Today’s A-Z Challenge post is perfect for Thoughty Thursday, but we’re doing it one day later cuz we were having too much fun with our Panty Politics yesterday.
I’ve had a sick toddler at home for two days now, but I have to tell y’all, I’m on a quest.
I’ve been on a quest since Monday to yank one of my stories out and get it on the page.
I’m in a Fast Draft challenge with 8 other peeps and we’re all keeping each other focused and accountable.
We practically took VOWS for goodness sake: In sickness and in health, in storms or good weather, amidst home construction and sick toddlers…you will check in each day and tell us about your progress.
And it’s working…I’ve got almost 13,000 words in so far this week and it’s only Thursday night as I write this. Who knows where I’ll be today on Friday when this post goes live?
And why is my quest different this week, besides all the support I’m getting?
My motivation is different.
I’ve been reading Lisa Cron’s Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers From The Very First Sentence and here’s a quick excerpt from the course she teaches at UCLA called “Inside Story”:
It often comes as a surprise to writers that the most important element in storytelling is not plot, voice, theme, place, topic, or even beautiful writing. While undeniably important, all these things put together won’t get you anywhere without one key ingredient: A mounting sense of urgency.
The single most important thing a story must instantly instill is the burning desire to know what happens next.
And here’s another surprise: It’s not the “what happens” that hooks us, it’s how “what happens” affects someone who we care about – that is, the protagonist – that must have us at hello.
I’m doing my Fast Drafting in conjunction with a group that made me figure out a clear story summary before I began and I have it in front of me as I write, in case I forget what the story is about.
It’s making my stakes clearer, this story summary. And it’s keeping the character goal at the center of my mind at all times.
Yes, I’m doing some other woo-woo stuff: certain scents I sniff before I begin, creative projects that I complete when I get stuck and rituals that I’m making around my writing time. But really…I’ve tried woo-woo before.
The three main things helping me in my current quest for story are this:
- I read the first few chapters of Lisa Cron’s book right before I started.
- I’ve got my story summary in front of me.
- I’m only writing in timed 15 minute sprints.
Say what? Fifteen minutes??!
Seriously, that’s my writing sprint base time. I keep going if I’m on a roll, which I often am. But 15 minutes is allowing me to sit down without expectation or judgement and just bang out words without fear.
There’s no time for fear. I’ve only got FIFTEEN MINUTES.
Anyway, I’m at the top of Act 2 right now and my heroine has just hit her point of no return. I’ve got to go throw her to the
porn stars dogs now and see how she does.
What helps you in your Quest for Story? Do you have woo-woo or rituals that you’d like to share? What helps drive you to “The End?” Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!