Are you tired yet of hearing about my fiction writing? It’s pretty much all I think about nowadays. It’s what I work on as soon as I wake up. It’s about half of what I text Andrew about throughout the day. It’s how I am scheduling not only my days, but my weeks and years.
This month fiction writing is ESPECIALLY on the brain because I am watching/taking part in Fiction Unboxed.
Fiction Unboxed is basically a live online workshop. But instead of going through educational materials, we are watching story meetings, reading every email exchange and discussing writing from 2 full-time, collaborating writers who are writing an entire book (from idea to publication) in June.
It’s super inspiring, and pretty intense.
I have been toying with the idea of pursuing fiction writing for a couple years, and these guys (Johnny, Sean and Dave from the Self-Publishing Podcast) have really showed me what is possible. Which is why I was happy to give them my money for this, even if I didn’t get anything out of it.
But (*spoiler*) I totally am.
Things I’m learning:
I would be well served to talk over story ideas with someone. Andrew is 100% on board for this – WHEN HE HAS TIME. Which is rarely. I almost want to just find a brainstorming partner, but A) it would be *hard* to find someone that has enough in common with the way I think and B ) I need to gear up and be BRAVE
I need to spend more time on my outlining and planning. Sean writes REALLY thorough chapter-summaries (they call them “beats”) which Johnny than takes and turns into full prose. Admittedly, I’ve only actually tried writing a novel a small handful of times, but my chapter summaries were … about a sentence, with a couple extra keywords jotted down to jog my memory. I was hit with a book/series idea over the weekend and have written about 1000 words of “beats” so far. I think this will work well. I’ll report back after I write that 1st draft.
I actually CAN write fantasy. I have not actually written much yet, but the book that the guys are writing is set in an alternate timeline with some pretty unreal aspects, and I am totally immersed. They will be opening up the world for other writers to contribute in, and I already have a short story idea and the bones of a novel idea. I genuinely never thought my brain would come up with anything other than quiet character dramas/realistic/literary fiction. But now I have ideas! I love ideas, even if nothing ever comes of them.
I just need to DO it. I kept making excuses why I don’t get my words done every day. Oh, Fang was sick. Oh, I was out of the house running errands all morning. Oh, I had to return a bunch of emails for Maggie. But this month has felt like I have a whole ton of accountability partners poking at me and needling me and I have met my daily word count every day this month so far (even though the other writers are doing nothing of the sort).
I am lucky to be a good editor. Yes, I am comparing myself to these writers’ edits, but even more so I have been privy to dozens of conversations between writers in the forums and in the Google+ community and the more I learn about other writers the more I see that editing is not something everyone can do. I really enjoy editing fiction, and have a couple indie author clients lined up as a result of being part of this group.
So every day this month I get to dive into so someone else’s rough drafts, edits, character sketches, story meetings and so much more. They did a 2 hour Q&A on Saturday and are totally dedicated to making this awesome for those of us watching.
In fact, over the weekend, I got a new idea for a whole book series and Andrew says it’s my best idea yet. “Hanging out” with creative people on a daily basis is certainly doing something!
P.S. Reading The Creative Habit along with Fiction Unboxed is simply providential.
P.P.S. If you are interested in following along, I don’t think it is too late. Check out this page for details and registration. It’s only day 10 so you can definitely catch up.
P.P.P.S. The novel that they’re writing is really good so far. Bonus.