I have a trick for starting the writing process, and I’m happy to share it.
This evening, a member of the Marlowe Kana Discord channel was discussing writing his novel. He needed help around some writer’s block. The discussion became my first-ever “Tweet Storm” or whatever that is.
In the spirit of sharing what I’ve learned the last few years about writing, I’m sharing it here as well:
Writer’s block? Let me help:
Character is [situation]. She must [ACTION], BUT [thing]. THEREFORE she must [action]. As a result, [thing] happens BUT [other thing], THEREFORE [thing]. And THEREFORE, [thing] As well, but [obstacle].
There. Fill in the blanks & have a first draft.
I learned a long time ago to stop being self conscious about my process. Do what fucking works.
whiteboard shit. Pseudocode your formula, and put your story in it. Break that formula whenever it doesn’t quite apply. Make a new formula.
Storytelling follows structure for a reason: because our brains fucking like it, the EXACT same way 95% of all top 100 songs in all of history follow a ABACAB format.
it tickles our brain.
and never confuse story STRUCTURE with PLOT. it’s not the same thing. Structure is how you deliver the plot.
same as confusing a car with a trip… You use a car to take the trip.
But the trip is the good stuff. no one cares if you use the same car to take 10 different trips.
later, as a mechanic or technician, feel free to go fuck up structure and go crazy. Like instead of taking a car on vacation, ride your bike there. Same idea.
harder. less conveinent. WAY more of a challenge. VERY rewarding. No one will fucking applaud you, because you’re 6 days late and you look like shit. but it’s awesome that you did it and they’ll admire the effort.
so by all means, eshew that 3 act hero’s journey for a 5 act greek tragicomedy or fuck it, kill structure altogether. GO dadist. Whatever.
but know this: When the vacation is a 10 day all you can eat sushi fest in Tokyo, no one gives a fuck what airline you used to fly there.
and they ceratinly don’t care if you use that same airline to fly them on another dream vacation to go halibut ice fishing in alaska, and then again to go be the lotion guy at an all model topless beach or whatever.
trust me, they Just. Won’t. Care. ]