in which wil connects the dots

I was talking with Andrew last night about the Monolith Press editorial calendar for 2009. As we planned out our release and drop dead dates, the subject turned to the fiction project I wanted to do in 2008, but never finished.

“The plan is to [REDACTED],” I said, “but I don’t know which one I’ll start on first.” I thought for a second. “Probably [THING I'M REALLY EXCITED TO WRITE.]“

“Good idea,” Andrew said. He asked me what was going on with a story that I once had a great deal of enthusiasm for, but haven’t made any progress on in months.

“I made two huge mistakes with that,” I said. “First, I didn’t realize until I was almost ten thousand words into it that it can’t be a first person narrative, because it’s way too limiting for what the story needs. Second, I didn’t outline it before hand, I just had a basic idea for where I wanted it to go, and tried to write it by the seat of my pants. It was really stupid to do it that way, but I learned a valuable lesson from the experience: I need to work from an outline, because when I do, I’m connecting the dots instead of assembling a jigsaw puzzle.”

“That makes a lot of s—” he began.

“Wait. I like that. I need to write it down.” I opened TextEdit and typed connect the dots instead of assembling a jigsaw puzzle.

“I see what you did there,” Andrew said. “You should be a writer.”

“Thanks! I’m working on that.”

16 thoughts on “in which wil connects the dots”

  1. I think no matter what one writes “connecting the dots instead of assembling a jigsaw puzzle” is a good quote to remember. I just might have to make that a poster and tape it up by my computer. I’m looking to have many writing projects coming up soon and it’s good advice. I used to be able to write by the seat of my pants but my writing’s started to turn out badly when done that way. I’ve never liked making outlines but I think they’re very useful.
    Also, I’m very excited to read that thing you’re very excited to write. Good luck!
    Cheers!

  2. You know what else is an absolute must to keep in mind when you’re writing: [AWESOMELY USEFUL ADVICE I'D LOVE TO GIVE YOU BUT CAN'T].
    j/k! Thought I’d give you a friendly poke for being a blogtease.

  3. That quote rocks, especially because you can also apply it in computer science too. :D Software engineering and writing seem to have some things in common. :) Of course that’s somehow obvious, but sometimes it takes a moment like this to realize those simple things. ;)

  4. Wil, you are getting there. It takes a while for a writer to find the process that works, and it sounds like you’ve done it. For me, outlining doesn’t work that well, but I know a lot of writers that do, and it works for them. Keep going. I’d love to see the result.
    Doug P.
    twitter.com/thenextwriter

  5. I can’t wait to see what you come out with in the way of fiction. I got the Happiest Days audio book the day you released it and have worked through Dancing Barefoot and am now embarking on Just a Geek. On a side note….when do you think there might be hard copies of Happiest Days available again. I was so sad to find that they are all sold out!

  6. I can’t write from an outline. I tried and I just couldn’t do it. Funny how that works. I do have an idea of what I want to accomplish in each chapter or section before I set out though.

  7. Well, some people need an outline, some people can’t write when they’re ‘confined’ by one. I only outline by thinking the characters are at point A, they’ll finish at point B and to get there they have to go through point C.
    Also, as you write more fiction, you’ll discover that ten thousand words is a lot less than you thought it was.

  8. >>I just had a basic idea for where I wanted it to go, and tried to write it by the seat of my pants.>>
    Add some drugs to the mix and you could be the next Jack Kerouac ; )

  9. Hey Wil, I know this is off topic, but are you having a booth or speaking on a panel at Phoenix Comicon? I saw a few posts ago that you are attending but I could not find any details. I would really like to go if you are. Hope to see you soon!
    Kate

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