I began this 1000 day writing habit on August 13th 2007. I recall on that day not knowing what I’d produce in the next thousand. I recall my uncertainty I’d make it through a week, but I did. I recall my next uncertainty I’d make it a month, but I did.
Then I started failing to write on one day or another. Sometimes my misses were circumstance, sometimes laxity, sometimes prideful justification. Weekends soon presented themselves as a waste of effort: a poor combination of circumstance and quality. The quality and length of writing done on Saturday and Sunday didn’t measure up to rules I don’t have for such things. Rules I still leave uncodified. Then there would be other gaps: vacations, ennui, whatever.
Whatever habit you begin wants to continue until you introduce a new habit. Try to make the new introductions positive.
So here I am. Here I am at 500 days of writing. Here I am past my 1000 day mark by 99 days. As much as I’ve accomplished and as much as I’ve learned in 500 days of writing I’m disappointed I don’t have twice as much experience at this time.
At day 500 my accomplishments in 1000 Days please me, but I’m not ecstatic. Not joyful, not celebratory.
I hereby renew my efforts to write each day. I hereby vow to write each day even when my words are crap–even when they are few. I hereby resolve to figure out the mystery of the weekend writing. I hereby swear that come 12/29/2011 I’ll not be disappointed.
263 words on day 500
I’ve been working on an exercise suggested by a writing website. Make generalized notes summarizing the actions of each scene in a movie: Introduction of Bad Guy; Main Character discovers Evil Plan; Main Character set back by Bad Guy Henchmen. The notations should be non-specific enough that another reader couldn’t easily identify the movie you’d reviewed. Which presumably makes them generic enough to be used as an outline for your original story.
I can see how the notes I’ve made would be useful to another writer or a better writer than I am. If I used them as an outline not recalling the movie to mind would be difficult. It’s a few more scenes before I can get to that point anyhow.
What I am discovering is the volume of information conveyed in each scene of a well made story like the one I’m using. My expectations going in were that I’d be using phrases as succinct as the examples above. I’m not. Objectifying the factors inherent in the story is easier on a per scene basis than it is when you then have to string those scenes together. One object that started off as New Partner soon evolved into Other Main because New Partner implied too much. Even using Henchmen, which could be interpreted loosely if one chose, likely conveys too much so I re-termed them Bad Guy Proxy. I suspect Bad Guy could even carry descriptive conotations that would direct a writer’s hand more than I’d intended.
I do like that I described the arrival of Police as “Story Appropriate Environmental Factors”.
Another aspect of story telling I’m uncovering is the bulk of story in a story. Before as I’d laid out parts of my aborted NaNoWriMo I’d not put in nearly the amount of action in each outlined scene as I’m decanting from this effort.
I’d thought to pick up yesterday’s efforts again this morning yesterday. Today I’m feeling more tabula rasa. I’ll bow to that.
“Grunga had taken our thalpot and we, the Narimen, were after it—and him.”
I suppose that’s all there is to creating conflict. Or at least to defining the scope of the conflict. If I wanted actual conflict and not just its scope I’d need to describe the value of the thalpot to both the Narimen and Grunga. I’d need to outline Grunga’s abilities to capture the thing and the skills he possessed to get it away first and maintain control of it second. His Invisibility Boots and his Fist of Doom ought to do the trick. Somewhere in there it might make sense to learn how the Narimen planned to get the thalpot back and with what or who’s help.
Then of course they fail, regroup, plan again, and re-fail. Third times a charm after that of course, but I’d still need to have the reader thinking the return of the thalpot to the Narimen was in jeopardy right up to the moment it wasn’t…in jeopardy.
So there you go. There I go. A rescue plot or a quest plot or whatever.
As I think back on nearly everything I’ve written here on 1000 Days I realize that I’ve been creating mystery not conflict. I’ve set a scene where I want the reader to wonder what or why the character is doing what they are doing. Of course most of these mysteries could become conflicts, but that wasn’t where I was headed with them. Presenting conflict was my hope, but not my intent. Obviously hoping conflict would come along results in very little conflict coming along.
Shit or get off the pot.
No need to worry about the Narimen or the return of their thalpot. This post was a Mad Libs style hypothetical.