Monday, July 12, 2010

On psychflares and evaluation

So, to the imaginary population of people who read this blog regularly and expect something to show up on Wednesday, let me disabuse you of that notion quick. As I've noticed lately, my once-a-week schedule was too optimistic. Mostly, I expected that every so often I'd have some of the "easy" stories to write so I could buy time for the harder ones. As it turns out, almost all the stories lately belong to the latter category. I could work harder to get stuff on time, but there's two problems:

One, I need ideas to write. Not basic ideas, the ones I base the stories on, those I have plenty, but the details, the stuff that makes it a story and not me yelling, "Look, Yog-Sothoth and Jesus are having a conversation!". Sometimes, all I need to get those is writing, the plot sorts itself out and I know how the story ends and how I'm getting there. Lately, though, I need to stop and think and ponder and force some ideas to show themselves but it takes them too long and by the time I get them it's Monday and I have to finish in a rush and can't edit because I'm sick of this and I'm still working on the details which I could solve if I had more time but I don't and the story sucks! ... yeah, um, sorry about that sentence.

The second is what I touched upon on the last bit of that run-on sentence, if I focus more on arbitrary deadlines than writing passable stories, then all I have is crap. I want to improve myself as a writer, not become a machine that regularly pumps out mediocre crap. The world has enough of those. Besides, treating writing like it's a job isn't helping either. I just take it as a chore and avoid it. Killing my own motivation is not good.

So, I've come up with a new system. Since I don't want to go back to the old "write a few paragraphs and then forget about it" model that I had before the Psychflares, I'm still going to give myself some kind of schedule, making myself more aware how much time passes between writings. It just won't be a publishing schedule. So, from now on and until I figure out a better system, Monday is evaluation day. I'll look at my current work-in-progress and see what I have accomplished so far, what I want to hit in the future, what details and plot points I want to figure out, what I should edit, etc. Completed Psychflares will be published whenever they are deemed fit to see the world.

So, seeing as today's Monday...

Work-in-progress was supposed to be "Pythia", latest chapter in the Vurok City canon. Most of that is indeed so, with one small problem re: the name.
As I noticed yesterday, there is a character with that codename and similar powerset in the Whateleyverse. A very minor character, truth be told. She only gets mentioned in passing in two chapters of one story. Still, Vurok was born essentially from me reading Whateley and thinking "this is so damn awesome", as I've mentioned in the comments for Void. I want the universe to deviate itself from those roots, to become my own creation, not someone else's works with the serials filed off. And having a pseudo-precognitive esper telekinetic named the same as one of their precognitive esper telekinetics is not originality. So, yeah, Pythia is getting a name change. Or technically a codename change, I have no reason to change her as-of-yet-not-revealed birth name. The changes will be retroactive, so Void and Reflections will reflect the new name, whatever it is.

Getting past the title!
What I have written so far is a handful of sentences, dialogue with the soon-to-be-renamed protagonist and her boyfriend, about him not thinking things through. It's a decent start for the themes I want to set up in this story. Mostly, they relate to improvement of themselves, as a team and as individuals. New powers will be elaborated on, new characters may or may  not appear, a new niche for Void et al. as a gang of outlaws/paranormals that needs a certain stability will begin to be established. This is the basic stuff I want to touch upon. I already know one character who will make a brief but relevant appearance, and two others probably will too, but I'm not sure. One character may appear or be foreshadowed or jut be left for later, I'm not sure yet. I like her in concept, but there's polishing that needs to be done and I don't know if I'll have place for her right now. We'll see.

Plot-wise, I have very little. I know two events that will take place soon, both of them triggering some of the points above due to their conjunction, but both of them were set up during Void. The plot is very lacking in events unique to it that shape it. I won't really be able to get to them until I hit upon the first two and see were those lead me, but that doesn't stop me from running possible scenarios through my head.

So, what I have written: Almost nothing!
What I have thought out: A few generalities and themes, and two specific plot events.
What I need: A new title/codename, figuring out how the plot develops into the middle, how I want it to end, and which of the new characters gets an introduction. So, basically, everything.

So, let's hope this works out! And if not, I'll still persevere. I'm bound to find a system that works if I keep trying, staying motivated is the one trick to it. Well, maybe.

No comments:

Post a Comment