Day 140

Spoiler Alert! May contain planning-stage plot/character details or other spoilers!

05 Jan 2017

Did a great job of staying on the computer pretty much all day yesterday. 9:30 to until after 5pm, with breaks, and breaks, and breaks… Focusing and working steadily through the task at hand, however, pretty much escaped me. Key plot questions, which I was, of course, so confident I had a handle on and could flick through in no time at all, seem to require a great deal more inspiration and concentration than I’d planned to allocate. Part of the trouble is the subtle differences in terminology and emphasis between structural systems - matching up key plot points and acts is not entirely straightforward. Another issue is the evolution of motivation; the ‘lies’ and ‘truths’ keep shifting as I try to get it all to line up. I knew I needed to simplify, to encapsulate the key idea there more neatly, so some of the struggle was there. And then there’s the plot ‘events’ issue - I’ve been over and through the whole thing too many times, and it’s getting harder to remember what happens where, so lining up developmental increments based on events and realizations becomes a challenge. Of course, there are some events and realizations that never existed and need to in order to meet the structural requirements of the plot, so that’s where the inspiration comes in. What works with the plot, existing characters, character arcs, world etc.? What ties in thematic and subplot strings to solve the problem at hand? And how to jog that inspiration at the moment when I need it to move forward? Taking a break, walking a few steps, checking Instagram (repeatedly), changing chairs, postures, drinks, locations, checking webcomics (Unshelved is the current poison of choice) and daydreaming were all given fair chance. Sprawling across the bed, face down with the computer and basically napping proved to break the writer’s block (plotter’s block?) this time, but it’s like hitting a moving target trying to make progress; very little of the questions can just be skipped or shelved in order to move forward, and every day I’m more conscious that I’m getting behind where I want to be.

However! The good news is that I did move incrementally forward yesterday, so today I just need to get through the questions for the Third Act, climax and conclusion without throwing out everything done to that point, and then I can move on to porting it all over to my book map, run a secondary character arc exercise and integrate any subplots needed, then bring my editor back in for any tweaking before starting long form rewrites! Oops, nope. Have to plot it down to the scene level first. Ugh. Well, anyways, if I can get through the character arc questions today, that frees me up to switch gears and write the next chapter to Things Got Out of Hand tomorrow, which is the leading serial on most platforms and REALLY needs to step it up after a few too many talking heads chapters. I’m conflicted about the serials; it’s a potentially sound strategy for getting attention, eyes on my work, and hopefully sales for Blind the Eyes, but it’s also sub-standard work, which is frankly mortifying. Needs must, I suppose, and it’s one way to move forward manuscripts. If I were making money from this, I could pretty much keep my editor on retainer to work on a rotating basis through the manuscripts that way. Assuming I have worthwhile stories that such an investment wouldn’t be a waste on… That’s kind of the thing with diy indie publishing; there’s no one to tell you not to sink money into something that’s not going to sell. So in that sense, the accusation of self-indulgence is legitimate, although you can bring quality up to par on pretty much any project with enough work (I hope!) Anyways, I’ll try to dig in and push forward again today! Maybe the slight caffeine will help with inspiration!

Part 2

Success! Apparently all the angst for the first two thirds was worth it, as I (more or less) breezed through the Act 3 questions. I think some inspiration may even have snuck in while I wasn’t agonizing! So, despite all the temptation to engage in celebratory alternatives, I think I’ll dive directly into updating the book map. It’s tempting to switch gears and write tomorrow’s edition of Things Got Out of Hand, or, y’know, skive off and watch something/read/play etc. But! Onwards! The sooner I can get the book map polished up and out to my editor, the sooner she can… pick it all apart and set me back again… wait, why was I doing this again?

Thursday

Start time: 10 am & 3:15 pm

Abbotsford, BC - home/couch

Drinking: Earl Grey Tea

Soundtrack: New & Classic Mix Alt Rock/Indie

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