Writing Serially is Hard, or What is Wrong?

Hey wow look, I posted the first section of my go at a pulp story! Just 3 months after I initially planned to! On a cosmic scale that’s basically no time at all, right?

So what happened? The title here says it all: writing serially is hard. 1 I wrote the first section (and it was way too long and not very good, but that’s the project, right?). I went to post it. Then I convinced myself to write the second section before I posted the first, just in case. In case of what? I couldn’t tell you, really, I just could not bring myself to even save the draft. Continue reading “Writing Serially is Hard, or What is Wrong?”


  1. I have no idea how Luke and James are doing it.

Make Your $hitty Pots

To begin talking about writing strategies, we’re going to talk about pottery. Specifically, the kind of pottery created by a bunch of Psychology students who do not, normally, create pottery. The students themselves were given an assignment where they were split into two groups, each with their own similar yet different goals. Members in group A were asked to make as many pots as physically possible for the span of a month; the higher the number of pots, the higher the possible grade. Members of group B were instead asked to submit a single pot, whose quality would determine their individual grade.

Continue reading “Make Your $hitty Pots”

Freedom To Be Wrong

I’m going to try a little experiment here—just a small one, because I’m not sure how it’ll turn out (poor scientific method again already!) but that’s kind of the point. But I’ll get to that in a bit. Just know that this article isn’t going to be exactly like my previous ones. It’s going to be a bit rougher, for The Reasons, but if you’re keeping up with all of Adventures In Storytelling it’s not the first time you’ll have read something of mine that’s “rough”. For example, CC.004-5.L.2 – The Charismatic Augusto—Love Him Before He’s Gone! Any of them, really. See, the experiment I’m attempting on this article shall be aptly named (read: stolen): A Shitty First Draft. Continue reading “Freedom To Be Wrong”

Be Kind To Yourself: NaNoWrimo and Play 2.0

Last month saw the great time of NaNoWrimo, a time that most writers either ignore for it’s impossibility or dive into with the enthusiasm of New Year’s resolutions. I like goals and setting challenges. I like them so much that getting excited and assigning myself something unrealistic has become a step in the achievement process. Which then leads to that sought after end goal being unfortunately missed.

Continue reading “Be Kind To Yourself: NaNoWrimo and Play 2.0”

It’s a Bit Formulaic, Wouldn’t You Say?

Here’s an important fact about me: I stink at storytelling.

I don’t struggle to write. When I have an ongoing project, I write every day. Maybe not the NaNoWriMo-approved 1,667 words, and sometimes not even the Chuck Wendig-approved 350, but I get some words on the screen. I’ve worked hard to cultivate that “thinking comes later” attitude that Luke mentions in his comment on Madeline’s Play 002 post. Continue reading “It’s a Bit Formulaic, Wouldn’t You Say?”

Writing Wrongs: Doing Right by your Villain

Last month, I wrote a section of Charlotte’s Journey that is told from the perspective of our villain, Count Vilnius. When we eventually assemble the jigsaw puzzle and put all these sections in order, “A Vile View of Vilnius” should be the second chapter dealing with our big bad, but in draft format this section was the first time Luke and I had privileged access to Vilnius’ thoughts. It was also the first time I had a chance to write the character at all.

The constant refrain when writing Charlotte’s Journey has been “do something simple very well.” The simple part is so that Luke and I are working in a frame we’re familiar with. The very well part is there so we challenge ourselves in that frame. Although I’ve encountered a number of difficulties writing Charlotte’s Journey, writing Vilnius was perhaps the most difficult so far. As it result, it may also have been the most rewarding. Continue reading “Writing Wrongs: Doing Right by your Villain”

Harry Potter and the Perfectly Plotted Novel

Although I would give Harry Potter and the Cursed Child a bit of a mixed review overall, I’d still say that I liked it. Perhaps my favourite part of the play has nothing at all to do with the actual content, though. From the release of The Prisoner of Azkaban on, I have had a Harry Potter tradition. After reading the new book in a single sitting (unless I had to sleep for a few hours), I would immediately turn to The Philosopher’s Stone and read the entire series through, including the new addition. I never expected to be able to preform this ritual another time, and I’m grateful Cursed Child exists simply because it gave me a great excuse to spend a couple weeks with my nose stuck in some of my favourite books. Continue reading “Harry Potter and the Perfectly Plotted Novel”

Abyssinia Henry: The Power of Telling

There is an important piece of writer’s advice floating around out there. You’ve probably run across it before. It’s on most writer’s advice websites, written on blackboards of creative writing classes, it’s on the lips of writing instructors, shaved into stationary cats, and probably written in the stars themselves:

Show don’t tell.

I’m not fond of this advice. Sure, at its heart, it has a valuable message. In simplest terms, show don’t tell encourages a novice writer to do more than simply report a series of events. To show is to encourage the readers to have a visceral, emotional, and empathetic reaction to what they are reading. A writer of creative fiction should do more than just report what happened like a newspaper article. The trouble is that while creative writing instructors are busy carving the words show don’t tell onto every pebble on a beach, they have failed to notice that the novice writers have not learned the important part of the lesson. Continue reading “Abyssinia Henry: The Power of Telling”

Why Does the Shaman Need the Fire?

“Writing is a dog’s life, but the only one worth living.”
— 
Gustave Flaubert

They descend upon the site, recalling last session’s twists and turns, some reenacting key moments, others content to smile like a conspirator before revealing their theories for tonight’s installment. They banter and question; probe and dissect. A tense excitement hangs in the air. Tonight promises to wrap up loose threads, and reveal the shadowy presence of the next arc. The group makes their way through the dark to the single glowing flame, barely more than a spark, that burns in the centre of the fire pit. Each has brought a log of wood, and the telling will only last as long as the wood burns—though its impact will linger on long into the night, the next day, and beyond.

As the group settles into the circle around the fire, the wood stacked within arms reach so as to not ruin the rhythm of the telling, the Storyteller appears silently from the darkness. There is no ruckus to proceed the Storyteller’s coming, no fanfare to follow. There is the fire; there is the circle. There is the Story. Continue reading “Why Does the Shaman Need the Fire?”

Planning My Way To Q: a 3-Stage Experiment in the Creative Process

“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” — William Faulkner

I haven’t finished a story in… years. Articles, sure. But a full-fledged short story—not since before the end of my undergrad. Even my final creative writing project was handed in as a less than final draft. I would sit down with the beginning of the story and a picture of several neat scenes in my head. I’d muddle through from the start, hoping I’d stumble my way into a setup that would allow those scenes to happen. In other words, I’d have a clear image of scene-Q, I’d formulate a quick, barebones outline to get started, write the first line… And lose my way on scene-D, long before I got anywhere near Q. I could see the parts, but when it came to writing the prose, I struggled to get myself to the finish.

In short: my writing process was not working for me. Continue reading “Planning My Way To Q: a 3-Stage Experiment in the Creative Process”