[2019 Novel] Scope of Work

Writing isn’t this mysterious thing. We over-complicate the whole process maybe out of a sense of wanting the whole experience to be more magical than it really is. The writing process is merely getting from the beginning of the idea to the end of the idea. If you don’t have the idea fully formed, you can’t write to it. Let’s consider some generic scoping for planning any project, then explore how I’ll scope this “2019 novel.”

The most common story in literature is the beginning, middle, and end story.

We start with the premise in the beginning. “In a world where all is right, Anthony thinks about how he wants to write a novel.” The middle is when the change begins to happen. “Anthony then decides to start writing.” The end has the climax and conclusion. “Anthony wrote the novel.” If you don’t know where your story starts and ends, you’ll probably fail, unless you understand your characters so thoroughly that you’re writing a fictionalized journalistic report on their journey, and even then, why don’t you give yourself a pass and allow yourself one of a few possible endings to write to based on how the characters act or react?

Now here’s where I take a detour to talk about scope and statements of work.

Corporate America is rife with work to be done between companies. I recently reviewed a statement of work with a vendor. He verified he did everything correctly by his company’s protocols, I verified I did everything correctly by my company’s protocols, so when he ran into unforeseen issues, and I validated that the issues were not personnel issues like him doing the work incorrectly, we addressed the technical issues that were preventing his job from being complete. This sort of red-tape exists when a vendor is paid a certain amount of money to do a task correctly.

Why shouldn’t we borrow from other disciplines when we write?

My writing outline will be a statement of work for the project that I will perform for my readers. For project management, any ad-hoc project must begin and end, I’m partial to Bruce Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development model: Forming, [Brain]Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. If the challenge is writing a novel in one month, 30 days, then isn’t the act of writing just the act of “performing,” after which we’ve already formed our ideas, brainstormed any sort of major or minor hurdles, and normed our writing patterns? If people have implemented massive technical infrastructure changes to multi-billion dollar companies and if people can make games in 48 hours, then we can write a novel in 30 days, but only if we “get over ourselves” and leave our egos at the doors of reality. All we’re doing is dipping our toes into a metaphysical creative unknown, fishing for unknowns, and releasing those metaphysical creatives into this world.

Nothing special.

How will I go about this? After addressing any predictable factors and preparing my tools, I’ll next form the foundation of this project.

I will write 30 short stories with a minimum of 2,000 words in the Sammohini Arc of “The Story.” Since I have already explored some of these characters in a number of 500-word short stories, I won’t need to worry about figuring out some of these characters, which is a problem for some writers figuring out their characters. Most of these characters have floated around in this nebulous unknown creative pool of metaphysical unknowing for at least a year, two for more than twenty, and I have easy access to explore The Story’s Imaginarium of my creativity.

What are these 30 stories about? Until November 1, I’ll be thinking about story topics, until I get thirty stories that I’m happy enough with to dig into once the month begins. All of these short stories will take place at Eville Medical, featuring Sammohini as the main character solving troubleshooting problems as a computer repair technician, and most will have some mystery angle. Whether that’s some sort of technical issue or something more is the big unknown that I’d rather spend the next eight days ironing out. I’ll be telling all of these stories in chronological – or close – order, so while the short stories may be fairly independent, they could still work as a singular novel.

There are certain assets, to borrow game jam terminology, that will be common to all of the short stories. I should know the layout of Eville Medical inside and out – how many stories will it have? what color are the ceilings? what patterns do the floor tiles have? – along with the characters – who are they? why are they still working there? I don’t want to sacrifice too much sleep or downtime to let my brain rest throughout November, so I should use the time I have to figure out the major assets beforehand. They can change throughout the writing process, of course, however it’s not good to change too much without valid reasons. If I get to November 15th and decide I’d rather write a novel about a fish, well I’m already too far along into this idea as of this writing, so that would just be irresponsible, but if I want to change the floor tiles in a certain wing of Eville Medical, sure, why not?

I will only have about three hours each workday of solid writing time. I can chip away at the word count on breaks and such, but that’s the same as doing one push-up versus a  15-minute rowing set.

When I’ve completed my daily word count or short story, I’ll upload my writing, address any obstacles I’ll need to overcome either in my writing or my life, then use the rest of the day to prepare. As fast as I write for as long as I’ve written, I’m no machine, I just can see through the veneer and realize that the reason why we hesitate and procrastinate is that we over-complicate.

Get over yourself.

Go write your novel.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences; specifically, project management classes I’ve taken.
Inspirations: All the NaNoWriMo material I read is inspirational and motivational. This was a cynical and cantankerous essay, only because I’ve always considered this event to be a chance to pretend to be a writer. What if you just go write? So I thought about that and decided to take some of the piss out it. You’re writing fiction, not solving medical mysteries.
Related: Other 2019 Novel writings.
Picture: Does your scope include art? If not, don’t let scope creep get out of control.
Written On: October 24th, 2019 [56 minutes, from 2:42am to 3:08am at “Nothing special.” Then, from 3:17am to 3:47am, as my thoughts went less cynical and more technical; WordPress.]
Last Edited: October 24th, 2019 [First draft; final draft for the Internet.]
My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.