writing process tagged posts

The Longest Way Down: the process

November 24, 2016 Writing  One comment

Anthony's story had been percolating in the back of my mind ever since The Charm Necklace. 

I had some ideas. I knew that he would find a girl standing on the ledge of a building about to jump. That he would try to save her by taking her on a road trip. That he would try to save himself by saving her. I knew that he had issues. That she had issues. That they would go to the Grand Canyon. 

I totally had this plan where I was going to follow this writing process called The Snowflake Method. There's like twelve steps where you completely flesh everything out prior to writing a word. You know what's going to happen where, why, in detail. 

So I started by doing a month of research prior to writing. I wanted to do both character's mental states justice, aside from drawing

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The Longest Way Down: the inspiration

November 17, 2016 Writing  No comments

May 2013    I saw The Place Beyond the Pines. It's a mediocre indie film where Ryan Gosling plays this stunt motorcycle rider covered in tattoos (no, I didn't really buy it either). In the film, he has a teenage son. I don't remember the particulars, but I just remember being so struck by how lost this boy was. He looked so sad and broken, like he was just trying to find his way.

Would he find his way? What would that look like? Could another person, a girl, save him?

The spark was lit. 

December 2013    Started listening to Twenty One Pilots album Vessel. Fell in love with their song The Run and Go. I loved the lyrics, the tension, the angst. 

I can't take them on my own, my ownPa, I'm not the one you know, you knowI have

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The moments that stay with you

September 29, 2016 Writing  No comments

It’s funny, the moments that mark you, stay with you, without you even realizing it at the time.

And when you're a writer, those moments, often make it into your work. Mostly out of a need to understand them, form them into some kind of coherent meaning. Sometimes just to commemorate them, remember them, write them down. These are two of the moments from my life that made it into Running to Stand Still. 

 

The sky, an open wilderness above me, took my breath away.The scene where Collin takes Jamie out onto the ice in Chapter 16. 

I don’t remember at which point in the drafting process I added this scene—I think it was during the second draft. I know for sure it wasn’t there in the first—but I remember that when I wrote it,

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Let’s get meta: on the revision process

September 8, 2016 Writing  No comments

“When you’re writing a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.” - John Gould according to Stephen King in On Writing

Just as the themes changed as the story developed, so too did the scenes and characters.

There is the story the readers get, and the story the writer knows.

In the first draft, Charlie was this brick wall hard-ass. He was immovable. Impenetrable. To the point that you were left wondering why Jamie even cared at all. He was, as the lingo goes, unsympathetic. Maybe he still is, but at least in the final version, he has some redeeming qualities.

And so, I guess what I’m trying to get at is, that while he is now more fully

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The story I thought I was writing, and the story I actually wrote

September 1, 2016 Writing  No comments

“The true subject of your story emerges as your characters encounter obstacles and make choices. The subject is often a surprise.” - The Story Within, Laura Oliver

When I first started writing this story, I thought it was going to be a story about how you don’t have to be where you came from. That you can rise above your circumstances and create the life you want to have.

But then, as I worked through the layers of the story, new themes emerged. The story wasn’t about ambition, it was about how shadows get twisted up inside your head. It was a story about rewriting lies into truths. How the behaviors and beliefs that once enabled you to survive become maladaptive once you’re out of danger. About trauma, both singular and prolonged. How parents actions

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Figuring out this whole writing process thing the second time around

August 20, 2014 Writing  No comments

I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.  Saul Bass

My first novel came out two months ago, and after a short (shorter than I intended anyways, because I was going fucking insane) hiatus, I am starting my next project. And now that I've been through the ringer once, I'm trying something different this time ...

The first time around I reworked the draft as I went. If I wrote a chapter a week, I would write the first half one day. The next day I'd come back and reread and rework that material before devising new material. And then the next day I would rework that. I was continuously reworking as I wrote. I enjoyed this process, honestly.

But this time, I think I'm gonna try to hold back on the reworking as I write. This time, I'm going to

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