Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Separating Inspiration and Story

This blog post is going to be a little more focused on writing and comes from a story I recently received some critiques on and I can see a problem is that I was so wrapped up in the inspiration from where the story came from that I couldn't see that the story would do better without the beginning that inspired it and focusing on what came from that story.

This is something I can see in my other writing as well. Largely this comes from the fact that I do my writing as a discovery writer so I only have a vague idea of what I want to write and let things flow from there. A lot of my stories just start from one idea and can move in ways that move quite far from there and result in what I started writing being irrelevant to what develops.

The problem comes from my inability to realize that the inspiration may not be as important to the story as what I've created from that idea. I wrote a dystopic story which stemmed from some commentator on ESPN calling MMA modern day gladiator fights. Which I disagree with, but I took the idea of a society that brings back gladiator battles and used that to create a story. In the end the gladiator fights don't really matter, but they are in the story. Thanks to the feedback on my more recent story it's shed light on the fact that I could lose the gladiator fights, even though I use it as a set piece.

It becomes a case of killing your darlings and in a less obvious way to me. Something about losing the inspiration for a story seems more painful and less obvious than conversations that are amusing, but don't move the story anywhere, which are much more obvious story killers for me to notice than anything else. So hopefully I'll be able to keep this in mind in the future and if you're reading this you'll pay attention to that idea as well.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


For the majority of my life I've never understood the need people always place on setting goals and accomplishing them, but really that's because school set my goals for me. Since I've graduated college I don't have do well in class and graduate as goals and actually need to set something concrete to accomplish or I'm content to play video games and keep the job I don't like. So this year I'm going to get shit done and set goals to accomplish so I actually do them.

1. Write a short story a month.
I'm not talking really short stories, but something in the area of 20k words or so. That will become tougher as I start revising stories while writing new ones, but as I get into the habit of writing it should be easier for me to sit down and write and pump out words.

2. Start self-publishing on Amazon.
Along with getting into the habit of pumping out short stories I want to publish those with Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) although I'm actually just guessing what those letters stand for, but short stories of the longer length I want to write don't have a real target way to get published so this seems like a good way to sell them at least to me. Plus it will force me to revise things I write instead of just writing them and leaving them sitting around.

3. Get published.
I will write short stories that can qualify for publication and I want to work on that and actually get something published. Plus once I get published as an author I can start calling myself a professional writer which would be cool.

4. Complete NaNoWriMo.
I've tried it the past two years and failed. Partially because of poor planning, and partially because the new Call of Duty game always comes out that month. This year I want to have a plan and build the world I'm going to write in before I get into it and have a plan and execute it.

All my goals are writing related and while I would prefer a new job than the one I have currently and to improve other things. Concentrating on my writing is something I really feel the need to do and give writing a chance to be my profession and the way I make money for a living. Thankfully the job I have right now is one where it's easy to leave work at work and do some writing when I'm off. And I have enough free time to play video games, watch tv/movies, and still get writing in every day. So this is the year I become a writer and see where it can take me.