Passion Project Update No. 1

In the last week, I have done the easy part of my project, mostly. It’s the part I don’t mind doing. It’s the part I use to procrastinate on the part that’s hard.

I’ve been reading about writing.

Pinterest is my ultimate sandbox of buried treasure. I can look at my regular feed, which is a mix of recipes, teaching tools – mostly digital – and articles about writing. If I want to feel like I’m being productive, I put writing in the search bar and get such suggestions as writing ideas, writing tips, writing inspiration, writing prompts, and writing process. I can go on from there to look at blog posts, articles and graphic illustrations on anything from writing great villains to plotting to how to handle that first chapter. I pinned a few articles. I read a few that didn’t rate pinning.

One of the more interesting articles was about figuring out where to start your story. My plan is to start over on a project I did for NaNo last year. I had plotted it out, first in a notebook, just jotting down scenes as I saw them, then I moved them onto a Google spreadsheet. This allowed me to lump them into chapters, which were then lumped into three sections of the book. Since I’m playing with alternating narrator points of view, I have a column for the POV character, too. I had a column for links to articles that were helpful when I developed that scene.

But last year I only got to, like, 4400 words, and the goal is 50,000. Over the year, I tried to get enthused about working on it, even starting over – don’t remember why I thought that was a good thing. What I eventually figured out was that I was mired in the beginning of the story, which I thought was necessary, but it was really those scenes later on that I was interested in delving into.

That recent article I read gave me permission to start the story in a later scene and allow my protagonist to slowly relate the “backstory” as it becomes necessary. Said it would give a little “mystery” to the character, and I liked that idea.

But then I had to figure out which scene to start with. After several evenings of torturing myself, I realized there wasn’t an absolutely right answer, and no matter where I started, I just needed to start. I can always revise later. So I started. I may have only gotten 453 words, but considering I’ll need about 12,500 words per week, I knew I needed a head start. After all, I have this day job thing going on.

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About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

3 Responses to Passion Project Update No. 1

  1. martyvee says:

    The concept of building back story sounds fun! Good luck.

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