I’ve spent a lot of time editing the last few months, and have done little new writing. I’ve been trying to get the two completed books knocked into shape so I can turn them over to an agent (if I ever find one), and get on with my writing life.
I’ve gotten some feedback on the first book from a couple of different people over the last month or so, and while it’s moving in a positive direction, there still seems to need to be more work done on the first few chapters. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to fix what needs to be changed, but I’m edited out at this point, tired of looking at the same book and the same characters for the last 18 months, and ready to get onto something new.
So, this morning, armed with all the lessons learned from the past two books, and all the reading I’ve done about writing, plots, planning, style and themes, I sat down and tried to write a synopsis for my next story.
And I drew a blank. Not a complete blank. I have scenes in my head for at least four different stories. I have characters in my head. I just don’t have a plot in my head. I can’t figure out what the conflict is, and where to put people to push them somewhere else. And that’s what I need in order to start. Otherwise, I don’t know where the story is going. I’ve been down that road before, many times, and I end up with forty to seventy five pages of a story that goes nowhere. A writing exercise, maybe, but a bad exercise, like lifting with your back instead of your legs. Your writing gets injured like that, stuck in dead end books, and gradually your love of writing dies a slow death under the weight of half finished failure.
I feel the need to get my ideas organized. The software architect in me says I can write some pretty cool WPF application with a SQL Server backend where I can input my story ideas, plot, characters and scenes, and in no time, I’ll be back to writing, inspired by the organization and brain dump. But the realist in me knows that I will end up with software that is barely what I want, (“Look at what I drew Daddy” – “That’s a great turtle, son” — “It’s not a turtle, it’s you, daddy”) and have burned dozens of hours when I could have been writing, reading or doing something else valuable.
So I’ll spend a little time out on the internets tonight, Binging (not binge ing – bing ing) and Googling for something that already does what I want, and will end up using Word or Excel. Or maybe a whiteboard with post its… it I can keep everything out of the reach of the kids.
Oh yeah, I need to find something to take this fucking glare off this Acer 1420-piece of crap. This is the first day since I got this thing that the sun has been up / out on the train ride home, and it’s almost impossible to see the screen. Arg.