UJ9 Upcoming, Outlining LT6

Books, Publishing, writing

In the past, I’d finish a chapter of something and let it marinate, let my juices recharge, get back to the next chapter when I’ve a mind to.

That approach, it no worky.

So the fifth Chapter of Void is finished. I’m not going to post a link to it, because Void chapters are spoken for by Unnamed Journal. When Issue 9 of UJ goes live on April 1st, Void 5 will be available for viewing.

The next issue will have some WW1-related shenanigans in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Doughboys going Over There. Plus, Scarecrows. Subscriptions, they are still free. So what have you got to lose?

So, that’s a deadline I’ve got to meet. I also am still holding to the deadline of getting Last Tomorrow finished/drafted by Easter. Which means I have two more chapters to write. Which means I really need an outline or some kind of methodology of getting me to the ending I want. So I’m working on that, or at least a collection of beats.

So that’s two chapters and a short story for UJ9. I can do that. That’s totally doable.

WriteTip: When You Get Stuck, You Just Keep Going

Books, Uncategorized, writing

last-tomorrowWriting -any creative endeavor, really – is all about giving yourself permission to fail.

Now, in one sense, that’s idiotic and ridiculous. The purpose of art is not to make something that’s bad. It’s not to allow something that’s bad to enter the market. The purpose of art is to make something that people respond to in some way, either by giving you money for it or by offering criticism on it. Creating something that will do neither is a waste of time and energy.

So I don’t mean that. What I mean is, when you’re working on something, and you’re not sure if you have a way forward, and you start looking at it like it’s some wriggling obscene bastard creation of hubris and wishful thinking, you may be tempted to scrap the thing and move on.

This is what you should not do. You should finish it. You should keep going. You should say to yourself the magic words:

Writer’s Block and the Surpassing Thereof

writing

You’re a writer. You don’t know how to proceed with a project you have started. Whatever shall you do?

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Let’s start with a windy essay on the subject from the New Yorker. It follows the following steps:

  1. Relevant interest-grabber from the life of Graham Greene.
  2. Theoretical support from psychoanalysts of the Freudian school.
  3. Empirical support from a psychological study done in the 1980’s.
  4. Some jibber-jabber to give the appearance of fleshing these ideas out.
  5. Some guy you’ve never heard of discussing his imaginary conversation with T.S.Eliot.

All of which in support of the idea of dream-journaling, or some other kind of journaling. Free-writing, anyway.

Now for something more 21st-Century: How to Overcome Writer’s Block: 14 Tricks That Work.

It’s not as bad as it sounds. You’re expecting a Buzzfeed/Cracked listicle, but it actually gets pretty in-depth. It even tells you what you should not be doing:

And just for fun, here are some anti-solutions to this problem:

  • You do not overcome writer’s block by refusing to write until you feel “inspired.”

  • You do not overcome writer’s block by wallowing in self-pity.

  • You do not overcome writer’s block by procrastinating or making excuses.

  • You do not overcome writer’s block by watching TV.

  • You do not overcome writer’s block by reading articles on how to overcome writer’s block. (Kinda shot myself in the foot there, huh?)

But here’s the best part:

The fail-proof way to overcome writer’s block is one you already know. In fact, you’ve been avoiding it this whole time, because it’s precisely what youdon’t want to hear.

You overcome writer’s block by writing. (Tweet)

Start somewhere, anywhere. Write a few lines. Say anything. And see what happens. Don’t think about it too much or make any fancy announcements. Just write. It doesn’t need to be eloquent or presentable; it just needs to be written.

Which means I need to up by word-production totals, or the infinite monkeys will never unionize, Jesus will never finish his conversation with Satan, and the Pricey Vulture will stay out in space forever.

Progress on the Writing Front

Books, writing

Chapter 3 of Void got finished last night (I’ve made some minor edits to the first few chapters). It will be part of Unnamed Journal, Issue 7, which is supposed to be out November 15th. That will be our year anniversary issue, so check the Facebook Page. Big changes will be afoot: a free back issue starting tomorrow, an omnibus, and a new design from a new platform. It will be rad. .

I’ve also laid down some good outline material for The Devil Left Him, so some new material should be out on that soon as well.

That’s all. Just what I been onto.

 

Prepping vs. Pantsing, Outlining vs. Discovering – Where I come down on the Great Writer Divide

Books, writing

In the minds of many authors, there are two ways to write a piece of fiction:

  1. Outlining (“Prepping”). You figure out what’s happening, who the characters are, the arcs, everything. You do this before you’ve “written” a single word. Then, when you do sit down, you have a plan.
  2. Discovering (“Pantsing”). You sit down and let the story come out of you. You figure it out as you go along. You let nothing stand in the way of pure creativity.

Most authors who discuss the distinction, such as Larry Correia here, don’t say that there’s one best way to do it:

There isn’t really a correct method. Either one method works for you, or it doesn’t, or you use a combination of the two. Whatever. The important thing is you write a good, sellable book. Here is my usual disclaimer about anything related to writing, despite what your English teacher told you, there aren’t really any rules to this stuff. The only rules are 1. If your readers like it, you can do it. 2. If your readers think it sucks, take it out. For every rule you find, there’s a bunch of writers who violate the hell out of it and sell a lot of books. So the following is just my opinion about what has worked for me.

My experience goes along with this. I’ve done both ways, and there are advantages and disadvantages.

The first thing I ever wrote, which will not see the light of day for a long while (if ever), was a long bit of swords & sorcery fantasy called The Island Prince. I spent three years on that, because it was pure Pantsing. I made up every chapter as I went along, with a very vague idea of where the plot was going to go. Keep in mind, I knew the world extensively, as I’d been putting together the backstory of this kingdom, that dynasty, etc. since I was about 14. I knew where I wanted it to go. Still took three years. I laugh when I think of it now.

On the other hand, I’ve got an entire mystery novel outlined, scene-by-scene, character-by-character, beat-by-beat. I put the outline together in an afternoon. This was years ago, and I have one chapter and part of another drafted. Because I’m now bored of it. I know it so well that I have nothing to learn of it, so sitting down and writing it interests me very little. I’ll get back to it someday – maybe.

You might infer a lack of discipline here, and I certainly won’t argue that point very hard. But I find some combination of the two has enabled me to actually finish things.

Solar System Blues was the result of some initial pantsing, some basic freewriting to establish the world and the idea, and then a very workable outline that I was able to adjust as needed. It hasn’t sold magnificently, but it got a few favorable reader responses on Goodreads, and SelfPublishing Review liked it.

Right now, I seem to be operating under a “Pants it until you can’t, then outline your way home” philosophy. The first two chapters of Void were pantsed, and there will be things tweaks I want to make as a consequence. But now I’m at the point where I need to sit down and figure out my next several moves. I’m almost done with Chapter 3, which will appear in the next issue of Unnamed Journal before it gets posted on Tablo. I’ve hit the same point with The Devil Left Him: two chapters in, and I now need to plan my next moves.

This gives me the thrill of discovery, of building a world out of will, while at the same time organizing my work so I can actually finish things and ship them. Void and Devil will be the next works I complete and publish, and I feel very confident about that.