Get Your Library Card

This is a friendly reminder.

Part of the brainstorming process is reading. Like many of your technology slaves out there, I have many devices on which I can consume literature. Thus I have been programed to buy books once I have convinced myself I need one.

And holy shitty shit…does my Kindle ever make that easy.

Don’t Fall Into the Buying Trap

I’m going to be honest with you. I’ve had a lot of urges to try to do new things. In no particular order they have been:

  • Run a marathon
  • Start a Business
  • Become a high school teacher
  • Lose 40 lbs
  • Start a Moving Blog
  • Write a book about Moving
  • Compete in an Triatholon

I didn’t follow through on any of them. However I did manage to spend money on all of them (and I’ll be paying off that teacher mistake for a long time). This time around, I’m not spending any money until I show some sticktoitiveness and/or have some marginal success.

But I still need to read books to continue the brainstorming process.

Like I Said, Get Your Library Card

If you need a book that wasn’t published in the last 5 years, or isn’t some obscure publishing, chances are your local library has it.

Yes, I’m serious. They probably have it. And if they don’t, they have the resources for you to track it down without paying Papa Amazon or Mama Apple.

So when you start your research, go get your library card. And you can thank me later.

How I’m Building My Story

I did some good brainstorming yesterday., with a decent example of free writing. It was a worthwhile process as it helped me to loosen up my mind.

Loosen up your mind? Ok hippy!

No, seriously though. I’ve had 4 or 5 half baked ideas floating around my head for this book. But the problem is, there were only 4 or 5 ideas, and they weren’t getting me anywhere.

The free writing exercise got me to open my mind to new ideas, which lead to more ideas, which lead to more ideas, which lead to confusion. Those 4 or 5 ideas I had been focusing on where the wrong ideas.

I started to panic. I became verklempt. I needed to take a step back.

“OK Fellas…First Things Fucking Last”

I love a good Reservoir Dogs line. But this happens to be relevant to build my story. I know that good characters drive stories. So most of my mental energy has been dedicated to questions like “who are these people?”, “what motivates them?”, “what kind of job do they have?”, “what’s their favorite color”.

I was banging my head against a wall.(Quite literally. I have to run to the hardware store to grab some spakle after I’m done writing this.)

And then I realized, before I start thinking about people, I need to think about places.

On The Second Day, God Said…

God didn’t start by creating Adam and Eve, he started with the heavens and earth. And you know what, God might be onto something.

I need to create the world these people will live in before I create the people. If I’m going for a political dystopia, I need to think about how society functions. What institutions are in place and how to they interact with society? What cultural forces are at play? How do people, in general, live in this society?

I need to start Nation Building.

George W, eat your heart out.

Free Writing Example

Ok, second post of the day. But this has to with my fist post about brainstorming my book, or more specifically, the free writing process.

I just did my first free-write since 10th grade. And wow, does it ever help. I’m going to share it so you can see what I did.

The only editing I did of the process was egregious spelling errors. Everything else is as is.

Here it is:

Theme: Dystopia
Time: 10 minutes

start

the world is coming to an end unless we do something about it. I don’t know what could possibly be done as the odds against winning are insurmountable. Why are the leaders of this world convinced that they are flawless. I hate them, I want them dead. I want them to have their comeuppance. It’s weird how they don’t seem to understand us. This world sucks, it’s time for a new one.

Time to start something else about dystopia. Orwell nailed his version. He was able to take the little scraps of evidence about his society and extrapolate them out into accurate future visions. what are the little scraps of evidence today that will lead to a dystopic future. Media and the shortsightedness of the debate. Stagnation in our government. Greed, although greed will aways be there. So why was greed less predominant in other societies. Is it the culture, the political mechanism in place. The people that the culture fosters. I’m not sure. Or is it nepotism. It seems like having a huge safety net for the rich propels societies’ leaders to be completely disassociated with the governed class. Maybe a lack of regulation is the weatlthy’s safety net. Do they know that? Do they know the underpinnings of unchecked capitalism? Do they know that every ism is self-destructive? Maybe the solution is to change the argument. I mean, everyone wants to get rich, right? Everyone wants a better life. And people can only imagine a better life by seeing actual examples of it. So they know what to work for. But if that vehicle to become rich is not there, what’s the point? Or better said, if the way one becomes rich simply isn’t an option anymore, doesn’t one need to see that fact. How do you materialize a way to show people that you live in dystopia, you have no shot, you need to change things. It’s about showing the example.

end

The beginning is garbage. But I got some great ideas flowing towards the end.

I’ll be doing this daily!

Brainstorming My Book

I shouldn’t be working on the first sentence of my book. I am light years away from doling out “It was a bright, cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.”

So, brainstorming it is.

Where to begin?

I Should Mention…

I have already thought of a few themes to write about.

I love dystopic stories. Whether they be of the horror variety (Walking Dead anyone?), or political (1984 is my favorite book), or Sci-fi. I’ll consume any type of media that has a bleak outlook for it’s characters.

So I want to write some sort of dystopian fiction.

I also enjoy reading about current events, history and political theory. So I’m probably leaning in more of an Orwellian type novel as opposed to my protaginist fighting off a pleauge or beast.

I have some other themes I’d like to hit on, but they aren’t nearly as fleshed out yet, so I’ll save them until I think they’re ready to share.

How To Brainstorm

I had the same English teacher in 7th, 8th, 10th, and 11th grade. The story behind that is too long and boring to get into here, so let’s just leave it at, Mr. Hannigan had a profound impact on my English prowess.

One thing we did do a number of times in his class was free writing.

Free Writing

If you don’t know the process yet, it’s pretty simple.

