Something New, Something Borrowed

I’ve set-up my corkboard in a different way for “Nostalgia Season”. With everything I’ve written, although I’ve had the ‘board for three years, most of my notes have been on sheets of paper. The notes on the ‘board were there more as reminders to look at the paper. It made me feel a bit like Gandalf as he was searching through the libraries of Minas Tirith, but it’s not as productive as I’d like. Thinking about it  before I made the switch to how I’m working now, I figured that it was because I did more of my thinking on paper instead of on cards. With “Nostalgia Season”, I still have notes on paper, but they’ll be transferred to the cards ASAP. Not having the entire story in front of me at all times should be interesting. I’ll have tunnel vision like I’ve never had before. Will what I have planned for future chapters stay or go?

The ‘board, however, is only so large, which brought me to my next evolution. It started as I was watching one of the special features for the MASSIVE “Breaking Bad” complete series boxset (so glad to see that presentation hasn’t gone out of style [still amazed that I own a TV series in a chemical drum]). Each episode starts off on a corkboard and starts off as four cards labeled “Act I”, “Act II”, “Act III”, and “Act IV”. From there, each act is annotated to death with notecards. Once all that’s taken care of, the cards are given to a writer who makes sense of them and creates an episode. “Nostalgia Season” is being created in a similar way. The ‘board has the initial notecard for the chapter in the upper-left corner, notes scribbled like John Doe. In the lower-right corner are three cards: one for Lenora Howe, one for Stacy Tellus, and one for Stacy’s apartment. Lenora’s has a drawing of her and some notes about her. Ditto Stacy’s. At first, I was gonna have each character represented by an actress, a la “Lie”, but that turned into trouble rather quickly. So I’m going back to my intention with “Love! in Bedlam” and instead painting the characters with broad strokes and allowing the reader to add the details. The apartment has the layout and some notes, including the address and apartment number. The off-center of the ‘board has three lines of three notecards.

Knowing that I wanted eight chapters that seemed like episodes of a TV show made me do more planning than with “Lie”. I knew how many chapters I wanted with “Lie”, but that’s about it. Page-count wasn’t a factor, but it is with “Nostalgia Season”. I figured that a long episode of a TV show was about 45 minutes, so each chapter of “Nostalgia Season” became about 45 pages. “Lie” was 200 pages, but I wrote them longhand first. On notebook paper, “Lie” was 89 pages, front and back. To make sure that each chapter of “Nostalgia Season” was around 45 pages as a book, I had to do a little math. The final edit of “Lie” slaughtered a lot of pages (particularly in the film day chapter) but I was too lazy to figure out how many exactly, so I rounded down to 80 pages. Besides, it’s easier to figure out how 80 pages ballooned to 200 instead of 89 pages. From that math, I figured that I needed to write around 18 notebook pages, front and back, per chapter. The notecards have page-number quotas I have to reach with each.

I am an enemy of traditional structures. But I like to challenge myself. The three sets of notecards (because that’s all the space I had and nine divides into 45 perfectly) lend themselves well to a three-act structure. So that’s how I’ll be handling “Nostalgia Season”. And only “Nostalgia Season”. It’s a bit fitting because I’ll be writing it with the same intent as “Huetta’s Grace”, in that I’ll try to get it published the traditional way. The next novel, whenever that’ll be, will be self-published but like I said a few weeks ago, I’d like to see how the professional world works. Plus, if I could slip in an anti-nostalgia blade twixt the ribs of this nostalgia-crazed culture right through the front door, vive le revolution!

Some of the major things I really wanted to do in “Huetta’s Grace” and “Love! in Bedlam” are finding their way into “Nostalgia Season”, but I also have a few new goals. One is writing a declarative monologue. I love them and hope to make a career out of writing and performing them. One that stands out at the moment is Galadriel’s speech in “Fellowship of the Ring”. Another is The Doctor’s speech in “Rings of Akhaten” (apologies for the video quality on this one). Especially The Doctor’s speech. They don’t come naturally to me, though. By that, I mean that I know I have them in me but they haven’t found their way to my pen like so many other words. So I decided to give myself a note about it, a treat for myself in the final chapter. That chapter doesn’t have much in the way of notes, but the few it does have makes it potentially the most epic thing I’ve done so far (and I’m not using that word lightly). I mean, something titled “The Insanity They’re Heir To” can’t be anything BUT grandiose, right?

I had an epiphany last week pertaining to the sort of tales I plan to tell. Sandcastle stories. As far as I know, I came up with the term by me onesies. Essentially, I build something beautiful but either by something external or my need to destroy, it’s a devastated lump when I’m finished. Which means that there probably won’t ever be a happy ending coming outta me. If there is, I lost a bet.

Give the first four chapters of the first novel from yours truly a read. It’s about four women who go on vacation to help one of their own with a life-changing decision. If you like it, you can buy it for only $1.99 wherever eBooks are sold. Thanks for reading.

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