[The Story] Horizontal Slice, October 2018

“For regular writers and published writers, it’s all about getting yourself into the habit of writing.[1]” Last week’s 6,000-word summary of “The Story” is the first in a quarterly exercise to provide readers with an overview of what to expect from my writing projects. This has been my plan: publish two short stories per week, developing the Sammohini Arc of “The Story,” while brainstorming the world, characters, and metaplot, but now, I have actionable goals.

Spoilers?: Minor (planning future fiction)

I’ve kicked this idea around for a while:

When I tell people about my writing, they’ll usually ask about my long-term plans. I’ve casually thrown out the idea that when I complete around 300 short stories, (all of which will be in the Sammohini Arc), then I’ll take the 50 that I like the most, or were the most well-received, and publish them. An eBook might be easier, but an actual book would be more satisfying – especially if I can print it to old-school paperback. I’m unsure of the details yet, but considering that I have 40-some short stories that I’ve liked enough to publish over on my deviantArt account, I’d say I’m making decent progress.

Give this goal another three years to fully develop, though.

At this pace of writing 500 words per day, I’ll reach that goal of having 300 acceptable to decent short stories in under three years, but the idea here isn’t that it’s a race to finish. It’s more about coaxing out the best material I can write, and over the course of three years, I should have plenty of opportunities to become more comfortable with my writing style. Right now I can easily write 500-word essays about certain topics, but fiction is a much harder beast to tackle. If I can become more comfortable in the fiction mindset, then I can crank out short stories enabling me to write my long story, “The Story.”

This is where tuning my metaplot will come in handy.

Last week’s vertical slice outlined, with as much detail as I could write over some 5 hours, the entirety of the plot of “The Story,” beginning with John and Trishna’s middle school and concluding at college graduation. To understand how that happens thoroughly, and to practice writing key scenes from the narrative, will go a long way toward solidifying the plot and making sure that details don’t go too far astray. These quarterly summary exercises will help me continually refine, and constantly recalibrating my priorities and intentions, so I can consistently generate content I’m not entirely dissatisfied with weeks later.

“Consistency is the key.[1]”

Over the course of the next three months, I might actually try writing one of the early key scenes from “The Story” – regardless of whether I post it or not, just to see how that exercise turns out. From how I imagine these scenes in my head and what I’ve been able to write so far, I know I still have years of progress.

But sometimes, it’s OK just to try.

Quotes: [1] Fred, a story adviser that I met at PAX SIX. We chatted today about the verticle slice and my plans.
Sources: The Story’s Imaginarium.
Inspirations: I wanted to summarize some of the highlights from the phone call.
Related: Essays building “The Story.”
Picture: Generic picture to save time.
Written On: October 28th [90 minutes]
Last Edited: No additional edits.
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.