Monday, December 22, 2014

Finally Got Around to Typing Out My Idea File

First up, the Kickstarter for How to Live on Other Planets: A Handbook for Aspiring Aliens is up! With an initial goal of $100, it's really more of a pre-order than a crowd-funding effort, but that's how pre-orders are done these days. It contains my vintage story "Sea Changes," plus stories from Ken Liu, Tina Connolly, Benjamin Rosenbaum, Sarah Pinsker, and many more. Check it out!

Second of all, I finally did something I've been meaning to do for over a year now and typed out my idea file. While my short story ideas are numerous, somehow I always found myself reaching for them when it came time to sit down and write a story. My mind would go blank. I also had a hard time keeping all the different stories in my head and would find myself forgetting what story I was working on halfway through it and stalling out on the end. Or adding another end that belonged to a different story. Everything just kinda mashed together in my head, and while that idea soup can sometimes lead to a great story, more often it just leads to... soup. Undelicious, confusing soup.

I have a deep-seated aversion to outlining. Because where you have outlining you have things like character sheets and timelines and world maps and pretty soon, you've written an encyclopedia about your book or story before you've even written the story. Nobody has time for that! Never mind that it would probably make my job a lot easier to meticulously outline everything, it would take away a lot of the fun of writing for me.

The "idea clips" are not outlines. They are capsule descriptions similar to a Locus review but with endings and without Lois Tilton's awesome, scathing commentary. (I add that part myself, in my head, when the story's done.) They are approximately 400 words each, and so far I have eleven of them. I hope to be up to twenty by the time I attend Rainforest Writers Village in February.

To be honest, the physical (well, electronic) idea file still makes me feel a little dirty. I'm used to stories just kind of coming out, and of all the stories I've sold, almost all of them were spur-of-the-moment things (and all of the good ones were written like that). But hopefully this ameliorates some of the "geez, I was gonna write this story... what was it about?" problem.

1 comment:

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