Tuesday, October 22, 2013

More Projects Than I Can Count

Which is a good thing. I like having more ideas to work with than not having any at all! Which I think is what stops new writers from getting started. Many believe they have to have a 'grand idea' (and one that has developed into a full blown plot) before jumping in. Nope. Just need a character in a setting with a problem. Get that set in the first 300 to 400 words and you can go from there. One sentence at a time.

The challenge for me is that I have a lot of stories/projects stuck at that opening scene. (In other words, I forgot to write the next sentence!) This is another reason Konrath says to quit. So let's tackle the next of his bullet points, shall we?

  • You're great at starting stories, but never finish them. 

I was/am great at starting stories. Ideas out the wazoo and am getting better at that opening characterization in a vibrant (5 senses) setting with an intriguing or compelling conflict/problem. But until this past summer, I didn't realize I could finish these openings because I had no idea where to go next. That's when Dean Wesley Smith, in his 'From Idea to Story' workshop, taught me to just write the next sentence. That is, let the creativity flow where it will and discover the story like a reader does - as it unfolds. Duh! That's what makes reading and writing fun. The thrill of discovery.

For instance, in a short thriller recently accepted for publication, I actually had no idea who the killer was until I was writing the penultimate scene where the killer was supposed to be revealed. What fun. Was I nervous about how I was going to finish the story? In the past I wouldn't have been nervous, I just would never have gotten that far because I didn't know what came next. Now, I'm writing until the end and enjoying what happens.

So lately I've been slowly going back and finishing all the stories I've started. Which is one of Heinlein's Rules for being a successful writer. And the reason Konrath says you might as well quit if you don't finish what you start.

That being said, I started another project yesterday. lol. Actually, I wrote up four pre-pitch paragraphs for a gaming company, my first foray into that field. So we'll see what happens. No project yet, but I'll let you know if one of my pitches catches the interest of the powers that be. Since it was fiction, I'm going to count my 700 words that I wrote for my monthly totals, which are:

New words today: 700
So far this month: 16,100

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