Plotting to plot the plots: The Post-Procrastination plan: The third installment of the overly large blog titles series.

This is the way I am working on Book 2 of System War:

High level plot of the book arc, this includes the following:

The current situation – I.E. – what has happened since we last saw our heroes and villains. Spoilers below, not that anyone has read book 1.

Large Book Arc Points

An inciting incident occurs that spins out the stories for the rest of the book. The characters are scattered throughout the system. Each set of them is isolated by physical distance and separated. The common theme is they all have to rely on themselves, they can’t count on the others to save them. The weaving together of their individual plot arcs will occur after the climax of the story in the denouement. As in the first book, there will be a space battle with all our characters in various roles before they are all flung away from one another.

Detail of ‘Yellow Smoke Dancing’ by d.c.dear

The main starting point is event based; they are fighting a war and they must break a blockade. The main character in this arc must control her impulsive nature and realize that not everyone can be saved. This will fundamentally change her for the remainder of the series. Until now she has been able to save everyone.

The main love arc between two characters, doesn’t move forward in the traditional sense, because they are seperated. The frustration of absence and worry. There is no communication between them until the end of the book. Each of them focus on their given tasks to distract them from the seperation.

The environment or the universe arc is summed up with the following:
– The dangers of the Jovian Moon and traveling in deep space with no repair port near by. This is the outer danger, the danger of distance.

– The fear of the unknown as two characters discover a fundamental change in the universe, a mini disaster movie arc.

An Espionage/spy arc where characters have to be like spies and make contact with a foreign government, with no support.

/digression – The Bad Guys – yea they get an arc too.

Detail – Jupiter Rising – d.c.dear

The protagonists must weave their way around the successes of the heroes and then foil them. Even with the successes and sacrifices of heroes, the villians will be closer to winning the underlying contest of who will get interstellar travel and saving humanity from living in one solar system and more importantly who gets to survive. We will also learn why the protagonists are focused on escaping our solar system. The big reveal of ‘the evil’ at the end of the book will be the focus point of driving the third and final book.

/digressionend

These scenarios put pressure on the characters which will reveal more about them. Some will fail, some will overcome themselves and the roadblocks in front of them, some will remain the same.

Characters remaining the same. Why they are interesting.
The best example of a main character remaining the same that I have heard of and agree with is Conan the Barbarian. In each of the movies he is the same. There is no dynamic change in who or what he is. The characters around him change, he enables them to change by forcing them to looking inward or aiding in their external conflict.

Seems straight forward? For me examining the process and trying to write it becomes very difficult. The character has to be put under additional strain and pressure that would force them to change, to compromise or act differently. The tests must be harder than in the first book. It is this escalation and how it is managed that is difficult. If Conan fought 10 people at once, he must fight 100 people at once in the next conflict.

This should expose if the values of the character are true? What is the price to give in? For the Series this process must be escalated slowly. In the first book I tried to show her skills and abilities. Continually building her need to be better, to be smarter. Tougher problems. She must be jeopardized and more importantly, what she loves and holds near and dear must be directly attacked with the intent of compromising her.

At the same time the arc must be balanced against what is going to happen in the third book. This balance is often compromised by not being realistic. The Death Stars in Star Wars escalated out of control. Even for the Star Wars universe.


In the first book, the plot attacks on one of the main characters were focused on the external components of the character – can she lead her crew into battle? Is she a good tactician? In book two the focus will shift to the game of diplomacy and spy craft, something she is awful at and the underlying mystery of the character will be revealed. This answers the question: If she is such a great Space Ship Captain and military strategist, why was she dishonorably discharged from the Fleet? This of course leads to the question: Why tell us this now?

If the overarching point of the book series was about this character, then it would be inappropriate to resolve this plot in book two. Why read book three if main plot point is resolved? However, the answer to this question must be answered at some point as it is an implied promise to the reader. Secondly it is one of the mysteries in the series. Book Two must move the main arc of the series AND have a fundamentally satisfying resolution to a character arc.

Could this be handled in book three? Certainly? But at what cost? The pace of this book series is deliberate with the intent of the tension in various plot points to be satisfying, not a constant roller coaster. The action and anxiety may run for several chapters and scenes, but in the overall pacing I’ve tried to keep specific points where you get to see the characters recovering, being ‘normal’. Why? I’ve always enjoyed books that have done this. Who doesn’t like witty banter at a coffee shop? I mean really…it’s necessary…even in the Marvel universe – why else is there a Shawarma scene?

And that’s this weeks ramblings – return next week where I’ll write something – I hope – until then wash your hands and

Be Well…dcd

What is procrastination, let’s talk about it to avoid working on what we should be working on. Part Two of the Long Blog Title Series.

