s going on around me. Changing Hands Bookstore in Central Phoenix is one of them. Half bookstore/half coffee bar, it sits as a monument to the world I want to be a part of. As I write this, staring out at the shoppers and the walls of books, my heart is full with the dreams of getting something on those shelves.
Then reality sets in and I remember I’m just a dude writing on his laptop with a coffee next to him.
Technically, it’s an almond milk latte with a pump of hazelnut syrup because it’s a special work day and I wanted to feel like a special boy.
I can’t always work here. Maybe some day in the future, when the twins and Baby C are a little older, I can bring them along, pack their bags full of books and crayons, and we can all sit together, drinks nearby, and make something creatively fulfilling, but we’re not there yet.
For now, I work alone.
A project I began this past November for NaNoWriMo. A unique outing for me, as I went with the faintest of ideas of how the story would go except for a premise, two characters, and an ending. My plan was to follow Matt Bell’s writing process of 1) get the rough draft down on the page, 2) outline the story in immense detail, 3) REWRITE THE ENTIRE BOOK, 4) fix it up from there.
Turns out, I need something more. Going in blind isn’t how I write. R.L. Stine’s process is similar, but it’s almost like the two authors are working in counterbalance to one another. Stine’s Method (I believe I’ve referred to it as the Stine Model here before) is to create a detailed outline and put as much in it as possible, because that outline is what Stine sells to his publisher/editor/agent, whatever. It’s long, explicit, contains bits of dialogue, and alerts the reader to key points coming up.
I followed this method when writing Project NESS, a book I just sent out to Beta Readers last week.
And it was one of the best things I’ve written, in my own opinion. Maybe I’m not a ‘pantser,’ and am in fact a ‘plotter.’ That’s okay.
KIRBY was also becoming a creative crossover amalgamation with Project TWILIGHT, a YA contemporary fantasy I’m plotting now. Both have similar themes, similar aesthetics, and it was becoming hard to keep them separated. I even mixed up a story snippet in Microsoft OneNote and couldn’t remember which story it belonged to or why.
That’s when you know you have a problem.
So KIRBY is going to take a break. This one kind of hurts because I was looking for more standalone stories to work on to eventually pitch because maybe that’s what agents want? Or maybe agents want a series/trilogy/duology they can sell? Who knows. As a writing parent your time is even MORE valuable so if a project isn’t working and you got another one in the wings, ready to go, do that instead. Don’t try to force something that isn’t there.
I’m going to reevaluate Project BIANCA, again, a book that’s 10-12,000 words away from being finished. A book I can never quite break away from. A book with characters and story I desperately want to tell.
So maybe I just need to tell it.
Thanks for reading,
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