Now is one of those times.
I haven’t posted to this blog since January. I have no excuse. I’m just discouraged.
While there is a lot going on, it’s the writing that’s the thing that really gets me down. I promised myself a look at new “how to organise writing” books. Before March. I’ve found a winner: Story Genius, by Lisa Cron. My son has seized on it and is having a great burst of productivity. I’ve started using it, and while I’m making some progress—it’s very hard to put aside all I’ve written for Episode Two of my series and start with creating my “blueprint”, as Ms. Cron refers to it. Hard, but necessary. This is the first book I’ve found that puts story organisation into terms that even an engineer can understand. Nothing is by rote; there are no shortcuts. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a description of exactly what backstory is needed for a novel and in how much detail—in terms that make sense. Other guides I’ve read did discuss backstory, but left “how much and what” at “just enough and only what you need” without defining the terms “just enough” and “only what you need.” Ms. Cron defines her terms and explains why her definitions work.
Even better, they make sense in terms of the empirical learning I’ve done over the last eleven years in NaNoWriMo. I’d write something, look at it, and say, “Nope. Not a good story.” Next year, “Not that one, either.” In Camp NaNoWriMo, “Still not story…” When I finally had something (The Bully Trap) that looked like a story, I published it. I’m glad to see that according to Ms. Cron I was right.
The good news is that I have a lot of this background stuff already written down. The bad news is that I need to flesh it out and organise it differently. (There’s also stuff I need not have written yet. Pooh.) And yes, there are large sections of backstory that I still need to write. They’re in my head, but as I’ve already complained, they do me little good there. A novel is too blasted big for that, let alone a series.
Foo. You mean there’s no magic button that will take the beautiful story in my head and put it into Scrivener for me in a form that readers will love—without me having to work, and work hard? Now, that’s discouraging. But it looks like there’s no help for it. I suppose I had best get on with it, then.