Backwards to the Summit

A year ago, something strange happened.  I wrote this post.

I didn’t there was anything out of the ordinary about that post.  In fact, I dashed it off early in the morning before heading off to The Hole That Was My Job, located at The Undisclosed Location.  I was up early because I was having trouble sleeping, probably because of the cold that was developing that day, and would remain with me the entire month of May and well into June.

I popped it off, went to work, then went to dinner.  When I returned home and fired up the computer, I checked my stats–

The post had seen over two hundred views, and that day ended up becoming the most on-site views I’ve ever received.

I’ve tried hard to figure out what it was that drew all those people to my website.  I don’t think it was the tags, or how it appeared on Google, or even the subject.  The reason for the popularity is puzzling, because I’ve written far better posts than that, and they’ve had to go begging for hits like an out of work bicycle messenger who hocked his single-gear speed buggy for meth and is now hovering above the rocky bottom.

It’s strange how things like that happen.  You can bust your butt over something that you think is going to set the world on fire, and the collective sighs of a tiny group of readers can be overwhelming.  At the opposite end of the spectrum are those things you dash out almost as an afterthought, and your fans lose their shit in rapture-like ecstasy.

Stories are like that.  You put your heart into something that seems to speak to you in special ways, and it seems the indifference is suffocating–then you have some fun with a story that’s not meant to be taken too seriously, and you watch the money roll in.  Now, I don’t think that’s going to happen with my next story, but the way things work in my life, who knows?

I started putting my next story together last night.  Right now the title is about as original as it gets:  Cabin Fever.  As in, “I gotta fever, and the only prescription is hot women having sex!”  It’s the sort of simple title that can catch an eye, though it seems as if there are way too many cabins with fevers on Smashwords, so I’m going to need to rethink my approach.

I have the names of my characters, and a short outline of their lives.  It was while I was playing with this that I discovered something about the Scrivener Name Generator:  once you have your selected names in the “short list” box, you can transfer that list to an existing card or folder, and then play with the contents as you see fit–or even append the name at the end of a line currently being written.  That’s a function that I’d not played with, and now that I know it exists, when I need a quick name, and I throw it in and create a character card for that person at the same time.

This is how I go about getting a story ready:  I develop, I do my research, I lay things out.

And then, when I’m ready . . .

I see to things really get laid.