Trying A New Tool

One of the things that any creative has to be careful about is trying out new tools. Let’s face it-90% of creative people have some form of neurosis and the remainder are able to hide it really well. And, one of these neurosis is about our tools. I’ve met people that have patched up, repaired, fixed, taped, epoxied, puttied, and eventually started to haunt estate sales and eBay because they had one particular kind of mechanical pencil that they used and “nothing else works right for me.”

Bit of Dumbo’s Magic Feather? Entirely possible and it’s also possible that it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other. Entirely possible that the ergonomics of that pencil have always worked better for him-or just that he’s gotten so used to it that everything else feels off. And, “feeling off” is sometimes one of the things that really throws a creative person off of their game. Sometimes to the point of not going somewhere with a project because it would require them to learn how to use a new tool…and then the neurosis hits again.

(My particular neurosis is the “not good enough” one. Not quite the perfectionist, but this fear that the point of translation between my imagination and the page is missing something and I need to go back and add that one more thing. And, creating things in my head, whole backstories that nobody will probably ever see…a series bible for TV or streaming would be insane by most standards, each A- and B-list character would have a massive biography and books and references…)

But, there’s also that point where you hit a wall and realize that the current tools aren’t going to help you any. This is why I’m learning a tool early-outlining.

How I usually write is what I call “checkpoint plotting.” It works like this-my stories have a number of checkpoints that I want to hit when I’m writing my story. I have a general idea when and where I want to get to that checkpoint. Just, sometimes I get hit by a plot idea or concept that is just so pretty…and I wander off the beaten path. And, come back as quickly as I can…but sometimes I find interesting things when I go off the beaten path.

Or, I have to spray for ticks.

But, A Solist In Rome and this new idea that won’t let go in my head is going to require me to stay closer to the road. So, that means I’m breaking out a new tool-an outline.

This is where everybody suggests a writing tool of one sort or another. Right now…not going to go that far. It’s really just a simple outline in Word as a prototype. First level is chapter headers. Second level is the main points where I want to go with this chapter. And, third level is what I call my “fluff”-little additional details that I want to add and follow up on.

I spent most of yesterday writing it, and I’m about a quarter of the way through my first outline for this second series that I’m working on. Today or tomorrow, I might get started on the A Solist In Rome (because it’s going to primarily first person with several second person callouts), so I need to keep tight track of where the story is going.

Back to the writing mines I go…and, we’ll see if this new tool helps any.

Hey, I Can See Some Light Here!

Short version-I’ve managed to get some writing done.

LONG version-in between dealing with the State of California, despising the whole process of interviewing for jobs (seriously, four interviews for a company and not getting the job?), general frustration with a world that seems to be run by idiots, and coming up on my birthday in about a month…

…the floodgates of my writing mojo have come back. This worries me-I don’t want to be Tim Bisly, who’s muses are angst and anger and frustration.

But, I have gotten at least two more chapters of The Winter Solist done, getting close to the big mystery and the final dance number. In fact…I’ve actually written part of the epilogue, so I can get a few events synchronized. And, I’m doing the “go through my previous chapters and start looking for issues” thing. I’m definitely going to call that progress. Once I finish with that, pull down a copy of Daz3D, build my cover, put the novel together and get it published. I will probably miss the one year anniversary for Solist At Large, but that I have a second novel done is a good thing.

Then, I start writing A Solist In Rome, where I might have my main character get PNG-ed from Italy.

Hopefully more good news coming soon. I’m looking into a moving screen so I won’t have to see the TV in the other room…and not go insane watching CNN. That would be a good thing.

Book Writing Information For This Week

After celebrating my birthday this week and managing to get…sixty to sixty-five percent of what I wanted from this year, I got back to work on The Winter Solist. Right now, I’m de-cluttering the plot of the book in a way that Marie Kondo would be very proud of. Before I had over-done the plot in my last book, I was up to 16 chapters and hit several stuck points. I think by the time I’m done, I’ll be down to twelve or so chapters, unstuck where the plot wasn’t working, and sadly going to have to get rid of one little side plot that I was really enjoying working on.

But! I did save original copies of everything I cut, so I can maybe use it in the future. Probably not, but I’m still hopeful.

The de-cluttering also revealed something that I hoped I wasn’t going to have to do. Since I’m going to have to stretch out the book some more, the original eight book plan (covering a semester of Adelade’s life in high school) is probably going to have to be eleven or twelve to finally tell the whole story.

Damn.

The good news is that I know what the title of book #3 in the series is. The title is A Solist In Rome, and we get to see Adelaide have fun with some of her peers and find out how much deeper the rabbit hole goes. A Solist In Rome is currently in the plotting phase right now, and I do know that it’ll be one of those odd hybrid first/third person books like The Apocalypse Codex, since we’re going to have to see the story from a number of other perspectives. And, it’s set in Rome and the Vatican City, so I have to do a lot of research on those as well. Mostly for the final dance number (i.e. final big confrontation of the book), have to place it properly.

Well, back to the writing work. Wish me luck.