Thinking, not writing, is how I start this time

I haven’t done any serious writing in over a week, but I’m ok with that. What I’ve been doing is a lot of thinking.

a river-merchant's wife writes...
a river-merchant’s wife writes… (Photo credit: The hills are alive*)

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that everything was falling into place  for a series of novels (urban fantasy?  Labels are such icky things, and I’ve been too ashamed to admit if any of them might apply – that’s over). I have the big picture in my head now, the first arc and the start of a second story arc born from the first.

What I don’t have is the first chapter yet or a decent outline. I realized, and maybe this is finally a sign of some level of festering maturity, that what I have so far isn’t enough to start with. I need to do some serious thinking about this. When I started writing the first draft of what has turned into book one last fall, I thought I was writing one kind of story. Then half way through, a character from another (failed) novel popped in and took over, giving the story some real vitality.

Unfortunately, that vitality made the first half of the novel lacking. I didn’t realize when I started writing the novel that Niki was the central character – her appearances are few and far between until about half into the draft, where suddenly she is the center of the show. So this week, cramped on airplanes like only a fat man can be, or sitting in hotels trying to convince my body not to adapt too much to the time differences, I’ve been thinking. In my mind, I’ve begun reshaping the story, making this Niki’s story. Not necessarily dropping a lot from the first draft, but filling in and fleshing out the story like it should be.

Soon, I hope to be posting my writing progress, maybe even daily. Just not today. Probably not this week. This is the time for planning and plotting so I don’t fall off the cliff again.

A New Chapter Begins

I realize it’s been quiet around here lately. In my defense, I was in San Francisco for the last week, getting settled into my new job at Imgur. It’s always a relief when starting a new job (this being my third in the last 13 year or so) to discover that all of the things you thought you knew, you really do know.

English: Cable cars lined up on Powell Street ...

I’m sure that sounds as silly to read as it feels to admit, but there really was a point where my self doubts were at a height. I know my skillset, and it’s what I was hired to do, but did I really know it, or had I just been faking it with style all along?

Turns out, I really do know it. I know, everyone else is as relieved to see that as I am to admit it.

Usually in a catch-up post, this is where I begin with the other updates – but there aren’t any, really. I just spent a week slogging it on foot between my office and my hotel, punctuated by sleep in between. I’m by no means complaining, but there really wasn’t much time to sightsee while walking down Powell to Market Street, and illusions of spending evenings writing were usually dashed by exhaustion and the strange effects having your internal clock being off by three hours. I did learn that if I am ever going to make this a permanent move, I need to start back at the gym a.s.a.p., because my little mile treks every day were killer.

OK, off to get going on celebrating Father’s Day with my girls, who I missed this week far more than I can ever express in a blog post. Have a great Sunday everyone, posts should be gearing up again this week 🙂

A Brief Writing Update

I was going to write a post today on the therapeutic benefits of writing on paper, with a pen. It really can do wonders for helping you break down the dams that inhibit word flow.

English: A stack of copy paper.
English: A stack of copy paper. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is not going to be that post. It would have been lovely, but not today.

Today I’m writing to say that I broke through the wall in my head. I woke up this morning and realized that all of the story arcs for my contemporary fantasy series (don’t gape) had fallen into place. I could see them all, overlapping arches of beautiful plot and character developments. I came downstairs and put the first pass of that down on screen. Then I gulped some coffee, and started filling in the details.

There’s a long way to go yet – I have plot arcs and themes, synopsis for the first four books, and my cast of characters all arranged, but I’d like to see something like an outline (LIKE, not actually, you know, really an outline) take form before I get too far into the words. I want to be sure I  know where all of the pieces are going to fit on this one. I still haven’t figured out the best way to encapsulate it all – I don’t like spreadsheets particularly, though I can see the benefits. Paper and pen is pretty tempting, though I fear that moment when I run out of paper or need to move something. Oh well, I’ll get it down. Off to put down the bones and flesh of this world!



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