Racing Ahead

I have a complete plot.

For the first time in ever, I have a complete plot. It feels really damn good right now.

After finishing my first plot line, I began writing the first chapter. The main difference I noticed with my writing is that it’s much easier to keep the Leader character’s personality consistent. It’s almost as if I am now writing about a person I have a better understanding of. Whereas before when I would just write whatever scene and person that popped into my head, the character wouldn’t stay in character for very long–they’d waver and sometimes become almost somebody else.

I think because I now know the whole story before actually committing it to be written, I am more confident about setting up my character and letting the story unfold around him/her.

It feels great. I never realised how much I could learn before I decided to actually treat creative writing as a STUDY. I had been under the impression that creative writing couldn’t be taught; that you’re either creative or your not. And lately, I had been feeling like perhaps creative writing wasn’t for me, that I was hanging on to a child’s dream and I had to just grow up already.

This new improvement with my writing gives me hope. It lets me know that I’m finally on the right path to having something finished. Getting that something published will be a whole other battle, but I am ready.

The Study of Writing

I had no idea that you could study writing. 

That was a stupid thing to write. What I mean is that I had no belief that a person can get better at writing a novel. I thought you were either born a great writer, or you were shit out of luck.

Since I took the Pledge last week, I’ve tried to hold myself accountable to it. Part of taking writing seriously is to accept that I need to be an information sponge. Since then, I’ve resolved to try all the things I’ve previously thought ridiculous/pointless when it comes to writing.

As mentioned previously, I’ve joined a few online writing groups and participated in peer sessions. Today I wrote the first of lengthy critiques of other writers’ works in order to gain enough “karma” points to post my own work for review.

Another habit I’ve adopted is listening to various podcasts where the hosts interview contemporary writers. I found there are a great deal to learn from published writers there and it’s also a source of inspiration.

In regards to producing actual written work, this is currently slow going. I have written a short scene each day. Gone are the frantic three hour writing sessions spurred by a random creative burst–now instead I have a daily word dump.

But that’s okay. I can only assume that this is expected. I’m doing a bit of reading each day and I’m finding out that everything I thought about How To Write a Novel (start a scene and go from there is how I always used to do it) is wrong (sorry, “unsuccessful”). Instead there is so much technique involved in the art of creating a story that people want to read that I’m back to taking baby steps with writing.

Not to mention that a 7 month old baby doesn’t allow for 3 hour creative keyboard mashing. My son demands a great deal of attention, so I’m taking an hour or twenty minutes at a time.

But I’m optimistic. I feel better about my current plan than I have ever felt about ANY plan (maybe because I never had a proper plan). I feel like I will really get something out of myself if I just continue doing what I’m doing.

Here’s to hoping I have something read-worthy by this time next year.

Forging Ahead

Posting before bed. In the last two days I have:

  • Wrote two scenes
  • Participated in peer reviews for my first online writing group

The new story I have started is currently dialogue heavy. Though now I feel better about writing with mistakes because that’s what being part of a writing group is about–trusting other writers to tell you what works and what doesn’t.

Good Start

I did good today. Spent an hour in the morning with some written exercises from Bell’s book. I wrote a short scene I saw in my mind based on the exercise asking to write a scene by answering the question: “What I most want to write about at this moment is…”

I liked the characters I introduced in that scene. So this afternoon I took that character and applied the LOCK system to create a simple plot. The way LOCK works:

Lead: Who is the lead character?

Objective: What is the lead character’s objective? The lead of a story is usually trying to get something or get away from something.

Confrontation: What obstacles does the lead face in obtaining their objective?

Knockout: What is the climax of the story? Does the lead succeed in their objective? Make a knockout event of the result.

And now I have a general plot and some scene ideas to flesh it out. I have characters, incidents, etc etc! The plot took me about an hour and a half this afternoon to draw up.

I’m excited. I have never tried writing a project with this approach before. I have always just started by writing a scene and tried to free form it. I never took plotting seriously. I was so arrogant as to believe that creativity means not having to follow a plot! How ridiculous is that…

Tools Used:

Productive by Apalon Apps on iPhone: A habit tracker that reminds me to write for at least an hour twice a day.

Lock system from James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure.

 

Failures and New Starts

I have been trying to write. I dabbled with different exercises and techniques to get me to stick to writing. None has worked so far.

There was the 52 week writing exercise, which lasted for one short story (not a very good one).

Before that there was daily writing prompts. That didn’t work, either.

During all this, I also attempted to write in my personal journal once a day. That worked off and on.

Yesterday morning I had another brilliant idea. I would create a Google Form called “Discovery for Writing” and in it I would make myself answer a list of questions about a writing project before I even began the project.

Building this form led me to research various things about writing such as PLOT, CHARACTERIZATION, and POINT OF VIEW. I was pleasantly surprised at the wealth of information out there that was easily accessible to me without having to sign up for a university course. (I am not sure why I was surprised… in this day and age of the free Internets).

I wrote a Pledge yesterday. That was actually part of an exercise I am doing by following James Scott Bell’s book on Plot and Structure. I stumbled across Bell’s informative book by a long series of article jumps that I won’t bore you with here (I was looking to learn more about PLOT, my greatest weakness).

As part of the new exercise, I’m going to to document each step of my learning and writing here–I’m going to try to post something about what I’ve done each day so I can hold myself accountable.

Today:

  • Joined a couple of online writing groups.
    • Critiqued someone’s work
    • Posted some of my own work
  • Finished Chapter 1 exercises from Bell’s book.

See you all tomorrow, then!

The Pledge

Today I resolve to taking writing seriously.

To keep going and never stop.

To learn everything I can and make it as a writer.

52 Week Writing Challenge

So here I go again… trying another writing challenge. I just can’t seem to find one that sticks.

The challenge came from the writer, Ray Bradbury. I have to admit that I have never actually read any of his work. His name was always vaguely familiar to me until I found his 52 week writing challenge.

Today is Sunday. I am going to start with my first story of this week with the goal of finishing it by the upcoming Saturday. Wish me luck…