2017 – A Writing Plan!

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So, I don’t have a clever image for this one so here’s a picture of that robot thing from Lost in Space. What I DO have is a plan. A writing plan, and here it is. I’ve got 1 book done, and going nowhere (not I didn’t actually burn every copy in existence.), I’ve got two more than 1/4 of the way through and at least reasonably well plotted, and another 2 that have strong concepts, but perhaps aren’t far down the road in the plotting and writing department. In any case. Here is my writing plan for the year, when I finally get on the Stick:

  1. Finish Deep Space Helpdesk – Priority!
  2. Add a chapter to the burned book and shop it to a publisher or two.
  3. Write The Dark Queen of Darkness
  4. Finish book #2 of the book that shall not here be named, because we’re looking forward, remember?
  5. Work on the book with Thittlebod and Penny Adventure.
  6. Write one recipe box per week for the Seward Journal Newspaper, and one Baked Goods & Bourbon post per week.
  7. READ MORE – I made it through a pitifully small number of books last year owing largely to the existence of audiobooks. I want to fix that this year.
  8. Also, LOADS of editing.

So, there it is, my forward-looking writing plan, yes it includes actually finishing like 3 books, super aggressive, and quite possibly a stupid idea t even attempt, but there it is, at least I have a plan!


photo credit: Sky Noir Robot via photopin (license)

Thinking about the information dump (#2)

One type of information dump, most commonly associated with sci-fi, and certainly present in fantasy is the situation where the writer feels the need to provide an explanation of how something works. Depending on your circumstances this can be really hard to deal with. I think the expectation in sci-fi is to provide at least some explanation about how certain technologies work. After all, that’s basically the premise of the genre. That said, billions of people across the planet use cell-phones every day and only a tiny fraction of them know how they work, outside of routine cell-phone maintenance, the only other detail most folks are familiar with is the need for a cell-tower. It seems to me that this could be a pretty good rule of thumb to follow when thinking about how much detail a reader needs. Of course, if your protagonist is a cell phone tower engineer, all bets are off. To give another example, think about Star Trek vs. Battle Star Galactica (the new one). In Star Trek we learn all about tachyon beams and anti-matter mixtures in the warp core, but I don’t recall ever meeting a single FTL drive engineer in BSG. These examples, I think, really illustrate well done instances of including a lot of information or not and the types of stories that work with each situation.

For fantasy, we run into similar sorts of things. For example, how much does one explain about the mechanics of magic? I really don’t have a good rule of thumb for dealing with this, except to say that you can write a really good story without many details (Harry Potter is kind of like the cell-tower example, all we really know is that witches and wizards can do spells and need a wand). I spent a lot of time agonizing over how much detail to give in the description of how magic works in my story. I made up a lot of rules too. In the end, I decided to try and provide few details, instead focusing on the effects of magic, including both the outcome of the magic as well as the physical effects on the one performing the magic. As I’ve gone along, many details of how it works have been described, but only out of necessity. For my story, I think that works pretty well, but like anything, I suppose it depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

If I were to try and give advice on this I’d say put in the detail as you write. Then, as you begin the process of revision and polishing, you can focus on removing stuff that doesn’t really help the story in some way. Sometimes, all your getting from a description is setting, and that can be good too.