As It Turned Out…
Who likes being humiliated?
Well…except for that way.
I mean about writing.
In January, I finished my first, ever, complete, novel. Doing what everyone said to do, I stuffed it in a drawer to let it age.
Then what? Well, I did housework, laundry, sewed buttons on his shirt and other, more fun, wifey stuff.
What I needed was a new project. I had a head filled with ‘how to write’ stuff, and I wanted to try it out. I was particularly fascinated with Blake Snyder’s Save The Cat, and his fifteen beats. If you don’t know what those are, and have any thoughts of being a serious fiction writer, that book is an absolute must.
Once, long ago, when I was more into role-playing, I wrote stories on one of those sites. They weren’t very good. And I felt like I wasted my imagination on them. They deserved better. So, I decided to take one of them, grow it from 1,500 words to 6,000 words, and apply the Three Act structure with all Snyder’s beats to it. I finished it as Tavern Girl, and posted it here on WordPress. Maybe four people read it.
In the mean time, to broaden my horizons, I joined several other sites, including Scribophile. Scribophile encourages critiques of, mostly, fiction, I decided to submit Tavern Girl and see what they thought. I got ready to post it, but still needed a summary. Somewhere on that site, I learned about loglines. Twenty-seven words can describe any fiction story. Since I wanted a good one, I submitted my best effort at a logline for Tavern Girl:
When a stranger asks questions about her past, a slave girl, must escape with her friend, but discovers her Master means to sell her, ending hope of freedom.
Over the course of three days, with two very patient ladies, I learned more about my story than I could believe. After I got past the part about not knowing what my story really was, I bounced idea after idea off them. They told me exactly what they thought, in a loving way. One of them even told me I would bring down the wrath of the bra burning feminists if I followed one idea, and asked me if I really meant to do that. Well…not so much. Besides, I don’t want to sag when…never mind.
At some point, Friday night, in fact, I got so excited I couldn’t sleep. I eased out of bed because I knew what would happen if I woke him up. And I sat down and started thinking about the story. It wasn’t just a story.
It could be a series.
Remember, I started out with a 6,000 word short story. Actually, I started out with 1,500 words that told a story very poorly. Then I grew it to 6,000 words that just lay there, doing nothing. After Lola and Dahlia got done with me, I had the idea for three books. What’s more, I have the middle half of the second book pretty well figured out, except that I won’t by the time I get back to it.
How crazy is that?
I will post the outline, someday. I want to go through the spin cycle on Scribophile again.
Moral One – Never again will I ever dream a first draft is the best I can do. Nor it is good enough to inflict on a reader. The story, the reader, and I all deserve better.
Moral Two – I can improve any idea, if I take the time to brainstorm it with non-judgmental people. Lola and Dahlia were wonderful. I promised each of them 100% of the movie royalties, inspired by The Producers.
Moral Three – I really can come up with original ideas that excite me, and others. There is actually something inside me that I can share with others, and they might be entertained.