Blank is a story about… SQUIRREL!

Coming out of the post-VP fog (and illness) with a strong desire to do ALL THE THINGS (and if you are unfamiliar of the origins of this phrase, I’d highly recommend reading this post over on Hyperbole and a Half, then subscribe to the blog and wait patiently for guaranteed hilarity – I aspire to her level of hilarity).

Work insanity has died down now that I’ve waded through the mountain of e-mails I ignored for most of VP (AND put out all of the fires) and got the rest of the pending shit for the business trip straightened out, I find I have an overabundance of motivation.

And being the person I am, I’m curious to know where it’s coming from. I have had a difficult time for years to force myself to actually DO things I’ve wanted to do (be it because of fear, or insecurity or depression), and I haven’t felt this invigorated since I was back in college. And the parallel thereby becomes obvious: I was sure of what I wanted to do when I was in college, though I was so very, very naive way back then. That confidence was shattered in grad school, and every move since then has been tainted by it.

God, I can’t believe I’m actually about to say this, but…

I THINK I GOT MY GROOVE BACK

::goes and knocks on all the wood in the universe::

I’d been hemming and hawing about this writing thing ever working out and now I honestly believe I can make it work. And that makes me want to write EVERYTHING.

And part of that didn’t just come out of writers I respect the fuck out of telling me they liked my stories. It came out of one simple thing that Bear said, that’s going to help me side-step my biggest problem when writing: What the Fuck is Supposed to Come Next. Running into this problem KILLS a lot of stories I work on because the mental legwork I have to do to think my way out of a dead end is usually greater than the expected payoff of the story. Usually because I don’t start stories with payoffs in mind. Which brings me to the tool Bear gave us all:

_______ is a story about ______, a ______ who must ______. We’ll know (s)he’s succeeded when  _______________.

I like my writing to have really strong themes and characterization, since that’s what really pushes my buttons in the stuff I read. I’m also really bad at outlining (I like to explore for a bit before I figure out the story). This means exploring these things through a lot of empty prose, and most of my first drafts don’t have a focus. Which makes it easy to lose interest. That makes this tool MAGIC for me. It makes me focus on the character arc (while still delving deeper into the characterization), and relates it to plot. It gives me goals for a story BEFORE I put butt in chair, rather than having to come to that in rumination after the the first draft is done. And the character focus is on their central conflict: their want versus their need, AND I LOVE PLAYING WITH WANT VERSUS NEED.

Anyway – I’m excited to see just how far using this can get me. And while it was meant as a method to use to get a story out quickly by providing a shallow focus, right now, when I want to do EVERYTHING, focus is just what I need.

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