Sunday, January 7, 2018

What You Don't See

art: the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.
 - Edgar Allen Poe

A remarkable amount of work goes into writing a story, even if it ends up being one that I never finish. And the longer and more involved it gets only serves to multiply (if not exponentiate) the amount of work and thought that has to go into progressing the plot.

It's no small wonder, then, that I turn to other means than merely writing more "chapters" to generate ideas.

But I hate outlines. Some people love them, some people require them for any sort of writing project. Generally, I have an idea of where I'd like to go, and the rest is done by the seat of my pants. If to achieve the goal it should take me ten sentences or ten pages or ten chapters, then that is how long it will be. Usually, that means there's no more wordage than necessary (too much fluff is as bad as too much cotton candy), which does well in places with no length guideline, but poorly where one exists (like NaNoWriMo).

So I use other tools instead.

Among those is alternate histories. I take a piece of the story that's already written, change some key points of the situation, and re-write the chapter. This re-write is kept, never discarded, but doesn't make it into the streamlined plot (unless I'm building a CYOA), and rarely sees the light of day, but for one exception.

If the alteration is erotic in nature (bet you didn't see that coming), those do get released. It's something of an open secret that I write that sort of material, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a blatant link to it on one of my pages (outside a teaser/preview on TIMM). But the stress of the exceedingly unusual situations my characters go through is enough for me to learn them better.

When you strip them down to the bone, so to speak, you see the strength (or weakness) of their character all the more clearly. And the more clearly I can see them, the easier I can write them, present them to the world, and navigate them through my plot. When I truly understand a character, I no longer have to worry about figuring out how they'll react to something new, because the embodiment of their personality in my head behaves just as they would the moment I consider a new situation.

Most recently, that applies to FINCI: From the Internal Narrative of Callidus Igni, which has also received the honor of being featured in my first attempt at running a webcomic, which you can find at