I still haven’t entirely figured out what I want to use this website for, aside from almost a journal for myself… What irony — actually using a blog as a personal journal? In 2017?
So I set out to make a to-do list of things I wanted to accomplish writing wise. Some are huge, like “Finish writing Novel 2.” Some are small like, “Go through the pile of writing notes and organize them.”
I’ve made a surprising amount of progress in a very short amount of time.
In the last week, I went through a massive pile of notes and organized and typed them up. The pile came from working overnights and making small notes whenever I thought about anything story related. I was working at the State Hospital and spent a lot of time on one on ones writing. I had no idea just how much I wrote there. I found I literally have a scene by scene outline for a cozy mystery now. I found a lot of notes for the second book in the Zero trilogy. I found notes for looking for other jobs or careers I was thinking about. It was almost like a weird writing capsule… from six months ago.
This last part is what interests me so much. I knew I have a lot of ideas and that I flesh out a lot of characters I never really put any where or short stories that I start and don’t finish, but I had no idea just how many there were until going through this pile of papers.
One of my other goals was to take a short story that I started almost ten years ago and rewrite it and hopefully submit it. As I said, I go through a ton of story ideas, so most of the time, I just don’t care about one once it’s not working. In this particular case, throughout all these years, this story and these characters have come back to me and continued to gnaw at me. There was something about the story that didn’t work, but something about it I just couldn’t let go of either.
Three nights ago, I pulled it out of an old email and set to work on it. I rewrote literally every single line of the story; basically using the old draft as a summary (that was 2,000 words longer than the new version). I finished it the first night and felt okay about it. I went to bed. When I woke, I set to editing it. As I did, I was plagued by the ending and I said, “This character would never do this. She’d do THIS.” and instantly my entire ending changed. I quickly rewrote the last 1/4 of the story and now I’m more in love with it than ever.
I sent it to my beta reader who tells me how much I don’t understand guns and fixes all the dumb gun things I write and he said, “The last 1/2 of the story flows really well!” That’s when I knew I was on to something.
After a couple more rewrites, it’s a lot tighter and better than it’s ever been. I feel I’m finally giving these characters the send off they deserved ten years ago when I was incapable of making the decision that had to be made. I’ll sit on the story for a couple weeks while the beta readers rip it apart and then work on it again, but the simple fact is that I’m writing, editing, and bringing life to characters who clearly needed their story told.
Another goal I set out was to finally work on my shit-tastic comic strip Fluffy and Bob. When I was in high school, I had two goldfish who lived in my locker. Surprise, their names were Fluffy and Bob. I wrote a lot about their adventures, etc, but never had an artist to make the comic for me. Well, I decided this week I could be my own artist. I don’t really care how good the art is. It’s more for me than anyone, so it doesn’t matter anyway. So I’ve been learning to draw fish this week. I literally made one with a clown face. He’s a clownfish.
Another comic I always wanted to make was one I wrote out called Walter and Kenny. The problem there is every human I draw comes out looking like a Simpsons’ knockoff. So maybe we’ll work on that after the fish.
There’s a lot more on my list, but the simple fact is that I’m focused, working on it, and making progress, which is much more than I can say for the months since I finished the rewrite of Zero. I just have to continue on this path.