The Cycle Continues


I’m back at the beginning, sitting here with an empty Word document, a pile of half-baked ideas scribbled on notepads and index cards, and an empty mind. I thought that after having written one book it would be easy to start the next. I was wrong. The truth is, the last time I started a novel was three years ago, and it was in a very structured, guided environment. This time it’s just me, my computer, and the seeming swirling abyss that is my mind.

Plotting. It’s an exciting, yet painful process for me. Actually, it’s also painful for anyone who comes within a ten-foot radius of me while I’m doing it. I have a tendency to stop in mid-thought and say to whoever is in my line of fire, “What if…?” and then proceed to rant for up to fifteen full minutes. The What If game nearly drove The Architect to madness the last time I started a novel. This time seems as if it will be no different. I think it’s crucial for me to have a living, breathing backboard to bounce my ideas off of–even if I get only a confused stare as a response. There’s something about vocalizing ideas to prove how good–or, as is most often the case when I’m brainstorming, how utterly stupid–they are.

Since I’m so befuddled by this process, my next step should logically be to review my notes from the workshop that helped generate Resonance and see what it was we did first. The process obviously worked for me, so there’s no reason for the result to be any different, now. Maybe it will be the kick in the pants I seem to be so desperately needing.

I still find it odd that I can’t remember what we did in that class. As I said, it was three years ago, but at the time the information seemed monumental enough that I felt I’d never forget it. Then again, I once felt that way about cursive. Ask me to make a ‘Z’ in cursive now and you’ll get one of those blank looks I’m so fond of generating on the faces of others. I suppose new information has driven out the old, or at least forced it to retreat into a dusty filing cabinet somewhere deep inside my brain and thrown away the key.

Today is Lughnasadh, the harvest festival of the Celtic god, Lugh. He’s the patron god of all crafts, including poetry and writing. He’s the one to petition for advancement of one’s skills, to beseech for inspiration in one’s craft. So, despite my sluggishness of thought, I guess it makes today a pretty good day to be starting over.

About Avery

I am a roller derbying, dark fantasy author. This blog chronicles my adventures in life, writing and skating. View all posts by Avery

5 responses to “The Cycle Continues

  • avery

    Steve, I look forward to reading more about McKee’s method. Thanks.

  • Steve Malley

    Robert mcKee advocates something similar: boiling your basic plot down to a five minute pitch and delivering it orally to a few close friends. This is before starting any real work (beyond the plotting, of course).His reasoning: You’ll only live so long/write so much. You’ll have many more ideas than time permits. Only write the ones that excite your potential audience.I’ll try to post on his method in the next couple days…

  • avery

    Kate — You’re right, sometimes just a change of thought or daily pattern can yield the best results. I hope that’s the case with your short stories.Charles — Like I said, there’s just something about hearing my ideas out loud that solidifies them in my head. Only when I do that can I see the potential plot holes or complications that particular path the story might lead me into. For whatever reason, that early warning system doesn’t happen for me if I stick to pen and paper.

  • Charles Gramlich

    Ah, a moment of both exhiliration and terror. Good luck. I think the idea of talking yourself through the initial steps by bouncing ideas off of someone else is a good one.Yeah, it’s amazing how easily our memories become vague of things we thought we’d never forget.

  • Kate S

    Good luck, Avery. Hey, I didn’t even realize the date, but I’ve given myself permission to write short stories for a couple of weeks just to ease into some larger things, so maybe the timing is right. :)Sometimes just the act of doing that helps generate ideas, and gets me going again. I’ve seen some calls from various publishers for short stories in areas I’ve never attempted, and I find that challenge to be a good starting place.Regardless, hope you find your pace and place soon.🙂

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