I’ll be back to writing fiction soon, but I won’t be posting it right away.
The last few months have kept me in a decent groove for writing, but I’m eager to try two new ideas in the hopes that they might help me produce even better work. The first is a real commitment to the writing-and-editing process (you write the entire thing, then you edit it a lot) that Angelique has been prodding me to try for years now and that recent reads and events have been spurring me toward. The second new idea is a non-weekly cadence. In the last few years I’ve been trying to balance my hobbies by making sure I’m able to participate in each of them on a weekly basis. This is a natural way to do things but not the only way. Breaking outside of that pattern allows me to do what I’m about to try now: put some stuff on hold and sprint hard on a writing project.
I know I’m rediscovering the wheel six millennia late here, but indulge me, will you? I can be a stubborn creature; when I finally find the energy to break and rebuild my habits I have to take the W and get to work.
There are two outstanding projects and one new one that I’d like to subject to this treatment:
The Thief is the story of Syr, the most recent story I’ve been noodling on. Well, it’s really more of an idea than a story, unfortunately. The subtitle is “a love letter to 2000s fantasy,” by which I mean the adventure stories of my youth featuring daring, wish-you-could-be-them heroes having long, wonderful careers doing all sorts of stuff. Think video games and D&D licensed paperbacks. I always liked these because they seemed to feature a hero living a sort of day-in-day-out extraordinary life full of different experiences, not just a single-serve calling to one epic quest. That always fired my imagination more, somehow. But that’s not really a story, that’s just inspiration.
But it could easily make for a series of stories. Delivered serially, perhaps.
The current story thread is just meandering exposition, but I think it deserves to have its own beginning, middle, and end. I can probably get it there with some rewriting and some extension. Then on to the next story!
Death of a Wizard has been on the shelf for a year or two now. But the best time was last year and and the next best time is this year, right? I’m reasonably happy with the existing material (although the name rolls off the tongue like a sack of bricks down a playground slide), so this is just about continuing it. It’s meant to be a short novel, and the current story pace is bearing that out. About 25k words to go!
The Ballad of K2LU the new project. It was a D&D one-shot adventure that I sketched out but then got shelved in favor of a tabletop break. The story deserves to be told anyway. It’s short, and will probably weigh 10k words when it’s all through.
I should have time to work all of these projects this year, the latter two potentially to completion. I plan to do so by scheduling two contiguous weeks and setting aside most of my other weekly doings to put down a solid chunk of story. I’ll keep myself laser focused on the characters and what they’re doing. The prose can, mechanically speaking, suck, for all I care. The word count isn’t exactly the point, of course, but 10k seems like a decent milestone. Then I’ll take two weeks off (to read and simmer). Then four to edit at a leisurely pace. Editing might take more or less time; I’ll learn as I go. Then I’ll take two more weeks off. Then I’ll prepare to do it all again.
That’s the sketch. It’s still paced leisurely, leaving me plenty of time for my non-writing obsessions, but it also allows me to seize the momentum on a story. The two week writing sprint is the element I’m most confident in and the one I’m most interested to see in action. I know I want some amount of break time between the sprints; how much is an object for study. I have no idea whatsoever regarding editing. I’ve never done any serious editing this way.
The weekly posts are discontinued for now. But watch this space for bigger, better work!