Stones of Years

Being a writer is never easy.  You are stuck with ideas you can’t bring to fruition.  You have things happen in real life that affect your writing time.  You find yourself becoming obsessed with characters that simply won’t come into focus–

Yeah, that last has happened to me.

With Camp NaNo just around the corner–and I didn’t get anyone I wanted in my cabin!  What’s up with that?  Never mind, back to what I was saying . . . with Camp looming I needed to get my story set up.  And I’ve been doing that, but–lets be honest–there are a few things I’ve been lacking here.  A couple of my characters are a bit nebulous, and I’m not feeling them, not the way I should.  And it pisses me off, because I want to know my characters when I start writing.

It didn’t help that yesterday felt like one of those times when, if I may borrow from Graham Parker, every kind of pressure steps on your toes.  Shouldn’t have happened like that, but it did, and there were a few times when I had to step away and regroup because I was winding myself up.

So with night approaching I found myself at a crossroads:  what was I going to do with this story?  I hate when I get caught up in these möbius loops of indecision.  (I would have said a chronic hysteresis, but I covered Doctor Who yesterday.)  I found I needed a bathroom break, and while I was there . . .

Epiphany!

Camp NaNo isn’t about writing novels, or so I’m told.  It’s about writing what you feel like writing, and you can set your own word count and take it easy.  You might set out writing thirty thousand words on something lite and breezy, but maybe your intention was to only produce twenty thousand words.

Doesn’t matter.  You wrote, you got a story, move on.

What did I decide?  I decided I needed to write about an event that happened in the world I’ve created, to set up what’s actually happening in the novel I’m going to write.  It’s a traumatic event, one that messed things up so bad that the place was almost shuttered, and it really sets the stage for why the school–and the world, by extension–is the way it is at the start of the novel.

Call it a long prologue, but since I was only looking to write about twenty-five thousand words, it gives me a reason to write something that could be expanded into a novel later, and work on character outlines for the novel I’ll work on in November.  Assuming I’m not waylaid by something shiny.

To show you how I set up something like The Foundation Scouringthat . . . I’d already set up the novel as a Scrivener project, which meant I had a title page, and characters and places, along with some research, in place.  The character, place, and research are all meta data, but I needed to set up something with particular characters, as this new piece takes place eleven years earlier.  That means minimizing the character folder and using the Duplicate function to create a new fold, which I then moved to the story location.  I set up a new title page, set the meta data to tell me it’s a novella to do, and–ta da!  New story is already to go, and all I have to do is time line a few things and set up my parts.  Took all of about ten minutes to get to the point you see to the right.

The Scouring.  Quick and dirty writing, it is, and it’ll give me a foundation upon which to write Welcome to the Fishbowl.  Or whatever I decide to call the next piece.

The doubt is gone.  Time to write.