Lately I’ve had trouble with my focus. I want to start work on my next novel project, but instead I’ve been working on smaller poetry and song writing work. While all of my writing projects have value to me, I think I’m using the smaller projects as a justification to not get to work on the larger project. Why? I’m intimidated by myself, and I’m not quite sure where to start. I have loads of ideas that I love. I have clearly put the time aside to write (after all I’m getting the poetry done). What I’m lacking is the guts to make a decision (that may be wrong) about which project is my next best bet.
Yesterday a friend totally called me on it and suggested I use a coin-flip to make the decision. So today I took action. I made a short list of the novel ideas I have right now (not the ones that are floating around half-finished, just the ones that I think I could write now) then I flipped a coin. Ok, not really a coin, I rolled a die because there were more than two options. There were 4. Thank goodness for my geeky past and D&D dice. How else could I have made this critical life decision? (I knew being a geek would pay off eventually.)
So now I have a decision. I am writing Redemption (the die roll was a 3) and I will write 1500 words (or more) a day going forward towards the completion of this project until it is done. With a goal of 90,000 words that means I can be finished the first draft by the end of January. (I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.) Wish me luck.
NB. I may not have taken my friend’s challenge if I hadn’t seen a Google Plus post today from Michael Carr saying “The dividing line between professional writer and amateur/hobbyest is not whether or not you’ve been published yet. It’s whether or not you are producing new work and submitting it.” Well said Michael.
Sharing: – Redemption is a story idea I came up with while thinking about choices, and how we learn lessons in life. The basic story line is about a scientist who makes a discovery that could make her rich but would make the world a much different place in a very bad way. She has to decide what to do, and what she is willing to sacrifice. Often a story springs to life in my mind after seeing a scene in my head. In the case of Redemption the idea first took shape in the form a conversation.
“I love you.”
“You’re a liar”
“Yes, but the two aren’t exclusive.”
“Then I’ll love you too, but let me up or I’ll be late for work.”
Conversations are a great writing tool. They provide us with the opportunity to introduce multiple characters to our audience, giving the readers a sense of who these people are and their relationship to each other almost instantly. Work choice, sentence length, ability to communicate, conversations are full of information. Choose two famous personalities (fictional of otherwise) and put them in a conversation. Choose an everyday setting like ordering food in a restaurant. Then, without using the names of your subjects try to reveal to the reader who these people are, and what they mean to each other with the shape of their conversation. Start with their relationship, then move to their culture or job or position, and finally to the reveal at the end. When you’re done, solicit the help of a friend. Explain the exercise to them and ask them to read the conversation and see if they guess the characters or were pleasantly surprised. Happy Writing.
NB. Sometimes the best result of an exercise like this is when your reader couldn’t guess, but fully understands the connection after the reveal.