Monday, July 17, 2017

Combustion engine: Fortnight 12 of The Burns

Double rainbow, Andy Bay
Wordcount for Fortnight #12: 14,262 words

  • 1st week: 8,214 (6 writing days)
  • 2nd week: 6,048 (3 full writing days, 2 abbreviated days thanks to sick kids)
  • 90% on the novel. The rest on this blog.

Sick kids suck, but all in all: Good numbers. As in:

  • the most productive fortnight so far (beating Fortnight #5 - 12,320 words)
  • 8,000 words in the 1st week is more than a number of fortnights so far. The most pleasing thing is that most of it was spent on the novel.

And the quality? Meh.

But I am looking forward to butchering these chapters when I'm done with the first draft (or get further into it) and know which bits are necessary evils and which are just plain evil. And if I keep writing 6000+ words a week, I'll be butchering sooner than you can say, 'Doog tish'.

Hail on the beach, St Clair

A word or five about 'outspiration'

If you Google 'outspiration' you get a bunch of outdoorsy types using it as a shorthand for 'outdoor inspiration'.

But I'm using it as the opposite of 'inspiration'. (Yeah, I concede it's kinda dumb, but it'll do for now).

And I'm not talking about 'discouragement' or 'demoralisation' or 'outcome' or any of the other 232 antonyms for 'inspiration' listed online.

I mean those things that MIGHT have inspired you, had they existed before you created your THING, but they didn't. Your thing came first, and the potential inspiration came second.
Outspiration (n)
When one of your ideas comes true before you finish your book (and no matter how much you say you came up with the idea first, readers will always experience your idea through the thing that really happened in their past)


In my Location Scout novel (in progress), I have a young filmmaker who is offered the chance to direct a big Hollywood film that is important to a Sci-Fi franchise, only to be removed from the project in the early days of principal photography.

Then in June, Phil Lord and Chris Miller were removed/fired from the Han Solo standalone Star Wars movie.

Directors (especially emerging ones with a clear aesthetic) being removed from big budget projects is not unheard of. I mean, the director of Rogue One was sidelined / removed right at the end of production of that film, so it's not even the first time it's even happened in the Disney-era of Star Wars (NB: I only learnt about this through articles about Lord and Miller getting shitcanned).

The important thing is to note is that my book won't come out until probably 2019 (touch wood), at which point the Lord/Miller firing will be old news and people might assume this was a source of inspiration. No. It was outspiration -- the only link between my book and their firing was maybe my negative vibes made their way to Kathleen Kennedy who woke up one morning and said, 'Yes, I should fire those guys!'

Sorry, Phil. Sorry Chris.


In the same novel-in-progress I also have a successful Hollywood director who has a passion project that he has been talking about for decades but hasn't been able to make yet. He's about 10 years younger than Martin Scorsese, but he's an Italian-American filmmaker from New York, so you're more than welcome to think Scorsese-esque thoughts when reading about my fictional filmmaker.

When I started working on the novel and building up ideas about this Italian-American director, it was 2015. I didn't know about Scorcese's forever-delayed film Silence. I only found out about it at the start of 2017 when it was snubbed for the Oscars and then came out in cinemas here (wherein I watched it).

I saw Silence when I'd written only about 10% of the first draft, so there could be ways it works itself into the text (I'm skeptical), but it most certainly didn't influence the fact that my book would have a Hollywood director finally getting to make his religiously-themed passion project. All of that was locked in before I knew about Silence.

What does it all mean?

I'm not saying I'm psychic. Or even that original. I build my plots around central ideas/problems and/or characters and overtime they gather other elements like a massive lint roller used to tidy a kid's bedroom, and then I start to write.

Aside: most often for me the lint roller is an idea - like a window dresser who raises his children to be living mannequins - that comes first; but sometimes it's a character - like the annoying best friend in The Location Scout who I knew instantly and then things like being a e-sports shoutcaster and former shut-in stuck to him.

The things that stick to the lint roller tend to be unoriginal things (a director getting fired from a big budget movie), and therefore likely to happen again in the real world either while writing the book or after publication. The challenge it to make your book original in the way you piece everything together (much the same way as you use words and punctuation to make fresh and exciting sentences... unless you're blogging).

There are a hundred other things in my part-finished first draft that could 'come true' before I finish. If all hundred happen, even then, I'm not fucked (though some of the magic will certainly be called into question). If they all happen to a small group of people, and their story gets told in a semi-narrative way... well, then I'm fucked.

But what are the chances of that??

No comments: