Dear Writing Soul, Please Be More Linear

Here’s the problem that’s been blocking me, serial-wise. I want to get three of them out (yes, three, it’s a bit optimistic, isn’t it). But I can’t do it because I can’t write well in a linear fashion.

Eta: cut.

Somehow I first need to lay out the big moments. Like the ending. Some of my mind works backwards, instead of forwards, and let me tell you, that is no way to write a mystery and have fun yourself doing it. After the big moments, I connect them with moments that I try to keep fun and entertaining, rather than becoming plot dragways. This is by itself very hard. Somehow I think it’s harder when you do the plot non-linearly, but possibly not.

I tried a linear storyline during NaNoWriMo—no. I rewrote the two novels written during that time—no. I wrote two more novels (ha ha ha, that’s a little precocious to call such dross that), and both hit this, like a brick wall. I tried rewriting all four—no, no, no, no. I tried it during my serials, during my many partial rewrites of the serials, in the hopes that somehow I could end up knowing how to end it. Or reach the damn middle. No cigar.

I guess this partly to due with needing an outline—when I have one, I burn the road, writing, with the 2k words an hour for the first draft, and then I trip over where the outline stops.

Argh. It’s not how it’s supposed to go. I want to burn rubber down the freeway. I don’t want to do this kind of backwards/forwards/backwards/forwards/argh kind of planning—but I will if I have to. But it does mean that the serials won’t come out as soon as I like, because I hate to frustrate readers. They might not even come out until they’re finished, so if I’m sensible I’ll do one each per year.

Probably good idea anyways. I do not know why I do this, but another trait of my non-linearity is that my first draft, my second draft, and my third drafts look nothing like each other. It makes me wonder what the hell is wrong with me. Probably I’m just not a good writer right now, so I don’t know what I’m doing until the third time around. Fortunately, drafts take me three months to do, so a year is about right.

People tell me I write decent stuff the first time through. This is only true for isolated scenes (like I said: I do not think linearly, and it’s right now so hard for me to link stuff together).

Some isolated scenes:

  • Chasing the Phoenix—probably will never become a serial; Eastern steampunk has already been done better. 1195 words.

  • 15-and-4—title makes no sense. 743 words, 45 minutes I think, and is part of a larger story that is now completely different and has less angst, because really, angst and this kind of YA has been done already. Less of this angst, or maybe not. Stuff happens to my drafts that make no sense.

    Will be serial. It’s the first most likely. It’s been around forever in my head, and changes every year, except for the last two, when I pinned down the major points during a synopsis online class. I still need to backfill. Gods.

    An idea of how differently I work sometimes: the first time around, it had some serious name. I forget what it was. It was so presumptuous and bad. The second title was “Legend Killer: When the Stars Explode.” The third title is “The Turing Gyre”, which ends up between those two. Either way, it will be a stand-alone, in case people hate it.

    If there ever is one, the title for the sequel… or the prequel, I’m not yet sure, isn’t that awful… is currently in its infant stages and is called “Electric Lovelace”. The book after that is called “The Gödel Conspiracy”. Some book somewhere is called “Fermat’s Legacy,” which is a little lame.

  • Kokoro no O-Nōtsu, where I drive my readers crazy with the constant honorific names. Technically, the only real story amongst my little scenes. I hate this one the most, because I don’t know how to end things properly, and it shows. 1191 words, one hour. Somewhat part of “Chasing the Phoenix” world somehow, I feel it in my bones.

  • A Decent Christmas, which involves two characters for a mystery series that is also now completely different, and I really mean it this time. Like one of the characters is now a cat. In the Future. It’s that bad. Here is how different. The second most likely, even though I’ve ended up doing a lot of work on this one, I never wrote a synopsis for it. I told you I worked backwards….

    I’m just glad the main characters are no longer expys of Holmes and Watson. Working title is lame, I know. A long time ago, I wanted to call all this “Crime and Violins,” ha ha ha.

The last serial possibility has no cohesive scenes yet, because I tried to work it forwards. Which didn’t work. I know how it starts. I know how it ends. I know a little bit of what happens inbetween, but nowhere near enough (what is the point of the story? I need to discover that, argh). It’s also set in The Future. It is, thankfully, not an apocalyptic future, and not part of 15-and-4’s world.

It has a Psmith expy that I hope to kick away into someone who isn’t, but it’s quite difficult at this point, but with more development that may very well happen. Or… not. And then someone will yell “Mary Sue!!!” and then I will die of complete and total embarrassment.

This has been your self-indulgent writer ranting of the day.