Surround Yourself

I’ve steadily come to the realization that I’m currently reading and watching fiction that’s similar to the mood of my main writing project.

Last week, I finished the first draft of a short story that I’ve been working, which is on a much lighter note than the novel I started in November. Shortly after, I finished reading “The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I” by Stephen King and then picked up Dan Brown‘s “Angels & Demons” off my shelf. I also became invested in the TV show The Following.

43615All three of these stories, if you will, are rather dark in nature. I’ve written a review of The Following, but have yet to do so for “The Gunslinger.” And, since I’ve barely started “Angels & Demons,” of course I haven’t written a review for Brown’s work yet. Check out their websites or do some Google-ing of your own, but the point that I’m trying to make is that each of these works can, in some way, be classified in the horror genre.

I can’t stand horror or slasher movies, but I enjoy reading the same genre in book form. (Yes, I’m aware that I’m strange). And I can handle TV shows that freak me out as long as there’s enough plot to pull me in and I have something to distract me before bedtime.

So, if horror isn’t my favorite thing to read or watch, why do I suddenly find myself surrounded by it?

I think it was subconscious’ way of telling me to get back into writing my novel. And yesterday I did start the next chapter of what is already the longest work I’ve ever written. Whether or not King and Brown and Kevin Bacon inspired me to get back to it, I think that it’s benefiting me to immerse myself in this world.

To me, it’s important for every writer to devote as much time as possible to 1) writing and 2) reading. How best do we learn our craft than by practicing it and observing the success of other master crafters? And, especially if you find your self delving into a topic you aren’t used to writing, I think that it’s a good idea to read and watch works that are at least somewhat similar to what you’re working on. I’m not telling you to plagiarize. All I’m trying to say is that it might get you in the right mindset or mood for what you’re working on.

Outlines

I’ve never used outlines for my creative writing before, and this is probably due in large part to the fact that I don’t know how. But practice makes perfect, right? The only time that I’ve even talked about outlines on IBW is when I was talking about the lessons I learned from NaNoWriMo. One of those lessons was that outlines are good, but that’s as far as I’d gotten on the subject at that point.

This changed last week, as I mentioned in Tuesday’s post, when I outlined the rest of the novel I’m working on. This is the first time that I’ve seriously outlined something.

Considering my reservations towards outlining, it was an oddly amazing experience. The words seemed to just flow from my pen. I didn’t write down details or actual scenes; it’s just rambling bullet points. But it’s a skeleton of what the rest of my novel is going to be and I think that this is going to give me just the push I need to finish my novel.

Now, I’m pro-outlining.

I’ve been told before by my poetry professor, Dr. Tom Hunley, to write my entire novel in one poem. I have yet to accomplish this feat and I don’t know if I ever will. But last week I wrote what is probably going to be the biggest part of my novel in just a few pages.

The story is done, but the words have yet to be crafted to support it. I’m ready for this journey to start. My novel is about 88 pages long so far and I can’t wait to see what I’m going to reach with the outline I’ve created.

The above outline isn’t mine, but it looks like an awesome idea and I’d strongly suggest that you read the post it was published with.

Forums

One of my professors, Dr. Molly McCaffrey, suggested that I add a forum to IBW. This was at some point early in 2013 when I was still going to college and was actually able to see her on a regular basis. She’s passionate about her own blogging and writing projects along with her students and their goals in life.

Long story short, I’m once again thinking about her wise words and considering adding a forum to IBW.

I wanted to test the waters with all of you before I actually went through the process of choosing a plugin and getting it installed. So, please take a vote on this poll.

The idea for this forum is that it’ll be a place for writers who can’t meet in person to share their creative works and get good, constructive criticism from other writers and non-writers who read this blog. After years of having creative writing classes where my classmates and professors gave me amazingly helpful feedback, it’s strange not having that. I still have my loved ones to ramble at, but sometimes you need another writer to bite into what you’re doing with you writing.

I want this to be a safe place where writers can comfortably share their project ideas, short stories, poems, non-fiction, and pieces of larger works. For this to be a place of only constructive criticism without anybody being cruel towards a writer or their work, I’ll have to set up some rules and guidelines along with monitoring the forum myself.

Please respond to the poll below. If I’ve done what I intended to with it, it’ll expire in one month, so you have that time to vote.