Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Cool Post

Ballerina legs with a multi-colored tutu.

I ran across this awesome post on Writer Unboxed on Sunday. Since I’d already made a post earlier that day, I decided to hold off on sharing it. And then I forgot about it (sorry!). I haven’t figured out how to reblog from anyone not on WordPress, so here’s the link. In a nutshell, it encourages us to refocus our efforts in writing. Are we really writing to become bestsellers and make scads of money? Sure, it’s a great goal, but is it really attainable? Or are we writing because we like to write? As I mentioned in my reply to the post, “If you’re writing for the sake of writing, then finishing and polishing the piece is the end goal, not publishing it and making a million bucks. Is the former any less worthy a goal than the latter? Absolutely not.”

And yes, I made a reply fail and double-posted with a completely re-worded reply after I thought it ate the first one, but that’s beside the point.

An Experiment

I’m going to try something I’ve never done before. I’m going to write a novel and outline it with blog posts.

Let me explain. I was thinking about what to post next on Tales but kept hitting a wall. The Encyclopedia Confederica idea works, but I kept getting this nagging feeling that it’s not time for it just yet. Why? I don’t know exactly. I do know that I’ve had an idea that just keeps sneaking up on me and won’t let go.

I don’t know if I’ve explained it very well over on Tales, but Kim was a bit of a rebellious wild child as a teenager. Well, that’s an understatement. She fought with her stepmum constantly and ended up running away and joining the crew of a freighter. During that time, she rebelled even more: she drank, got a tattoo, tried smoking but decided she liked breathing better, got arrested for vandalism, and made a general nuisance of herself. And then everything changed.

I’m sure you know she’s not like that at the beginning of the series: steadfast, reliable, level-headed, a true leader. Yes, she’s pulled a few pranks since then, but most of them were to prove a point, not to relieve boredom or be destructive. (For example, she put away someone’s ladder after he crawled into an overhead panel without someone spotting for him. She stayed nearby to make sure he was safe but still let him holler for a while before going back to rescue him.) Anyway, it’s definitely an about-face that happened because of a series of events. I can’t explain why, but I feel that I must tell those events. I’ve thought of putting them up on Tales more than once, but I hesitated. Not sure why.

I’ve also been thinking about Camp NaNo here lately. I promised that I’d do it this year, preferably in June, but lately I’ve hesitated. Write another novel? I have no idea what to write next. I’ve got one more book planned in Kim’s series, but for some reason I have no motivation to write it just yet. Again, not sure why.

And then inspiration struck today. I saw some shapes in clouds that reminded me of spaceships. One looked to me like the space version of a big rig. I got to thinking: why wouldn’t space freighters be set up like semis? It kinda makes sense: the owner has a small ship that attaches to a large ship that’s little more than a climate-controlled container. Owners would be limited by the size of their engines, not the physical space limitations of their ships. It works for freight here on Earth, why wouldn’t it work in space? Of course, thinking about freight in space got me thinking about Kim and her experiences as a freighter.

And then I figured some things out.

Number one: I need to tell that story. Those three years Kim spent on a freighter are integral to her life and personality. They explain why she did what she did in the first book as much as the type of technology she worked with. They’re the reason she tried applying to Academy the second time after being rejected the first. I have to tell that story!

Number two: It’s too big to fit in a few blog posts. Ten or twelve posts won’t contain it. I’d get bored with that many blog posts (y’all probably would, too). It needs its own novel. So, like many writers before me, I’ve decided to write a prequel.

Number three: I still need to write blog posts. And I haven’t done much outlining. The solution? What you’ll see in the blog posts will hit the main points of the story. Each post will be a stand-alone story, a little snippet in time much like “The Memory Trunk“. I’m hoping to work it where they’ll be satisfying enough as is yet still whet the appetite for whenever the actual book gets published.

Number four: I need to quit beating around the bush. I am a Christian. My books are overtly Christian. My characters witness to each other. Some become Christians, some do not. Some of them even meet God face-to-face (both physically and metaphorically, by the way). One of the major reasons why Kim quits being the wild child is because she becomes a Christian. So far, my blog stories really haven’t touched on this fact, but they will now. This book, tentatively entitled To Tame a Dragon, will not only contain Kim’s reality check and conversion experience, it will explore some common misconceptions like ‘Christians don’t have any fun because they have so many rules to follow’.

Am I going to far? I don’t think so. Will I offend somebody? Probably. I’m just hoping and praying this little experiment will pay off in the end.