2020: Year of the Novel

I’m back!

It’s a new year and I’m here to celebrate it about a month and a half late. School has been taking over my life, and my writing has grabbed the rest of the time, but it’s time to get this show back on the road. Anyway, welcome to 2020.

Let’s get a book written.

First thing’s first: updates

So in between my last blog post and this one, I made the incredibly painful, yet freeing decision to shelve my novel of four years and move on. I might come back, eventually, but I needed something to work on, and it’s been very good for both me and my writing.

What that means is that I began a new novel to obsess over! For us, that means that we have a new book to dissect.

The new project is tentatively titled ‘Paradigm’s Edge,’ and is a cyberpunk story, which is a refreshing break from the previous fantasy novel. We’re going to rip and tear this thing apart until it gets published or I get bored again.

I’m currently 25k words in, which isn’t bad for a month and a half of writing, but while starting this project in early January, I had to ask myself:

What in God’s name am I doing?

You see, I had just read Blake Snyder’s famous book ‘Save the Cat,’ which had inspired me to plot out this baby instead of writing with a plot blindfold on. So I did. Sort of.

It turns out I’m not nearly as good at plotting as going crazy on the page, which is where most of my inspiration stems from. I can’t just sit down and figure out a story. I had a pretty solid framework, sure, but I couldn’t do a chapter by chapter bullet point of what was going to happen. Heck, I can’t even plan out a blog post. I felt like I was doing something wrong.

I had Snyder’s emotional beats, but I couldn’t go nearly as deep as he suggested. I felt terrible about it. How was I supposed to continue if I didn’t know what was going to happen next? If I didn’t want to know what happened next?

It turned out that I was a gardener.

Generally speaking there is a spectrum that most writers fall on, either landing towards the heavy plotting side or the spontaneous ‘by the seat of their pants’ side. These two sides are known as ‘plotter’ and ‘pantser,’ respectively, though I prefer George R.R. Martin’s terminology of ‘architect’ and ‘gardener.’ I seem to fall towards the gardener side of things, having a hard time plotting and doing better when I’m not really sure where the story is going to go. I just want to say, if you do this, it’s perfectly fine! Stephen King does this, so you know it’s a valid way to do things.

If you are a plotter on the other hand, this probably sounds awful. You prefer to have things all set out before hand, which is great. You know exactly how to get from point A to point B. That means less times in rewrites. This is more along the lines of what Brandon Sanderson does.

In the end, it all depends on who you are. What kind of writer are you? Experiment, try out new things, and find your rhythm. You’ll be a lot happier then.

I’ll be posting more soon. See you then, and Happy New Year in Internet Explorer Time.

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