Err…okay…that title may be a bit, umm, ambitious. Not to mention misleading as hell – I have way too many problems to solve at one time. Or, well, at all.
But I did figure out why the conspiracy theory book was not clicking with me, and that’s a huge hurdle to overcome. The early process of creating the structure and plan for a story should, for me at least, follow pretty smoothly on the heels of finding/creating the main character and general intent.
It didn’t, not this time.
Because I was doing it wrong.
Well, at least “wrong” for me.
I had been coming at this from the top-down. I was researching conspiracies and secret societies and trying to come up with a plot based around them. That’s…err…very, very wrong. Four times I sat down and tried to come up with just a summary of the story, and an idea of how things would progress, and four times I failed. There are far too many conspiracies (not to mention just plain random craziness that also fits the bill) for that to work. It’s the equivalent of trying to create a fantasy story by starting with the armor.
ADD random-thought warning!
That might actually be a fun writing challenge for when I’m bored and sick of everything else. Start with an empty suit of armor…add a sword, although for the sake of variation maybe I’ll make it a club since there’re too many magic swords in stories…then come up with a heroic story from THEIR point of view.
Okay, I’m over it now…back to the post I meant to write.
I know it sounds so basic it shouldn’t have to be stated, but I had to go all the way back to the beginning and start with the story first. I sat this morning and figured out the structure of the book (not as hard as it sounds – I have a certain structural model that makes sense to me, and helps me to plan things out), then I started planning out the story itself, and what I wanted to accomplish in each part.
Finally, things clicked. Thank anything and everything in the universe!
That 5-1 game I mentioned before? The conspiracy theory book finally scored a few goals. It’s still 5-4 with a minute left, but at least it’s a fucking game now.
Again, I know it sounds trite to go back to such basics, but sometimes that’s what you have to do. Well, at least, that’s what I have to do.
The other “realization” that helped me was when I remembered I don’t need to know and define every single twist and turn before I start. Especially not in a book like this. I need a good general picture, not an infinitely detailed outline. This is a story based on humor & satire, I can let the writing take me to places I hadn’t really counted on – within reason, of course.
Now it’s time to celebrate with a beer*.
*Note – had I failed at “solving” my problem, it would be time to console myself with a beer. There’s nothing quite like flexibility!