I love Sam and Dean, very much. But since the publisher doesn’t know me, they don’t want to look at my book. I’ve concluded I’ll need more credits to my name before I can get my foot into the door writing Supernatural novels. And likely an agent.
In the hopes of having something more with which to entice an agent, I’ve begun my next book. It’s currently titled “Reclamation”, and is a story about what happens after the zombie apocalypse is over. I love zombie stories because they frighten me, like actually frighten, as in give me nightmares and everything. But with the proliferation of zombie tales, I’ve begun to wonder just what happens after we’ve taken the planet back from the dead. Assuming we can. In order to explore that topic, I decided to write about it. Yet at its core, the story is about family, growing up, and finding your place in the world.
I’ve been rolling the story around for a while, but I was having trouble getting it going. I decided to age the main character up, so that I could relate to her better. That made a huge difference. Now I’ve got the characters mapped out, their individual journeys, and a three act outline (omg I used an outline!). I’m still having slight trouble opening the book, but now that I know the characters I think about them, who they are, and what they want. I can’t wait to write about them. One thing about the beginning is I can always rewrite it later. I just have to put something down, if nothing else as a placeholder.
Right here I was going to put a bit about things Stephen King wrote in “On Writing”. He’s my favorite author, as you may know, and a prolific and successful one at that. His advice in “On Writing” is sound. It’s probably the best memoir on the craft and one of the best advice books out there. But I completely misremembered his advice when it comes to plot, story, situations, and characters. So I’m not going to say what I was going to say. What I will say instead is if you are a writer and you haven’t read that book, do so immediately.
The other thing I will say is there is so much writing advice out there, it would be impossible to read it all in your lifetime, much less follow it all. Much of it is contradictory, some of it is nonsense, all of it is a matter of preference. Yes, there is an accepted way to do things, a way things are being done. They have not always been done that way, however, and anyone who tells you so is lying. Language and storytelling are constantly evolving. Doing things as they’ve always been done gets you what you’ve always got. There has to be some acceptable risk every now and again. My point being what I take from all these sources gets more weight depending on the source, then it gets dumped into the memory box, shaken, and sprinkled into the soupy mess that is my thoughts. Hopefully what that produces is palatable.
What I was going to say up there, though, must be something like my own thoughts. I enjoy a character driven story. A story that is not a story, so much as a journey for the character. It doesn’t have to be a literal journey, though it can be, but is always a journey from one state of mind to another. Also, I don’t want it spoon fed. I want to have to think as a reader, and as a writer I’d like to make you think. That way we can all accompany the characters on the journey as something of a participant, instead of just a viewer.
I’ve created these characters and I can’t wait to accompany them on this journey they’re undertaking. My outline is not rigid, and it will probably be more fluid than I think it will, but I have an emotional place I want them to come from and go to. Everything in between is window dressing.
I hope it’s enjoyable window dressing.
But most of all, I hope I don’t fall into that category of “bad writers”. I’m never positive about my place in the pyramid.