Long Silence but Never Quiet

Long silence here but never truly quiet. Always the keys go clack clack clack.

A common writer’s mantra – best thing you can be doing is writing the next book. The next story. The next script. The next poem. Whatever your art, keep that your focus.

Anything else is a distraction.

I’ve received editorial feedback on the first book. Will be going over all that after I nail this first draft on book two. Gunning for that in the next ten days or so.

Book two of the thriller series is at 60k words. Target is 80k to 90k. The story is coming together a little more loosely than the first book. Might require a slightly longer revision time.

Observations for my writerly friends – if you find yourself in a muddy middle (generally a meandering second act) or find yourself writing stream of consciousness, it’s likely just a lack of planning. Your creative brain trying to make rational sense of the ideas you’ve stuffed in there.

That’s perfectly fine for a first draft. Get the ideas out. Let them guide you to the finish line.

What this means for less experienced writers – you’re rarely done when you type The End for the first time. That’s just how this gig goes. But if you do it enough, you start see the problem spots. You start to see where your amazing brain is trying to take you.

I use loose outlines. These inevitably create loose plots / stories that need tweaks. Of course, if you put in a lot of work up front on an exhaustive outline, that can often serve as your first draft. A matter of personal taste, really.

People call this “plotting” versus pantsing (as in “writing by the seat of your pants”). I hybrid that stuff. A nice sketch outline then I dive in.

For me, meeting characters as the story unfolds, discovering the path, is part of the adventure. It also lets me be surprised. And if I’m surprised, damn sure the reader will be.

For instance, in Alter Ego, I didn’t know who that superhero was to Jackie until halfway into the first draft.

Plotting though is an equally important art. Stories without form often confuse and lose audiences. There’s a reason people talk about structure and it isn’t to force us artists to conform. It’s so your reader has a familiar foundation.

It’s the difference between abstract art and more classical forms. If you’re writing popular fiction or pulp, best to stick with recognizable shapes.

Okay, back to it.

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