Author Topic: I wrote some stuff  (Read 289 times)

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I wrote some stuff
« on: October 03, 2017, 08:54:57 AM »
This year, I've been trying really hard to get back into writing. Fiction, specifically. After banging on trying and getting nowhere with my screenwriting efforts often because outside factors told me screenplays had to do or not do certain things, I kept abandoning things because the thrill was gone. I just got burned out on it. I wasn't enjoying it any more.

Over the past couple of years, I've become increasingly in love with writers like Hemmingway and Patricia Highsmith, and just the pure joy of reading their words - and seeing the things that they do and get away with - inspired me to give writing fiction, literature, whatever you want to call it, another go.

There have been some false starts, sure, but this year, I really feel like I've hit my stride. The big thing for me was finding a writing routine that worked around my already busy schedule with family and work. I've got that figured out now. In the beginning, I had a few ideas and wasn't sure where to focus my energies. I would flit between them - just waking up each morning, knowing I had an hour to write immediately ahead and I was able to choose, which one of these four or five ideas do I want to work on today?

A couple of months ago, I finished a short story - an easy win to help galvanize my commitment to this writing lark - based on a short screenplay I wrote a couple of years ago. I've kept it in my back pocket for a little while, reading it over and making little tweaks every so often, waiting for the right time to put it out there. I don't know if now is the right time, necessarily, but I'm ready to let it go. So I published it yesterday on Kindle.

It's called Cow Boy.

It's only about 5,000 words, but it was important to me that I wrote something and finished it. By the time I'd finished it, I had more or less decided which of my other projects I'd put on the back-burner and which one would become my primary focus. It wasn't too hard a choice, really. That new project is called Nightlights. It's based on an idea I've had rattling around my head for a very, very long time. I've tried to write it as a screenplay dozens of times. I completed two full-length drafts in the past, both totally different, but neither really close to what I wanted it to be. I think part of the reason I failed with Nightlights in the past was simply that I lacked the maturity and life experience. And, of course, I was trying to conform my idea to some sense of what a screenplay should be. It just didn't work at all.

But literature is a much more free medium. The playful does-what-it-wants nature of Twin Peaks The Return may have inspired additional confidence also. I've broken down my ideas for Nightlight into sections, then broken those section downs into individual episodes, my goal for each episode being about 1,000 words. I can write 1,000 words before work each day. So each week, I can write 5,000 words. In 10 weeks, I can write the first draft of my debut novel. And I am. By this time Friday, I'll be half-way done. And I'm loving it. Really enjoying the experience. And Nightlights is completely its own thing and I'm letting it be that. I should be done with my first draft by mid-November, and then I plan to give myself the next 2-3 months reviewing and editing it, then I'm going to stick it out there and let it be.

I've been listening to a lot of self-publishing podcasts the last year or so too. As with screenwriting, there's certain advice on how you're supposed to do these things. All good to know, but for Cow Boy and Nightlights I'm just doing what I want. Cow Boy is done, so it needs to get out there. Nightlights is so intensely personal and has been on my mind for so long, I just need to get it out of my head in order to move on and properly focus on something else. So if I put it out there, I can't go back. I have to go forwards.

The conventional advice of these podcasts, if you want to make any money at all in self-publishing, is to write a series of books. I never thought that would be something I could do, but over the past few months one of my ideas has evolved into something which could reasonably shoulder the scope of a trilogy. Some of you might remember I tried and failed to write a novel called Vs a year or so ago, publishing a chapter a month. Well, I tried to walk before I could crawl. I had a great opening scene and general idea for the story, but no concrete idea of how things would unfold. I have a much better idea now, and even how the story of the first book could be extended into a concept that would support three books. I'm still fleshing it all out, but that's my hot new idea once Nightlights is done and dusted. I'm going to work on Vs next and get all three books written before I start putting them out there, and test out these self-publishing best practices I keep hearing about. See if they really work. But writing series is not something I intend to continue with, I have plenty of much smaller ideas that I hope to get out of my head too.

In short, I'm enjoying writing again, and actually finishing stuff, and putting it out there. Now I just hope that the stuff I write finds some people who like it, and even if it just stays a hobby and pays for itself, well at least that's something and I can point to my books and say I accomplished something.


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