I don’t like the word procrastination, hate it actually. I think it is a ‘cheat’ word, well at least for me it is.

I’m lazy, and lack discipline is what I think in my head when I hear procrastination. Why is it I can’t do what I want to do? It makes no frickin sense. For some of you, you will never understand this. Others will be tired of hearing about this again. It can be so tiring to read about the same issue over and over again. I understand, remember this blog is self-indulgence for me, not you. Move along, there are better blogs for you to read today.

Are you looking at me?

/digression – I was going to write “Why can’t I do the right thing?” But I can’t use that phrase. It always reminds me of Spike Lee’s amazing film, “Do the Right Thing” (1989) If you haven’t watched this film, you should. In my opinion one of the greatest uses of the film/movie art form in the history of humanity.

You may wonder why I commented on the digression I had in my thought process. The title of the blog should explain why, the evil P word. Secondly I’m trying to use the blog as a process to get into the flow of writing. The stream of consciousness writing and not self-edit as I write the blog.

Second digression completed.

Part of this is tied to the concept ‘The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak’. Similar expressions are found in Islam and the rigors of the scientific method. I am not a scholar in any of these areas.

A crude analogy would be trying to change the course of a river that has run the same way for thousands of years. The river is solidly entrenched in the path it wants, the path of least resistance. Each erosion of the earth has been made to make the river’s journey easier.

Perseverance, Evaluate yourself honestly, Seek help in writing from others. Those are my answers today.

The problem with each of these answers is they require self-discipline or perhaps in my case, the correction of the easy habits, just letting my life run on auto-pilot. Everything around me now seems to revolve around the concept of how to change.

Dynamite or damming the river can change the course of the river. A little drastic, don’t you think? Some of the pools and eddies in the river are just fine, thank-you very much.

And I have successfully procrastinated, at least I’m good at something…

Cheers…dcd

Back to Blogging

I’ll hopefully be filing the space here on a regular basis to get the flow of typing/writing going again as I try and put some projects back online.

Goal is once a week with a new piece of art or photo for each blog. The focus of the blogs is undetermined at this time. There is a high probability that I will be using them to dump raw scenes or try out ideas that are once removed from a real idea I am writing on.

An example of this might be on writing pieces focusing on minute detail. What is the bird thinking about when eating a shelled seed? How did it shelled? Or ‘It’s about time he stopped putting the the shelled seeds out, aint nobody got time for shelling and thank the lord above he got a squirrel proof feeder finally.’

But none the less some free-style, blah, blah to get going.

Currently I’m listening to A Pattern of Shadow and Light by Melissa McPhail. It’s been a wonderful series. But today I want to comment on the narrator – Nick Podehl – he is amazing and actually the reason that I am listening to the series at all.

I was out of books to read and I want to keep on an Epic Fantasy Theme, because that seems to make me happy on my 36 minute commute. I searched his name and found Ms.McPhail’s series on Audible. While this may seem odd at first blush, it’s not to me. I liken it to watching all the movies by a specific director or actor. He does an tremendous job on all books he voices, which are quite a few.

I have to wonder what his real voice sounds like? Does he ever use his real voice.

Do any of us use our real voice or are we only imitating what we think we sound like? It’s common for people not to like their own voice once recorded and then played back for them. And that’s what this blog is about finding my voice in writing again. A voice that makes no sound but is an integral part of any writing.

Be Well…dcd

Escape Of The Circus Ponies

The whimsy of the song forced a small smile onto his face, despite all attempts to prevent it. For a while he let his head sway to and fro just listening to the song, not letting memories and melancholy of long ago overtake him.

Degas Remembered?

The furtive first line of the song, the hesitation before the escape was simply wonderful. A precis of the gentle bounding to come. Then, rather than a stampede of sound, the composer let a lyrical ride of notes cascade out and run around the listener.

Still he let himself just listen.

Solace.

He found solace in the song. Understanding now why he was listening to this song, this song from so long ago, when he was a different man. Comfort in time of distress. But what sorrowed him now? What was his distress?

He let his thoughts wander and drift where they may, relieved of all control or all purpose. Currents of movement, of where he wanted to be, of where he wasn’t.

“It’s time sir.” His aide said.

Taking in a deep breath, he open his eyes letting it out in a slow powerful, grounding action, his confidence returned.

Taken from: Memoirs Of The General by Aninka Kindly circa 14 N.E

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Escape Of The Circus Ponies is a real piece of music by Liz Story.

Memoirs of The General is a fictional book written about General Tanner Kindly.

