Floundering in a Sea of What-Ifs

These last few days I’ve been stuck on an issue. The next chapter of my current project, “Hollow Grove: The Grim History,” is when I have to bring a lot of pieces together but I’m getting stuck on how to tell it and who should tell it.

“The Grim History” is a dark fantasy mystery set in Hollow Grove, a town within the Texas Republic in the early 1840s.  Sebastian Calderòn is brought in by the town’s founder, Goodwine Hollow, to become the official record keeper and discovers more about its history and the darkness that hovers about it.

The story will be told from multiple perspectives. Up till this point in the drafting process, there’s been two: Sebastian Calderòn’s (personal journals and eyewitness accounts) and Isadora Lynton’s (private diaries). More will be incorporated as the story progresses and I’ve been toying with the idea of mixed written mediums. The latter is more of a vague concept at this stage but I’m jotting down ideas. Other than the various perspectives, there’ll be official records like census records, death accounts, doctor’s notes,  and first & third person accounts from “unknown” persons. At this moment, I only have a story outline that I’ve deviated a lot from already. The original arc’s 12 chapters are now 17 (and counting).

And now I’m stuck. I’m contemplating how to tell a certain event. I’m at the point of saying screw it all and just writing whatever comes. That’s my normal process. Write whatever and loathe it entirely. The benefit of this approach is that I get a better idea of what I don’t want to do. It’s better than floundering in an endless sea of what-ifs.

Helpful Writerly Links

Happy Monday, everyone!

It’s a fresh week and a fresh start. And to start off the week I’ll be sharing helpful links to writing, history, and other things I found interesting. Hopefully, they’ll be as informative and/or entertaining to you as I found them. This last week I’ve been really looking into Serial Fiction and publishing.

Enjoy!

9 Pieces of Bad Publishing Advice New Writers Should Ignore by Anne R Allen

Shit I Wish I’d Known Before Starting a Web-novel by Drew Hayes

4 Reasons to Write Serial Fiction by Tom Farr (Writing Cooperative)

Ultimate Guide: How to Write A Series by Writer’s Edit

The Chaos of Thoughts & A Mountain

I’ve been struck by a bolt of lightning this month. With the rains and flooding happening in my state, it was bound to happen eventually. Now the ghosts of stories’ past visit me in my sleep. And I can’t introduce a topic without metaphor and prose. Tis the tragedy of an addled brain.

But in all seriousness, creatively I’ve hit a bit of a stride. For over a year, the voices in my head refused to speak to me. Mutters and stutters of thought sometimes broke through but what they offered was always disappointing. I wrote but then I looked back on what I wrote and hated it. I carved away chunks–a scene here, some dialogue there, maybe a few chapters and an outline–but I always looked up at the mountain. It was tall, imposing, it’s peak somewhere hidden in the clouds. And knowing what I had to do compared to what was done was disheartening and writing hurt physically.

But these past few weeks have been productive. I’ve been focusing on my Grim History project surrounding the town of Hollow Grove. It’s been through a bunch of name changes. First, “Notes of An Outsider”, to “Dark & Grim Lore of Early Hollow Grove”. I settled on Hollow Grove: A Grim History but that too might change. I’m about 78% okay with it which compared to the others is better.

A part of my malaise was because I had a tendency to chuck chapters wholesale. My revisions became rewriting without referencing the first draft at all outside of major plot beats. So I completely discounted the months of work past me did because present me was pretentious.

Instead of that, when I gave Grim History a second look, I decided to incorporate elements from the multiple drafts of it. Not copying and pasting them wholesale. I had it opened in a second window while I typed what I liked on the other. It allowed me to fill in the holes from the first draft and incorporate ideas that I have now after the story marinated itself in my head for a year and a half. Right now, I’m 12 parts in and still going strong.

I also had to remind myself that what I’m working on doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to exist first.

So that’s the update this week.