Status Quo

I’ve always wanted to tell a story.

Ever since I was a child, I retold stories I’d read, stolen elements from pictures and images I’d seen to create my own version of stories. But there’s one I’ve been wanting to tell ever since I was seventeen. Writing it, though, is hard.

I’ve written and rewritten that story so many times now, and never finished even one draft. It never matched what I was trying to say and the things I saw in my mind. So I’d trash drafts early and often. I didn’t know how to craft the story, is what I’m trying to say.

So a few years ago, I figured I’d change that game. What do you do when you want to be good at something, master a craft? Yeah, you have to practice. And that’s what I changed. I thought: if I practiced writing, I could get really good at it. Good enough to finally tell my story.

But what to write in the mean time?

That’s easy. Fantasy, of course. It’s one of my favorite genres ever. I’ve read pages and pages of fantasy. I’ve read stuff I’ve really enjoyed and stuff I didn’t, although the core idea was intriguing enough to pick that book up.

And it’s pretty straight forward genre, right? Good versus evil? Very simplistic. Right?

Well, no. But that’s a whole post by itself there. The scope of the genre is as wide and deep as an ocean, and it’s varied and filled with life. So what to choose? Which story to tell?

So, I organized a structure for myself. Remember ISTJ‘s? We luuuurve structure. Mine went like this:

  1. Re-read Joseph Campbell’s Hero with the Thousand Faces. Again. Hooray!
  2. Figure out what kind of fantasy I’m drawn to and why. Meaning: re-read some of my favorite books and analyse them. Hooray!
  3. From there, glean enough ideas to make a rough story structure (based on Campbell. See above.).
  4. Flesh out that outline.
  5. Write and finish a story.

    Now, it’s taken me about two years. But – ta-daaa – I’ve got a first rough draft. Of a fantasy story. So awesome!

    Except that it’s basically word vomit I have to wade through and sift for those sparkling gems I’ve seen gleaming.

    But: I. Finished. A. Draft. Woo-hoo.

    So this is where I am now. Ticked off all the boxes from my first list and created a new list:
  6. Shape the rough draft into what I meant to say. (Second draft)
  7. Then edit it again. Wax and polish style. (Third draft. Three’s a magic number, right?)

Then comes the scary stuff:

Get an awesome, affordable cover.

(Get a professional editor to go over the manuscript.)

Publish it. (Gulp!)

Repeat with the next book.

Until I can write the story I want to tell.

From where I stand: that’s a lot of work. But it’ll be worth it when it’s done, because I’ll be a bit closer to saying what I’ve got to say, writing that story I really want to write that’s too hard to do now.

So, beginning my production diary with: rough draft finished. On to Second Draft!

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