Writing Update: January 11, 2012
Getting back to five day work weeks makes life a bit of a blur all of a sudden. I was worried, as I always do, that having not written anything in a while would mean that the writing bug had flown off – I would face the blank screen of my laptop and my brain would tell me “You idiot. The ideas are gone now.”
But that didn’t happen. I sat down the other day, pulled the laptop out of my bag when my butt hit the seat on the train, and I wrote a title and a one paragraph plot summary for my next book, a YA Sci-Fi adventure. I can’t tell you the title yet, because, frankly, it gives away the story. But from that title, and that one paragraph, I wrote a two page plot overview. Then I broke out all the characters, started my character log, and started building the world the characters live in… the classes of people, the size of the planet they live on, the ships they fly around in, the politics, the economy, their rites and rituals. Everything that I could think of that influenced the ‘why people will act the way they do’ in the story.
This morning, I created a list of chapters 1 through 43 in the same document, and, starting with the first one, I began detailing out the plot. Why 43? I’ve found 43 to be my magic number for an 80000 word book. About 1860 words per chapter. If I can’t fit the plot into 43 chapters, I’m trying to do too much. If I can’t reach 43, there isn’t enough ‘there’ there. It’s not a perfect system, but I keep trying to improve it until I get it right. Today I got through the first three chapters. And the words are just flying. I didn’t want to get off the train this morning. I can feel the story. It’s right there, in front of me, crystalizing by the minute. My experience is starting to pay off too, as I see ways to weave character development arcs and sub-plots in, and ways to tie Chapter 1 to Chapter 43. I love writing. Right now, I don’t care if this book ever sells. I just want to write it.
I’ve fallen a bit behind on some of my other blog entries as I binge write. But they’re coming. I just need to cut back on something else. My first choice would be work… but until writing starts paying the bills, that’s not going to happen. So I’m glad my Netflix Instant Watch queue is rather barren right now. It makes it a little easier to keep the TV off at night, and keeps my ass in this chair, being productive. And also points out that I need a new office chair. My ass is killing me after just an hour. Must be all the working out I’ve been doing. The padding is gone.