  1. Sit down with a piece of paper or your computer and a word processor.
  2. Pick a topic to write about (probably the theme of your book).
  3. Pick a time limit to write. 5 minutes can work. I usually do 10.
  4. Write down EVERYTHING that pops into your head. The name of the game here (again) is quantity.
  5. Save whatever you write.

Most of what you write will be garbage. However, there will be a few unpolished gems in there that will help you either with your book, your thought process, or, at the very least, your next free writing session.

Get Out and Experience.

I read an article that gives a huge list on how to brainstorm. The gist of what the article suggests to do is:

  • Read
  • Write
  • Talk
  • Listen
  • Observe
  • Think

Essentailly consume what is going on around you and contemplate how your surroundings would fit into your narritive.

Enough Alrady

Blog you’ve been fun today, but I got to get out and experince the world…or at least go watch the people at my local beach.

It get’s weird there, I’m ready to consume.

How To Write A Best Selling Book

Yeah…so, how do I write a best seller? Where do I start? What business do I have to write a book in the first place? How did I get here?

Oh man…I have a long way to go until hit George RR Martin status. I also have a few pounds to put on too.

That’s right kids, I’m not above fat jokes. Strap yourselves in.

Anywho, maybe we should start with…

How to Google How to Write a Book

Wait a minute. Yes! This is how you do that.

The Googling Results

The first link Google spits out is utterly useless. 3/4’s of it is about marketing and PR. It concludes with two wonderful pearls of wisdom about the actual writing process:

  • If you can’t dedicate at least a year full time to writing the book, don’t bother.
  • If you can’t write a good book, don’t bother.

I go one and a half words for this post: Fuck ‘um.

If I wanted to know how to market my book, I’d start by googling that. But I’m waaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy too far away from that point. And as for dedicated a year to the writing process…my wife might have some issues with me quitting my job.

So yeah, fuck ‘um.

There were two links of any merit after my quick Google search.

This post will be perfect once I start getting into the brass tacks of the actual writing process. It’s a style guide, and a good one at that. So I’ll file this one away.

The advice he dispenses are those gems you need when you’ve already had a number of reps through the writing process. It’s worth a read now and then file it away. When you hit a wall, pull it out again and read it again.

Conclusion: Fuck You Google

I am still nowhere on this whole book writing thing. This isn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

I’m going to take a step back and think about the design process of writing a book.

 

Unfortunately I think that means I have to start outlining and shit. You know, that thing your 6th grade social studies teacher forced you to do when you were taking notes. Uhh, yeah the Roman numerals, letters and numbers song and dance. I remember doing it and swearing to God almighty that it would be the last time I outlined anything.

Now I’m going to do it again. Mrs. Guillam you’re a fucking genius. I take back all those spitballs levied against you.

The Snowflake Method.

After a few more Google searches I came across The Snowflake Method of Novel Design. This seems like a great place to start.

However, there was one section in there that caught my eye:

If you’re like most people, you spend a long time thinking about your novel before you ever start writing. You may do some research. You daydream about how the story’s going to work. You brainstorm. You start hearing the voices of different characters. You think about what the book’s about — the Deep Theme. This is an essential part of every book which I call “composting”. It’s an informal process and every writer does it differently. I’m going to assume that you know how to compost your story ideas and that you have already got a novel well-composted in your mind and that you’re ready to sit down and start writing that novel.

Now I know where to begin.

Why I’m Writing This Blog

This might be an exercise in futility.

In fact, if you read the sub-title of this blog, you’d probably think some blue-collar guy teaching himself fiction is a fool’s errand. And you’d probably be right. But the internet is full of delusional people creating all sorts of self-inflicted disasters. So why can’t I pile on?

(The smart money is on futility.)

Anywho, if you are still with me, you’d probably want some sort of explanation as to why this blog exists in the first place.

1) I Want To Write a Book (fiction)

I’m falling into that part of my life where I want to test myself. I’m want to climb my Everest so to speak. However, I’m too fat to climb a mountain. Ditto with running a marathon. Cross-fit is beyond stupid. And there is very little chance I’m curing cancer moving furniture.

Why not try to write a book? And you know, get it published, sell millions of copies world wide, get an HBO deal and live the rest of my life as some sort cross between of Hunter S and Hemingway? This is all perfectly within reach.

Oh yeah, and let’s not forget, other than going to college, I have no real training in writing. And I majored in Finance, so saying I even had any sort of training in college is debatable.

(Seriously, there Vegas is still taking bets on futility. Get your money in.)

This blog will be about the process of me learning how to write a book. If you’ve ever wanted to write a book and are not sure how, this blog will probably be a blueprint of what not to do. I am going to make all the mistakes so you don’t have to.

If, on the off chance this blog turns into anything of any value, it should have all you could ever want to know about the writing or marketing process for a work of fiction.

B) I Need Writing Reps.

If you’re still with me, you’re probably thinking I have no business writing a blog let alone a book.

First, you hurt my feelings by thinking that. Second, I know.

The blog is here for me to get better as a writer. The first many posts will be bad. (hehehe…first many) At this point in my career, quantity is better than quality.

The idea is the quantity I write here will translate into quality when I write my book (fingers crossed).

For now, I’m going to post once a day. Some posts will be quick and dirty, some will be a little more thoughtful…and dirty. But there will be something every day about how I’m going about writing this book.

I’m not sure what that will look like. But I’m excited to find out.

7) I Hope The Blog Does Some Good.

At the very least, you should be able to learn from my mistakes.  But if my mistakes are so egregious that you wouldn’t dream of making the same ones, maybe you can use this blog as a confidence booster.

Hey, if this idiot is trying to write a book, why can’t you?