It’s Not Exactly Writing…

…but it IS writing related, I suppose.

I’ve been outlining a lot. I’ve got a new method I love for developing a story plot and outline. It’s a lot more work than just filling in the milestones or sections of a story map like I’ve done in the past. I think the payoff, however, is going to be richer stories for the effort. At least, I hope so. Some of that payoff, naturally, depends on my skill as a storyteller, so there’s a risk.

Doing this, I’ve outlined my old, beloved manuscript (I mentioned this before), it’s sequel, a new stand-alone novel (which I initially worked over with my beloved wife using The Hero’s Journey model), an idea I’ve had about a haunted woman which is now a developed plot, and my languishing literary attempt, which didn’t have an outline, map, goal, or anything else which would have made it a real story. So…all that in the last month or so. Not bad.

I have a few more on tap, too. I can’t wait to run them through this mill and see what turns out the other side!

I like this new method, which is a sort of streamlined version of utilizing Dramatica Theory of Story (Google it if you’re interested), which provides me with some key elements to the story I’m working on. When I segment those key elements in the existing story map I’ve mentioned before, I end up with four markers for each act, which are then broken nicely into four sequence of events each, and each of those sequences has four events, giving me sixteen events per act, for a total of sixty-four. But this varies; it could be as few as forty-eight events, wherein each act has four sequences which are broken into only three events each. See how that works?

I hope so. At any rate, this new method provides a great structure, but I’ve also been reading another book which posits another way of looking at those sequences. They all work together for the story, so it’s not that big a deal, but I’m always on the look-out for an easier way, a simpler way, a way which more clearly defines things for me so I understand and execute them better.

I’m learning about subtext too, and how to create it, and how much readers love it. So we’ll see if there’s the possibility of getting that included in the stories too. But that’s more at the scene level and the outline level, frankly.

So not much writing, but a whole lotta learning and outlining. It’s good stuff. I guess maybe next month I’ll get back to writing.

In other news, I also uploaded another stand-alone version of a short (long) story from my collection books. This one’s called Remember Me, and it will be free (provided it’s live) from Monday (today as you read this) through Wednesday this week, so be sure and get your copy while it’s free! At the time of this writing, however, I don’t have a link to give you with the correct title, so it’s not “live” yet. When it is, you’ll be the first to know it!

Also, BIG – and I mean BIG – stuff happening at work. Prayers are appreciated.

Hope you had a good weekend!

-JDT-

General Updates

August Derleth, probably in the 1930s. Derleth...
Image via Wikipedia

Sorry, gang, I have nothing to say today.  Not that I know of, anyway.  So, for some general life updates.

I haven’t had the success with my new resume I hoped for.  Big surprise there.  I’m still hopeful and optimistic and all that crap, but not only is this discouraging it’s getting frightening.  Time is of the essence and I can’t seem to generate a nibble.  Keep a good thought or if you’re the praying kind, please remember us in prayer.  It’s all we’ve got right now.

I’ve been outlining a continuation of the novella (novelette? short story?) The Strange Case of Benny Rogers.  I have no idea why.  It was a really fun project to write, and I’ve provided a rough outline for about five more parts to it.  If I can keep all the parts the same general word count (the first story was 16,500, roughly), then I have about five, maybe six more parts.  That translates to about 82K before editing.  Figure I can get that down to inside 80K pretty easily, not much work there.  Cut out the draggy parts, maybe clean up the language (though I’m wont to do that; I like the grittiness and street-level feel of the story and character), and I’ll have no problem getting the thing down to slim manuscript size.  Problem is, I don’t want to dive into yet another project; I’d rather just … finish what I’ve started.  But I’m not doing that so … eh, dilemma.  Such is life, right?

Let’s see … I’m not making anywhere near satisfactory progress on my reading expedition.  I have a ton of books and haven’t even finished the first one.  It’s a collection of stories by someone being passed off as H. P. Lovecraft, but it’s not him.  It’s a man named August Derleth, a literary student and friend of Lovecraft, who wrote the stories from scraps and notes left by H. P. when he kicked the bucket.  The book itself is great; it’s like Lovecraft with better storytelling technique.  The style is so similar I didn’t pick up it wasn’t Lovecraft until I realized he was doing some show-not-tell, a sure sign you’re not reading Lovecraft, and the dialog was decent – a dead giveaway you’re not reading Lovecraft.  So overall, I like the book.  It’s the shortest book I got from the library and it’s taken more than a week for me to get near the end.  I dunno.  I used to read so much faster.  *Sigh*

My beloved told you we replaced our cable/DVR unit, right?  She did.  Having the remote actually do something – and being able to actually watch a show on it – is just heaven.  Ahh … sigh of relief!

Nothing else to say, really.

Maybe no post tomorrow, and I’ll fire up the Cast o’ Characters next week.

God bless.
-JDT-

Putting Up or Shutting Up

Illustration of a scribe writing
Image via Wikipedia

All right, so my buddy Sherri challenged me – rightfully – to basically put up or shut up.

She’s not the only one.  My beloved wife said the same thing in a different way.  She wondered aloud how I could overcome my fear of rejection.

Annie said something similar when I struggled to get my kiriban prize started.  (Thank you, Annie, if I haven’t said so already.)

Sherri, though, was the first one who pointed out that I’m not afraid of rejection.  I’m not afraid of hearing harsh things about my work.  I’ve come to a place where I’m able to stand on my ability.  I’ve pulled enough books off the shelves at B&N or Borders and found them severely lacking.  I’ve seen enough crap in print to know, even if I’m rejected in the most cruel terms, I don’t have to believe it.  That’s only one person’s opinion, and not necessarily reflective of the masses.

So, my wife poses, if that’s not the reason you’re balking at submission – what IS the reason?

I don’t know.  I have no answer.  Part of me feels I don’t have anything to offer, for one.  I don’t have things written which fit the specs of “short story” for one thing.  Most of my “short” works end up blossoming into novellas.  I hate that, for the record, but it is what it is.  And while I have a few pieces I’m really proud of — “Remember Me”, for one, and “Getting Away from it All” – I don’t know where I can get them in print.  They’re long – almost 20K each, if I recall.

But is that a good excuse?  I have a couple at least that are under 6,000 words, and I have at least one under 4,000 words.  I don’t know how many places take ‘em that long, and I don’t know how many paying markets there are for my stuff, but … why aren’t I looking into it?

Hm.  That’s the question.

Well, I guess not having an excuse can’t be an excuse any more.  So, I put it to you: Is this an indication I need to take the next step?  Am I now ready to move to the next echelon and shoot for a small part of my dream?  (Just FYI, if I could sit around and write short stories all the time and make a living doing it, believe me I would; I enjoy writing them more than novel-length work.)

Sound off, y’all.  I’d love to hear what you’ve got to say.

-JDT-

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