It was good to declare Epic Failure a few months ago. It kind of cleared the air for me. A lot has happened since then. I’ve never been fond of “Outlining” creative writing, but I finally gave in and basically followed a simple program for getting the story laid out. Since then, I’ve been writing with ease. Well, the stuff I’m writing is not anything that would pass for “literary” but it is on the way of becoming a full first draft. I’ve completed four of the twelve chapters I’ve outlined, about 17,000 words.
I’ve developed a rather sophisticated system for developing characters. One thing I’ve done that works very well for me, I’ve used Google Images to find photos of people who might look like my characters. This has been very helpful. I also have created an inventory of composite characters to draw from. Also, I’ve added a lot of depth to the settings. And, the research folders continue to grow.
Regardless of all the organization and research, the writing is going well. However, the writing is exhausting. I can’t force myself to write straight on through the first draft. As I develop the story and characters, I find it’s necessary to make corrections before early mistakes or baggage gets too embedded in the tale. Nonetheless, of late I’ve been averaging a 3,000 words a sitting.
The writing process isn’t a comfortable thing for me. When the writing is going well I find myself becoming obsessed with the work. I’ve come to believe that writing a story puts a toll on my well being. The deeper I go, the more it feels like a mental illness or something. Being aware of this mental stress, I’ve been taking breaks and just let everything settle.
A couple of my real life friends have been reading my first draft material, and this has given me a lot of good feedback — and encouragement. More to come.