#BeingBuddy: Writing Journey Update – Outlining

This has been a very good week for me.

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, I’ve been making a very loose outline of what I want my first book to include and exclude. Part of how I’ve done it is that I made a long list of things that I tend to like and dislike in stories.

skeletonFrom there, I took the things I liked most and then made another list that was kind of a skeletal outline for a story. It didn’t go into creating detailed characters or a detailed plot, but it gave me an idea of what I wanted my own story to look like and it gave me a structure to build the story around.

For an example of what I mean, let’s pretend that I made a list of things that I liked and it would later result in the story of the first Star Wars movie. However, my loose outline is so loose that it first looks something like this:

– Main character (MC) is young and naive, yet is a likeable underdog.

–  MC strongly desires to have big adventures, but is stuck in a life that he feels is holding him back.

–  A tragedy occurs and it instantly changes his life, forcing him to face big challenges.

– With the new challenges come new friends, romance, and an evil enemy.

– He overcomes the challenges, defeats the enemy, and becomes the hero that he always wanted to be.

Very vague, right? But something like this could turn into Star Wars. Actually, the above “bones” of my skeletal outline add up to the basic structure for a lot of different movies and books.

The trick, of course, is in filling in those blanks with great characters, settings, a detailed plot, etc. But that comes later.

So, I came up with my own skeletal outline and then let it sit for awhile. As more ideas (bones) came to me, I added them to the outline (skeleton.) Then it wasn’t long before I started getting more detailed visions about who the characters would be and what exactly the plot would be.

I was able to fill in the blanks. Now I know where I’m headed next with this story and I’m very excited about writing it.

So, what is it going to be about?  Well, I’ve decided to currently keep that a secret. I’m not even going to say which genre the story is. My work in process will be totally Top Secret for a little while.

TopSecret.jpg

Ooh, my wife just came up with a great idea. She suggested that until I’m ready to share exactly what my book is, I could refer to it as my #TopSecretWIP.

Oh, yeah. I like that a lot.

So, I am off now to listen to some music and get back to work on my novel. I’ll be back soon and will continue sharing how it’s going with my #TopSecretWIP.

If you’re writing, then I wish you Happy Writing. If you’re not writing…well, be happy doing whatever you’re doing.

See you around…

 

 

 

 

#BeingBuddy: Finding Fun Ways to Shine

My wonderful wife Lisa and I were talking the other day about creativity. As writers, we both know how it feels to be in The Writing Zone, that magical time while writing when you tap into something deep inside of yourself and create art with it.

It’s a pretty wonderful feeling.

We also talked about how I’ve struggled on some days lately with getting started on various writing projects. It’s not that I’ve had writer’s block exactly, but something has been holding me back. Lisa suggested that I try tapping into my creativity by doing some different things like coloring or drawing.

That sounded like a good idea to me and I figured I’d give it a go this morning. My first thought was to draw, but I couldn’t decide what to draw. I’m not the world’s greatest artist, but I have fun with it.

Here’s one that I did last year:

manonfire

I’ve never been sure what to call this one, but I think I’m going to go with GREEN JESUS, THE BLUE MOUSE, AND TWO GUYS WITH BIG PROBLEMS.

So, instead of drawing this morning, I decided to color instead. Lisa has several awesome coloring books and I grabbed one and a bunch of crayons and sat down to color.

I put on some music by The Monkees and I colored for over an hour. And you know what? I had a fantastic time! I came up with my own “vision” of what I wanted it to look like and I ended up being very happy with the results.

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And that’s what I did. Whatever my own personal inner light is, I let it shine here. I had fun and I really feel like I tapped into something inside of me and made my own unique art.

There are probably several thousand people in the world with the same coloring book who colored into the same picture that I did, but I bet that none of them did it 100% exactly like I did.

What I created is mine.

So, I’m going to make this a regular thing, not just on days when I’m not writing. For anyone who feels like being creative and having some fun, I suggest giving it a try.

Get some crayons and let your own inner light shine.

#BeingBuddy: What I want my first novel to be

Welcome to my first posting of Being Buddy. I’ll be sharing my journey here.

First up…Don’t Stop Believin!

But seriously…this is where I’ll be sharing my personal journeys as both a writer and as a person. What I’m going through both professionally and personally.

First up, I’d like to talk about what’s going on with my writing journey. As a lot of you know, I’m a fiction writer. As of this writing, all of my fiction works have been either short stories or flash fictions that I’ve shared online.

My main current writing goal is to develop and write my first novel. I’ve struggled a little bit with what exactly I’ve wanted my first novel to be. Many of you have heard me talk about various projects that I’ve been working on for the past few years, yet none have been published…or even totally completed.

Why has that happened, huh?

Well, my biggest realization lately has been that I’ve written quite a few things that probably wouldn’t appeal to me very much as a reader. For example, I had what I thought was a very good idea for a novella about zombies. I wrote a good chunk of it and was happy with what I wrote, but it wasn’t knocking me out the way I hoped it would.

Could it be because zombie stories are something that I can appreciate and even like, but I don’t normally love them?

Probably, huh?

The same thing happened to me with a vampire novel I was writing. What I wrote was good, but I didn’t love it. I’ll probably go back at some point and finish both of those books, but right now just doesn’t seem to be the right time for me to write them.

I want my first novel to be something that knocks me out. Something that I would go nuts over as a reader.

So, what will be right for me? How will I figure it out what I want it to be?

What I’ve been doing the last few days is coming up with a very, very loose outline that contains different story elements that I normally like. For example, I tend to love stories about underdog characters who are facing some sort of big challenge that most people would expect them to fail at, yet these characters have something special inside of them, something that will help them face the challenge and win.

So I put the above into my loose outline. I also included what I like about character romances and what I like about antagonists in stories. And so on with other things I like.

I also went the other way and wrote down things that I specifically don’t like in stories so that I’ll be sure to not include them in my own story. For example, I often get annoyed by supposedly clever or witty character names, like Justin Case. Names like that make me want to throw a book across the room.

Seeing this sort of thing in my outline will keep me in check. Coming up with a “clever” or “witty” character name would be easy and give me a good chuckle, but ultimately I would be mad at myself for having done it.

So, I wrote down all my likes and my dislikes and looked hard at them.

Then I started filling in the blanks a little bit. I’ve now got a few ideas for main characters. I’ve got some ideas of good challenges for them to face.

I’ve got some great ideas now for my first book. Most importantly, I’ve got some ideas that I’m very excited about. I know I’m going to write a book with the kinds of characters and plot that I enjoy the most.

I’m on my way and I’m happy about it.