We're only halfway through March, but with all the pandemonium going on in the world right now, it seems to me that now is a great time to start planning for the April 2020 session of Camp NaNoWriMo. If you're stuck at home, there's no excuses for procrastinating on reading, research, or writing right now. And with the wide-spread encouragement of social distancing, we all have an excuse to blow off social engagements without the risk of getting guilt-tripped or feeling bad about it later. Welcome to a brand-new world of state-sanctioned introversion!
A couple of weeks ago I decided to restart my current WIP after getting four chapters into my first draft. Despite following my outline and keeping with my proposed character development, there was a major flaw growing in the storytelling which I did not want in my story. One of my characters was in danger of developing a mindset akin to Stockholm Syndrome, but that does not match up with who and what he is. So I started over and added a new character who would help alleviate this flaw.
In any form of expression driven by public participation and desire for an audience, trends will develop. Whether you're talking fashion, artwork, music, slang, marketing, social media, scientific inquiry, or any number of other dynamic human forces, popularity and the desire for approval will affect what direction expression takes. One of the biggest areas of social life where trends can and do take over is in storytelling.
When it comes to setting and tracking writing goals, many of the websites and apps I've come across allow writers to measure their progress only by way of word counts, and while numerical word goals may be useful to many writers, I find it very narrowminded to limit users of these apps and websites to measuring progress via only word count. There are many goals writers may want to set and many types of writing where word counts will not provide an efficient way of tracking progress.
Beginnings are hard. For me, one of the most difficult parts of writing a first draft is deciding at what point I should start my story's timeline. What opening scene will catch a reader's attention? How early is too far from the action, leaving them bogged down with mundane character introductions? How late into the action will leave them confused rather than engaged? Is it worth throwing in a prologue to give readers background information, setting the backdrop of future events? Or should all of the pertinent background information get woven into the storytelling as exposition?
One of my favorite parts about starting a new writing project is doing research. My writing consists primarily of fantasy, and this allows for a wide range of research directions. Much of what I look into before starting to lay out a plot deals with history of technology and daily living in order to make the setting and characters believable. Sometimes during the course of this research, I'll run into some, little factoid I never considered significant before, and it will lead me down another trail of exploration that has significant impacts on my plotline.
For those of you who read my previous post, I would like to report that my mental state is somewhat better this week but still not back to normal. I spent most of the previous week working on presentation and demonstration materials for my day job for an event that has me lowkey excited. It's a new event, and it's always nice when my office is asked to participate in such things. However, the thing that boosted my mood the most as far as home life is concerned was buying new a new calendar and yearly planner. These seem like such simple things, but being able to look forward to the year ahead helps.
It's been a while since I last posted, partly thanks to the Christmas and New Year's holidays but also due to the fact I recently hit an emotional slump. Little things in my daily life snowballed, and minor comments and unintentional actions which I would normally have no problem shrugging off built up too fast for me to ignore. I was left feeling as though my voice doesn't matter and that the people in my life are undermining my personal goals. This perception of the world around me makes it difficult to find motivation to do much of anything, because gaining even a modicum of consideration from friends and family turns into a struggle.
Although I often blog about writing, today is the first time I will share a snippet of my original fiction on this site. Below are the opening paragraphs of Chapter One of the novel manuscript I have spent the past few months polishing. As you may have understood from last week's post, I am not completely satisfied with my writing. I have lost confidence. But I do want to share my writing with others. I will never attain my personal goals of publication and inspiring others if I fail to share what I have written with an audience.
I'm coming to the end of editing before trying to pitch and/or query my fantasy novel manuscript. It's been a long road. I finished writing the story several years ago, started edits and rewrites, and then set it aside for over a year. I love the characters and settings I developed in this work, but I was a afraid no one would like the story. And so I let no one else see it despite wanting to get it published someday.