Friday, November 18, 2016

3 million organized fictional words. That's about how much I figure I've written in my life.

At this point in my writing adventure, I'm more or less judging things by my own standards. I think I'm probably twice the writer I was when I started, and half the writer I want to be.

That doesn't mean that people are going to like my books twice as much though. It's just an internal gauge about how much I'm learning.

Most of the improvement comes down to the process of incubating my creativity and then letting it happen. The more relaxed I become, the better the writer.

That and just discovering through the trial and error of 3 million words.

At least, that's what I think.

Sometimes I struggle to find the connectors, the plot elements that tie the characters and plots together.

Sometimes, like on my walk on Wednesday, my brain just starts firing off connector after connector, so fast I can't keep track of them. I worry that they are a little too neat, but it's better to have too many and then cut than to have too few.

Why, oh why, do I write such complicated plots?

This book is basically all flashback.

Now, there is a grand tradition of such books. A group of disparate travelers gather at a castle and each tells the tale of how they arrived there. That is roughly what I am doing here, and it feels right. A series of almost short stories unified by a grand threat.

I'm trying to keep this at novella size, under 30K words, so I can submit it to Amazon Singles. I don't expect them  to take it, but no harm in trying. I figure I can probably handle rejection by now without losing hope.

So far I don't feel I've written a clunker chapter. I had one chapter that someone else thought missed the mark and upon examining it, I thought it could be improved by expanding it into 3 chapters. But other than that, I really like what I've written.

However, I'm realizing that not everyone probably is enamored. The number of readers declines with each entry, which means that people are dropping away and I've failed at grabbing them.

But again, I'm measuring progress by my own gauge, and I know this is much more accomplished than anything I thought I could do.


Dave Cline said...

I'm reading All the light we cannot sea - Anthony Doerr.

It's essentially a mixed up set of either flash backs or flash forwards, I can't quite tell which is which. I'm being harsh here, but frankly, I could prolly just physically cut the book into pieces and rearrange it chronologically and it would make more sense. Doerr created tiny bits as chapters which would make it easy to rearrange.

But, it's a library book...

I used to be amenable to myriad POV switches, time or character based. In later years I've got little patience to have to figure out where I am in a story. I may be reading three or four books, blogs, netflix shows, blah blah blah. And my Alzheimer's tends to slap me silly most times. (only half kidding here). So straight chron jobs for me these days.

Duncan McGeary said...

Linda writes with one viewpoint character, chronologically. No accident that her favorite book of mine is a first person chronological book, "I Live Among You." (Which I haven't published yet.)

Stories come to me more in the form of character, than in sequence, and it does cause problems. But one viewpoint books seem too simple to me now, especially as a writer.

Duncan McGeary said...

At least you're reading "library" books--or literary books, as I call them.

They bore the hell out of me these days...give me a good genre book anytime.

Dave Cline said...

A neighbor likes Doerr so I thought I'd entertain him. The writing is tight, if non-conformant. If Doerr were to submit this to a 12th grade English teacher he'd get run out of class. How many one word sentences can you stick in one novel?


Single POVs, single timelines... Simple. Yes. Too simple? Probably.

But consider "The Hobbit" -- Bilbo, all-day-long. Or "Old Man and the Sea".

Multiple POVs and at two timelines seems to be popular. The netflix Once upon a time series, or Person of Interest series, got it all stirred up.

I suppose if there's /any/ mystery at all involved, multiple POVs are a requirement.

Duncan McGeary said...

Simple yes, but I think it takes even more talent to pull off. In a way, complexity covers a multitude of errors.

I think it adds layers of textures, changes up the tone, brings into play other viewpoints. I'm much more comfortable with that.

I have more trouble with sequence than anything, because I write from characters POV and not when it actually happens in the story, sometimes.