Saturday, March 23, 2013

Getting Back Into the Writing Ring

Courtesy of
I've been remiss about posting. Recently submitted my angel urban fantasy/paranormal, Exterminating Angel, and am awaiting word. Of course, prevailing wisdom will tell you the best way to conquer the obsessive checking of one's inbox is to get to work on another story.

I spent most of my time post-submission staring at a monitor and wondering why I was such a failure. Yes, once again, the behemoth Doubt had stampeded into my imagination, trampling on my creative endeavors. My story ideas were stupid, I was a fraud, I'd never be published again, etc.

Part of my frustration was lack of output. I would see my writing friends turn out books on a regular basis, and here I was, still working on a story I started two years ago. And that doesn't count the stories I never finished. Why was I such a slow writer? As you can guess, self-doubt fed on frustration, and I ended up withdrawn and depressed.

And then I got a copy of Rachel Aaron's book about writing 10k words a day, and I realized my plotting process was slowing me down. I would have Post-It notes here, hand-written notes there, along with character and plot worksheets, and any manner of reference material (often a stack of books with aforementioned Post-It notes sticking out of the pages).

I needed to rein in the chaos if I was going to write more efficiently. But how? There was one way, but I wasn't sure I wanted to go there. A few years ago, I'd bought Liquid Story Binder when it was on sale during National Novel Writing Month. I liked the idea of the program as being a way to organize my writing: research notes, images, character charts, plot outline, even character journals. But LSB has a high learning curve, and, until one starts playing with it, can seem overwhelming.

But I hated my professional career, and I knew it couldn't get better unless I changed something. Good news was it probably couldn't get any worse. I decided to use Serpent Fire, the second book in my Angels of Death series as my guinea pig.

I started by creating character dossiers, including adding images of people who looked most like them. This was followed by galleries of Louisville locations and a vague plot outline, including inciting incident, plot points, black moment, etc. I also ran the story through Dramatica Pro, a story development software. Right now, my targeted word goal is 50k.

2012 was the Year of the Short Story for me. Let's see if 2013 becomes the Year of the Short Novel. :-)