Most of the time spent writing this was given over to finding the spelling of the word “precis”.

Degas Remembered? Is a real piece of art created by dcd.

Be Well…dcd

Routine and Writer and a lack of quotation marks.

She explained juggling was simple. He laughed, watching her keep five balls in the air. They fell like a fountain, cascading perfectly into her hand. Cascading, like her hair, her laughter. He loved his muse.

Inhaling her presence of wonder, her every word kept him in rap attention. A juggler, only catches one ball at a time, and throws one ball at time she said. You can catch one ball at a time. You can throw one ball at a time.

Tile Apr-2019

She threw him one ball, startled, he dropped it. A giggle escaped her lips. Still maintaining the balls in the air she knelt and picked it up.

Now you are ready? Try again, and she tossed the ball he caught it. They smiled. Next time use one hand, she chided him. She threw him another ball, but his hands were full, he dropped the first one and missed the second one.

Silly, juggling is throwing the balls up, not down. Again she picked up both balls. All the while juggling. He knew not to ask where all the balls were coming from. Muse’s were magic, and one did not ask such questions, lest the Muse leave.

He dropped the balls again. She took a deep breath, a wry smile crossing her face. She stopped juggling and the balls disappeared. One ball in her hand she tossed it to him. He caught it and tossed it back.

She didn’t throw it back. Instead, her eyes, the pools of his inspiration looked at him. Now you play catch, with yourself. First with two hands, then with one. Soon it will be routine and you will write regularly.

Write? I thought we were talking about juggling?

My silly human, what ever gave you that idea, this is a blog about writing.


Be Well…dcd

Butt In Chair

Rambling string of conscious blog done at high speed…

The singular most important action you can take as a writer, is to get your butt in the chair and write as often as possible. Good, Bad, Ugly, rambling, off topic, anything.

The habit of writing is an elusive lover, once found, you will cherish and safeguard. But like smoke, will escape in a careless moment, leaving the faint smell of missed opportunity and regret. I

If I had only written every day this week I’d be finished this chapter, story book.

Many people treat writing like a one night stand, fun, mysterious, dangerous…but not a commitment. Commitment, a foreign concept in today’s world sordid social media where many want to spread their hate as fast at the STD rate.

The dirty secret about commitment is it involves accountability. And is anyone accountable for anything today? We have excuses for everything. No one owns their mistakes, and if they do, they are considered weak.

All relationships go through struggles, the ups and downs not involving pleasure. Writing is no different for me.

Like a recovering alcoholic all writer’s need a support group. Find one.

Be Well…dcd

Painting and Writing

I’ve recently started experimenting with acrylic pour painting. Today’s blog focuses on one aspect that fascinates me , people like what I would paint over.

Not the one I was going to paint over.

I’m not going to try and explain what acrylic pour painting is. I’ll show you a couple of examples. If you are interested, a simple search on the ‘u Tubes will show you more than you ever wanted.

The whole fam damily tries it out.

As you can see the results are highly varied and each person likes or dislikes the paintings as they see fit. One of the components of this painting style is, if you don’t like it, you can easily paint over it. This takes us to our point: Don’t paint over what other people like.

I made a piece that I didn’t like. Getting ready to paint over it, my spouse said, “What? That’s beautiful, don’t paint over it.” Shocked I said, “But I don’t like it.”

Then I stopped. Everyone’s taste is different. People appreciate different aspects of abstract painting. I showed it to a second person, who didn’t know the reaction of the first person. They liked it. I can’t understand why these people like this piece. I doubt I ever will. But it caused me to think if I do the same thing in my writing.

Have I scrapped or trashed scenes because I won’t like them in real life? I have a tendency to avoid the awkward squeamish scenes from ‘reality’ tv shows. Have I avoided writing the super embarrassing confrontation because I wouldn’t like it in real life? Even now, years removed from a situation, I cringe at my actions, and naivete. Even though it’s the perfect example of what I’m talking about, I can’t write about it.

From what I have read, and talking to other authors, there comes a time when you don’t like what you’re writing. It’s all garbage, I can’t write, why am I even doing this writing thing? Stop and get some perspective. This may mean giving it to someone else to read, or just shelving it for two weeks until you are in a better frame of mind.

My favorite is, “I hate the PoV, I’m going re-write it.” Next time, consider, maybe the PoV is fine, and you’re just squeamish about having to submit it. Or afraid of being rejected. To the best of my knowledge, to be an author means dealing with rejection from publishers, editors, agents. It’s part of the writing process. Embrace it.

You’re not always right about your own art, at least I’m not.

Be Well…dcd