I start with getting in the right mindset. It's hard when you've got another story and characters so prominent in your mind (The Ending Series). So, wading around in my ideas, sketching and observing while watching a show or movie sometimes helps inspire me to get into the "New Story" frame of mind. Thus, the birth of my new story notebook. While "Reilly" is only my working title, it's the only title I have right now, so...
|"Reilly" Story Notebook|
Reilly was the original title for the story I wrote when I was in high school. At the time, I deemed it a masterpiece and marked it "completed". Now that I'm older and have written a book or two, I've learned a thing or two that was glaringly wrong in my old Reilly manuscript:
- A story with only 20,000 words isn't a novel, but a short story or novella.
- Although I want my stories to be riddled with emotion, they've got to have a happy ending - otherwise I'm depressed writing the damn thing. So the originally Reilly story is getting a major face lift and rework, hopefully leaving plenty of grit and emotion in the mix while providing an ending that is satisfying to me and readers.
- I've got to develop my characters more, hence the extensive outlining process below.
Key issues I've had while working on "Reilly":
- Getting out of my own head. Just because I wrote a certain story line fifteen years ago, doesn't mean it's good or that I have to stick with it. As much as I know that, it's hard to work through something that's so solidified and concrete in my mind. no matter how horrible parts of it is.
- Writing is a courtship, not a marriage. Things change, ideas come up, and characters take the story where they want to. Wait until you're finished or 100% certain of something before you decide to commit, it will make everything so much easier.
- Keep exploring cover ideas and title ideas and series ideas, write them down, run with them, do whatever is needed in order to stay inspired and keep the creative juices flowing.
|Ideas, characters strengths and weaknesses, etc.|
When the Muse is a no show
In my world, libation equals creation. There's no better way to free your mind than a glass (or two) of wine. It may sound silly, but there's something to be said for getting out of your own head and letting your mind wander, most often stumbling across something magical that would've otherwise remained uncovered.
|Fancy Pants, I show that story who's boss...|
This is a long process with lots of twists and turns, revisions and road blocks. I've spent a solid two months developing my characters, exploring the story, bouncing ideas off friends, all so I could get a solid outline. Let's be honest, outlining is a great intention to have, but things always change as I mentioned above. So, use it as a guide, but don't resist the desire to explore or take another, unexpected road.
|Extended Outline - Chapters, setting, characters and notes|
So, obviously there is much to learn when writing a novel by yourself. It's strange how different it is than writing a book with someone else. There are many elements that are very much the same, like brainstorming with friends, deciding what actions and situations are best suited for your characters, while others aspects are completely different, i.e. coming up with your own story line, deciding where you want to take the story, with the help of your characters, of course. Either way, it's the life of a writer, and I'm only beginning to scratch the surface.
I'll be posting my character story boards and character explorations next. Stay tuned!
If you're interested in my writing progress and other news, you can find me here: