Inbetween Days

Philip HarrisWriting, Writing ProcessLeave a Comment

So, with first draft of The Ghost Smuggler written and filed away for a few weeks before I start revising it, what’s next?

Well, first up, I don’t want to stop writing. Partly because I’ve got a nice writing streak going (49 days so far) but more importantly because I’m enjoying the writing so much at the moment.

The good news is, Ethel the Muse has been busy and I have a whole raft of ideas.

First up, there’s three potential Ghost Smuggler related projects:

  • The sequel novel
  • A prequel novella called The Ghostwalker Edicts
  • A parallel novella that tells the story of one of the secondary characters from the novel

Then there’s a some other novels:

  • A YA urban fantasy filled with freaks and the monsters who hunt them
  • A YA urban fantasy about a girl who can create magical worlds
  • A science fiction serial that started off as a throwaway idea but has grown into something a lot more substantial

And some short stories:

  • A psychological horror story called The Bone Boy 
  • A  science fiction story about the skull of a military robot
  • A horror-ish story about an ice creature and the girl she befriends
  • Two novellas based in the world of my story – Piece Number 7

And I have two more assignments for the brevity workshop:

  • A 500 word story using the worlds sizzling, tagine and niveous
  • A 1000 word story of some description

Not wanting to dive straight into a novel length work I spent Thursday and Friday writing a six sentence story for the workshop and the first paragraph of the short story that grabbed me the most – The Bone Boy. Having written the first paragraph on Friday, I spent an hour or so yesterday, writing a full outline for the story, using the seven point story structure.

That’s usually how I approach stories. I start off with an idea, usually the first line, a very clear concept or maybe just the title. In the case of The Bone Boy it was an imaginary nursery rhyme. I let the idea roll around in my head, chipping away at it when I’m lying in bed trying to get to sleep or taking a shower. At that point I’m trying to find the end (although sometimes I start with the end and work backwards, that tends to be a bit easier).

Once I have the end, I start thinking about the opening paragraph. Writing and rewriting a few lines in my head until I have something I really like. When I do, it’s time to write it down before I lose it. Once I have that first paragraph I either let the idea percolate a bit more, or sit down and write the outline.

It took me about an hour to write the outline for  The Bone Boy and by the end of it I had the skeleton of what should be a pretty cool story. Focusing on the seven point structure was invaluable – I could immediately see where the idea was weak and needed an extra scene or two and even though the outline was only about 250 words long, there’s some nice detail packed into it.

When I’d finished the outline, I was so pumped up about the story that I immediately rolled into writing it and ended up adding 573 words before we had to head out to get some food.

Today, I’m going to carry on with The Bone Boy but I also need to write the 500 word story for the workshop in the next day or two. Luckily, I came up with a nice concept this morning (in the bath, naturally) so I’ve got a pretty clear idea of what I want to write. I’m going to try a seven point outline for this one as well. Even though it’s only 500 words I think that will help a lot.

I also want to try out a new plugin for the website, start research for the science fiction serial, watch a movie of some description, start reading Hugh Howey’s Shift and watch the last three episodes of a TV show we’re watching (more on that another day). Oh, and I see the latest issue of Caitlin R Kiernan’s Sirenia Digest has just arrived so there’s that to read.

And napping would be good. Over the last three days I’ve run 37km and played a lunchtime football game (soccer if you prefer). Now my body is telling me it needs a break.

[Inbetween Days by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 18th August 2013]

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