In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* Topic: Back to The Othgygnrkthers
* Of Interest
* The Numbers
Quotes of the Day
“The world is visibly changing, and we have no idea what the outcome will be.” Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“So release yourself from Outcome. Be unattached to Outcome, take a calming breath and just continue on.” My corollary
Topic: Back to The Othgygnrkthers
This will be another process topic, complete with a little waffling, so skip it if you want.
Yesterday I said I was trashing the book.
This morning, I thought Not so fast, and I retrieved it. Not out of some silly, unreasoning fear of “wasting” words, but because the basic story is good.
You know the old saw about everything happening in due time and for a reason?
Yesterday during my day off, I watched the Week 5 vids of the Advanced Depth workshop in which I’m currently enrolled. I (happily) already know most of what I’ve heard in that workshop.
But as I listened, I realized what was wrong with the novel I just finished: It wasn’t that the aliens didn’t do anything; it’s that I didn’t allow readers to see (hear, smell, taste, touch) what the aliens did. Half of the story is missing.
I didn’t tell the aliens’ side of the story.
In the novel’s present form, the aliens might as well be inanimate, like a target on a rifle range, or a fire hydrant, or a stop sign. I described them well enough, but I didn’t allow the reader in to see what they were doing, to know their opinions or understand their motivations.
Right after they landed, they DID something, albeit off-stage. But the humans only saw the aftermath, the results of what the aliens did, not what they actually did. And what they did was horrible from the POV of the humans involved, but not from the POV of the aliens.
The problem is, I didn’t show the alien POV. At all. I didn’t even show the POV of any of the human victims. So again, basically, I wrote only half the story.
So at this point (nothing is set in concrete where the creative subconscious is involved), I have one of five options (I think this covers all the bases):
1. Up front, I can just let the story go and write something else. I’ve already decided I won’t do this. My creative subconscious wants to tell this story, but the whole story, probably over several novels. But bearing in mind, you write a series one novel at a time, and you write a novel one scene at a time, etc. (grin) So…
2. I can start at the beginning of the current story and cycle through the whole thing, writing new scenes/chapters as I go (ala Dean Smith and what I’m most comfortable with), OR
3. I can write a new opening from the aliens’ POV and just continue on with it, recasting the entire story. (This is the option I mentioned yesterday, a complete recasting, and this or option 2 are the more probable.) OR
4. I can open a new document and type the story strictly from the aliens’ (and human victims’) POV. I would finish that half-story, and then (ala Kris Rusch) copy/paste that story into the current story a scene/chapter at a time, OR
5. I can do a hybrid of 4. I would have both documents open, write the story from the aliens’ POV, and copy/paste as I go. (But my brain doesn’t work that way. All the back and forth would be too confusing, with too much chance of inviting my critical mind into my work, so probably not.)
So why are options 2 and 3 the more probable for me? Because I know the aliens intimately. I just didn’t let the readers know them intimately. That’s what’s missing.
The one thing that’s completely off the table is writing from the critical, conscious mind. I won’t allow that because (at least for me) that would be work. I write to have fun, not to struggle my way through something I don’t enjoy just for a paycheck.
Of course, no matter which course I take, I’ll count only new words in the numbers below.
Now, the lesson—if any of the above options gives you a sense of fear (anything from “Oh crap!” to sweat breaking out on your forehead), I suggest you try it. Just to get past the fear.
After all, what will happen if you try and fail?
But if you succumb to the fear and don’t try at all… well, that’s real failure.
Case in point: If I go with my original decision, trash this book and move on to something else, nothing bad will happen. Shrug. I’ll just be writing another story.
Likewise, if I try one of the four “solutions” above and fail, STILL nothing bad will happen. Again, I’ll just move on and write another story.
What’s important is THAT you write, not WHAT you write.
So if you’re afraid of something, try it. You can do the same thing I outlined above (for practice) with something you’ve already written just to get you past the fear. And think of the sense of accomplisment you will have gained. Plus, you might come out with an entirely different story, albeit one based on the same idea.
IF you try it (or if you want to honestly try WITD for the first time), have confidence in what you’ve learned over the years:
* You’ve absorbed Story all your life;
* you learned all about grammar and syntax over several years of school and while subconsciously correcting stupid mistakes you encountered in various things you’ve read; and
* you’ve learned many specific writing techniques here (I hope) and elsewhere.
So Trust All Of That and just write.
It really is that simple.
As always, I welcome comments or questions, preferably on the site in a comment (comments help traffic), but also via email.
Today I’ll begin again on The Othgygnrkthers (The Oth-gig-nark-thers, drop some consonants and it becomes The Others) and we’ll see what happens. I’ll report numbers tomorrow.
I’m posting this early so the Journal isn’t hovering over my mind as I’m writing.
Talk with you again soon.
See “Business Musings: A Really Big Deal” at https://kriswrites.com/2020/04/01/business-musings-a-really-big-deal/.
See “Beware the Critical Eye” at https://mailchi.mp/xmission/david-farlands-writing-tips-beware-the-critical-eye-dzzczrathk.
See “Churchill’s “K.B.O.” (Or something like that.)” at https://stevenpressfield.com/2020/04/churchills-k-b-o-or-something-like-that/.
See “4 Elements to Craft Your Author Bio” at https://www.thebookdesigner.com/2020/04/4-elements-to-craft-your-author-bio/.
See “A Day of Other Work, Not Writing Fun” at https://www.deanwesleysmith.com/a-day-of-other-work-not-writing-fun/.
See “The Non-Compete Clause is a Non-Starter” at https://prowriterswriting.com/the-non-compete-clause-is-a-non-starter/.
See The Passive Guy’s take on “UK online print at risk as Gardners and Hive suspend activity and Waterstones struggles” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/uk-online-print-at-risk-as-gardners-and-hive-suspend-activity-and-waterstones-struggles/.
Fiction words today…………………… XXXX
Nonfiction words today…………… 1090 (Journal)
Writing of The Othgygnrkthers 2 (novel)
Day 1…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the month……… XXXX
Total fiction words for the year………… 207982
Total nonfiction words for the month… 1800
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 82950
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 290932
Calendar Year 2020 Novels to Date…………………… 3
Calendar Year 2020 Novellas to Date……………… X
Calendar Year 2020 Short Stories to Date… 12
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 48
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 208
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31