My daughter spent the day and night with my parents, and my wife had work followed by a long training class, which left me free to work on Vampires Versus Comicon. I got a lot of work done, though it wasn’t exactly the work I was hoping for.
Vampires Versus Comicon
And so it begins: Vampires Versus Comicon, an epic battle pitting the survivors of Zombies Versus Comicon against a new threat: vampires of some kind.
When I opened my project file in the morning, I was surprised to find how thin it was. I thought I had more of the story developed. Basically, all I had done was a list of characters (mostly just the survivors from ZVC) and a list of interesting plot ideas. A short list.
So, I had designs on starting at Chapter 1, Scene 1, and writing away, and I actually did open the file to that place and put my fingers on the keys. But, right away, I figured that wouldn’t work.
The problem is I don’t know anything at all about what this vampire scourge might look like. One vampire? Lots of them? Do victims die? Why would victims be kept at Comicon instead of taken to the hospital, and why can’t the authorities simply handle everything?
I am told that some people start with a blank page and start typing, and they figure it all out as they go. I am told that they are surprised at what happens, so obviously readers must be surprised, too, and that their subconsciouses magically connect all the threads to weave a fantastic tale.
I am not sure that I believe that.
Here’s what I know (or at least, what I believe) is true for me about writing without an idea of where I am going: If I don’t know what I am writing, much of what I write is unusable junk, and I will inevitably have to go back and make big, clunky changes when I figure things out. If I am figuring things out as I go along, the pages are littered with things that developed away from my initial ideas, and I will be lucky if I can find all the earlier places to make them match what the story turned into by the end. Also, if I don’t know what is going on when I start writing, few details are explored or highlighted.
In contrast, when I am working from an outline, I end up with very little waste, I find that details are mostly correct and consistent from the start, and I am comfortable in fleshing out details without fear of focusing on the wrong thing.
Most importantly, when I am figuring things out as I go, my writing speed tends to be 300-500 words per hour, with a max burst close to 800 words per hour. In contrast, when I am writing from an outline, I can cruise at 1000 words per hour and hit bursts of 1500-1800 words per hour.
So, I decided that my first task for VVC is to figure out what the story looks like. I worked on that, and it went really well. By the end, I wasn’t quite done figuring it out, but I was close.
And it was turning into a really fun and cool book.
Angel of Death
I thought about how I might complete the release of Angel of Death, and I leaned toward taking more time. The way that it was rearranged as it was written has me concerned that it might not be exactly what I think it is, and I think I might want to do a review of it before the proofreading stage. I haven’t decided for sure yet, but I probably will. Unfortunately, I won’t have time to do that until after Vampires Versus Comicon is complete.
Anyway, it’s not firmly decided yet.