NaNo ’16: The Snowflake

Before we get into it, I’d like to say that the main reason for this blog is not to show off my work (after all, most work I’m hoping I can use to make money sometime down the line), but instead to help inspire people being stuck in the same hole of creative meh-ness I often find myself in. Going over my own creative processes, showing some insight into my routines and attempts at them, might just help someone else to get going themselves.

Ever heard of the snowflake method?

It’s that thing you do to start building your story, the narrative, a character or more, history, whatever. You start with simple bullet points of whatever tickles your fancy. Then you go into each point and add some details. Then you add more details to each detail.

And so on.

And so forth.

Called snowflake for the obvious reason of the structure just spreading out and forming like a snowflake would from such a simple a beginning.

Maybe I got that wrong. I read about that in a self-help how-to-be-a-writer books. And that’s how I remember it working. Not like there’s one true way of how to build a story.

Usually, I am what they call a pantser. A type of writer that just jumps in and starts writing. However, as I’ve been whining about for a while now, I don’t really have much of a jumping-off point. So, maybe I need to be a bit more focused.

Last year I started NaNo by using a short I posted here, called The Drop. I wanted that piece of fiction to be my first chapter. Then, I sort of outlined the rest of Part 1 (which was Act 1 of the narrative), which I then wrote on day 1 of NaNo (just over 10,000 words). Which proofs that preparation really does work.

Holy shit!

Which is why I’m going down that road, again.Read More »

NaNo ’16: The What and How

Since I’m currently set on trying my luck on the Dark Fantasy idea following the misadventures of the undead warrior Áleifr, I started to think a little about just what I’m trying to do with that idea.

Truth be told: I’m not looking into writing a stand-alone novel this time around. For a while now, whenever the Dark Fantasy idea came to mind, I was more leaning towards writing a string of short stories, perhaps a few novella-length pieces, or even some shorter flash fiction. So, chances are that his is what will happen during NaNo this year. Which, of course, is no biggie, since we only concern ourselves with the daily word count, not how we get there day after day. I don’t assume each and every story will be finished during the month of November, but, maybe, enough will come together to form a solid base for future development into this fantasy universe.

One potential benefit I see is the fact that I can just leave one story alone and work on a different one altogether, should I ever get stuck. I did that with scenes during last year’s NaNo, but being able to just pick up a completely different set of concepts and circumstances might just be refreshing enough to learn more about what I’m trying to do in the bigger picture–which, in turn, can help getting over whatever got me stuck in the first place.

To that end, I was looking at a few possible story hooks, titles for inspiration, rough pitches, and so on. So, follow me down that rabbit hole, if you will. Note that these are just rough ideas, some of which I came up with as I was writing this post.

(Potential Spoilers incoming.)Read More »

I don’t know what happens next, but the stuff after that rocks!

The title. Right there, it sums up everything I’m feeling about my NaNoWriMo story.

I began part 3 in an interesting way. It’s just a piece of monologue from what could be considered a bad guy. The main character can hear him, but is paralyzed, which is also established in that monologue. At the end of that scene, a big twist.

And then it all just sucks. 3000, 4000 words of blah blah blah that just doesn’t feel good. I sort of kind of know what I want, but don’t know how to get there.

What I am sure off is what comes after all of that.

So, for the first time in my NaNoWriMo project, I need to skip a few scenes. Up until now, I was able to just keep on keeping on. Scene after scene, I managed to follow the narrative in a straight line. But now I need to take a leap of faith, skip some things, and write what I already know comes next.

Hopefully, this will illuminate the missing links. Somehow, what happens next after next will give insights into what happened before in better detail.

Anybody else having to do this?

Behind The Scenes (Before) Act 2 Scene 12 (The Honeymoon)

Previously, the story ended with a cliffhanger. Did Sarah shoot Mitch? What happened to Nathan?

Not much left to do in the narrative but to wrap it up with one last scene. Sarah’s scene. I have thought about different ways to make this last one special in some way. For example, instead of drawing a random card, I was thinking about adding up the numbers of all the previous cards (including repeats), and getting the average number from that (which rounds up to 12), using that card for this scene. Sort of seeing where all the cards so far would have me end up.

Doing that, I got card #12 — Stack Of Needles. The card wants me to overwhelm the hero with too much. I liked that idea. But just for the hell of it, I also drew a random card.

And ended up going with it, instead:Read More »