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Event 7

The Straight Bar

Artifact 5 

In early documents, Abigail's drafts were littered with strange choices in capitalization. When questioned about them, in some cases, Abigail corrected the error saying a confusion from German to English noun rules. In some cases though, she fought tooth and nail that some capitalization choices were absolutely grammatically correct and at one point, called her editor and agent at four in the morning threatening to jump out of a window if they didn’t leave the capitalization just as she wrote it. Since a lot of paychecks depended on Abigail writing more books, she was talked off the ledge both literally and figuratively and her strange capitalization was left in place.

At times, writing for Cash can be soul crushing. The weight of satisfying the needs of others, stifling your muse, and crushing down your creative spark in favor of the needs and requests made by Cash and his cronies can be murder to the creative soul. After enough projects for Cash, you’re left feeling morally bankrupt, and only slightly not financially so. 

But we must all write for Cash sooner or later. That’s the alter. We’re supplicant. 

So what do you do when you have to write for Cash and can’t write for Self? 

You seed your writing with things that please you. You time travel. You slip in messages to yourself that maybe only you will understand. Of course, Cash will understand. Luckily, Cash only cares about his own requirements, and so he will ignore a lot. This is particularly if you have to write love letters and not have your husband/wife/monster see them. Cash will pass along your message now and into the future with none the wiser. 

In this way, Cash is your ally. Take advantage of him in this way, because he will take advantage of you in a million other ways. This is also called life. 

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Event 6

The Sexy Lamp

Monster her alarm bells rang. Dangerous, fuckable, Monster! 
This was the point, Diana would later look back on, and realize things were about to get complicated. 

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Event 5

Vic is/will be kind of amazing. Promise. 

Artifact 4 

Early in the draft, as well as at the the end of the writing ‘Writing for Cash’, Abigail’s editors would often send back sections with notes voicing their concern. “What does this even mean? Abi, I don’t know who you’re writing this for, but it isn’t for the average budding writer. This is weird.”  Abigail outright refused to rewrite these sections, indicating it would all make sense when the book was finished.

The book went unfinished, so far as her agent and editor ever knew.

The common theory is that writing ‘in public’ is a dangerous habit. That you want to do your first draft with the door closed. There’s a wisdom there, because you may be muddying your waters, or blowing your wad. You may give yourself away before you add the polish and fill in the plot holes and pay the editor. The first draft you write tends to include too many in-jokes, goes the theory. Messages to your lover or your husband or your best beta reader. Stuff you’ll strip out before the ‘wrong’ person reads it. They suggest that order matters, and that you’re going to move things around before you're finished, kill off plot cul-d-sacs and erase characters that didn’t add anything to the story. Most legitimately, you run the risk of over using your beta readers, as they can only see the story for the first time once. 
The problem is, this assumes a story goes from beginning to end and then you’ve got everything! I find that in life and in writing, there is no beginning or end. Just a lot of middles that blend into one another. The memories that last, these little chunks of life and moments float in and out of a story’s ‘plot’ the way a dandelion puff floats past on a warm spring day. Sometimes a little girl blows it at you, sometimes it just floats by thanks to wind and nature and other more imaginary things like God and unicorns. 
The parts that matter, the things you write out of order, they get it the way of a straightforward narrative. They don’t care about the heros' journey, because their messages come out of time and space and get in your face when it’s time. So the piece that looks like it’s blown your load when your beta reader gets it too soon may just be a facet of the story before that chunk, that artifact, came into being. The moments that matter don’t obey, don’t care about Campbell or Shakespeare or your Freshman year short-story professor. They obey no master but inspiration and need for their existence to return to the forefront of your mind. Asides, side tracks, flashbacks and flash forwards seem like chaos, but that’s because you are trained to read with order in mind. If you instead, allow the story to tell you itself without the limits of temporal order or beats or patterns or whatever they taught you in college, you look at the story from a fourth dimension, almost. Out of time and out of space. 
And once you’re out of time and out of space, you can really start to SEE what’s actually happening. 

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Event  4

Like I said, this one is a long one (compared) and took me a while to get into shape. But yay for picking up speed. Or something. 

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I snuck in another five hundred words, but as I suspected, this scene is going to be longer than the others. You get a feel for these sorts of things.  Anyway, earlier, I stole some time to hangout with +John Adamus while he talked a bunch about plot and plotting and generally cheered on writing and writers of all stripes. 

John's advice rang very true to me, was well thought out. He suggests a Tree style of plotting. (I figure since I shared you my index card method, I'd give you another option!) His method's a lot of fun, very visual, and really focuses on making choices and exploring those choices and dead ends. I hope you enjoy some or all of it. Good stuff. 

Nothing new on the story end of things right now. The next scene I'm working on is going to run long. (Maybe 1500? At least a 1000.) It'll also kick off the next big story element. 

So I thought I'd drop a note about the Index Card method for doing scenes. Because it's a lot of fun. (Though I'm doing a modified version for this project because this project is strange.) 

Basically, what you do, is buy a stack of index cards, maybe some multi colored markers then do some math. First you decide how many scenes (not chapters) you need. This is important events that have to take place. I've mentioned the math of that, but you might run your scenes longer, 1500 for example's a nice number. Then, you look for some other way to brake up your story. Perhaps by focus characters? (Two leads and three support characters?) Perhaps by plotline? (This novel has a main story and two other lines running through that main line, so I'd have three.) Then you weight them. So if you have 200 scenes and three storylines, perhaps a 100 go to the main storyline, and the other two get fifty each.  

Divide up your index cards accordingly. 

Then, you just start writing down shit that would be awesome. Shit that you know needs to happen. Shit that you are EXCITED to write. Whatever. There are no wrong answers this early in the game, so aim high and be ambitious and have a blast with it. Don't worry about order or how you get from one scene to the next or logic or reason or anything dull like that. Just go crazy. 

THEN you annoy your spouse/roommate/cat by clearing off all the space on the floor. Or take down all your Bad Religion posters and get some scotch tape, because it is organization time! Start laying out your scenes and moving them around until a natural order of events starts to fall into place. For now, try not to throw out any scenes, even if they seem silly. You can cull them later. For know, you're still reaching out and wide and seeing how far you can stretch your story without breaking it. I usually go by subgroup first to determine order of events, (each plot seperatly) and then start weaving the subgroups together as they would logically fit. 

Now, I've taken up lots of space, have worked out a very rough time line, and have lots of crazy ideas for scenes to use or throw out as I make a tighter more formal outline. There's something very satisfying to me to do it so physically. You should try it. 

If you outline books, (finished or not) have you done anything like this? Have a favorite book where you can see how a method like this might have been used? (Or should have been used?) Drop comments! Tell me! 

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