I Lost 100 Story Outlines

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The biggest setback in my writing happened 3 weeks ago. I took my iPhone 5S into a Batteries Plus to get the battery replaced and the technician messed up my phone. It began going into a perpetual reboot cycle every 3 minutes. After a few days with my phone, including a trip to another location for another technician to fix it, the phone was determined to be broken by the “trained technicians.” At first, the they blamed it on not being updated to the newest version, however, after updating it, it didn’t work. They then said if I did a hard reboot, it would correct itself.

Oh shit.

I lost all my story pre-draft outlines.

Since the phone was constantly rebooting, I couldn’t download all the data. It would only get ten percent in the process or so each time.

You see, as a writer in 2016, I have a ton of ideas, but very few drafts. This is because I go through a pre-draft stage of outlining details of 3 act stories, and then constantly refining it on my phone until it reaches an insatiable stage of needing to write the first chapter, which results in very quick beginnings to stories. I almost never have writers block. Sometimes I change my mind with characters and have to figure stuff out halfway through a book, but more often than not, I follow “writing to an end.”

I had maybe a 100 outlines on my phone. Some of them were garbage, some of them were so-so, and a few were good. Luckily for me, some of the good ideas will always be in my mind. Unfortunately, all of the 2am plot ideas formed before I fell asleep in bed don’t always manifest itself again. Some of the quick lunch time notes I get while people-watching is gone forever.

And this is ok.

I’ll come up with another 100 fresh ideas soon. I can probably do it in a week. I could probably write 1000 outlines in a few months.

Outlines don’t matter. Spending the time to write full drafts do.

I’ll keep pressing forward, as should you.

We can’t dwell on the fast, only focus on the future and imagine the possibilities.

I now have a new iPhone with a bigger screen.

And my notes page on my iPhone is empty, but not for long.

Book Review: A Game of Thrones

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A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

The story is an uncompromising tale of history, lies, revenge, love, and betrayal. My paperback copy runs around 800 pages plus extra content on the great houses of Westeros. To me, this is storytelling at its finest and Martin knows how to write. The story is bold and rich in detail and is an example for all aspiring writers to emulate.  Having written the story in the early 90’s after a frustrating stint in Hollywood, Martin went back to New Mexico to write a story unhinged from budgets, actors, or producer’s opinion. He shelved a Sci-Fi story called Avalon, when the first Bran chapter emerged vividly in his mind.  For me, the chapter involving the dream is where Martin’s true genius shows. The central mystery of the story is hinged on the dream chapter, and twenty-years later it remains unanswered (though most subscribe to the R+L=J theory).

I believe if the same story was submitted by an unknown author today to agents and publishers, it would have a fair shot in the business of betting on “sure things” like celebrity autobiographies and TV personality cookbooks. I would estimate out of 100 agents, maybe 10 would respond back interested to see the full manuscript. (They don’t like prologues or they don’t doesn’t see where a YA love triangle is). Out of the 10 agents, probably 9 don’t offer representation for the straight-up incest at the beginning of the book, the dwarf banging prostitutes, throwing a kid out a window, a peasant kid getting murdered by the Hound, lots of exposition and backstory taking up half of every chapter, the POVs being more than 4, implied incest with Dany and her brother, and a 14 year old Dany getting raped by Drogo. Not to mention the honest Ned, the protagonist of the story, getting his head chopped off and Dany walking into fire to hatch dragons as the climax of the story leaving us with a cliffhanger end to the first book. The one agent would have a tough time selling it to a publisher, but I think they could get a deal done.

The unknown author might have to agree to cut it to 80,000 words, make it one POV character, preferably Dany, and have her sail to King’s Landing in the first third of the book, and discover she was really the long lost Targaryen as foreseen in the prophecy. Then maybe she is torn in a love triangle between the advances of Prince Drogo (maybe call him Prince Dirk to relate to the market better and make him 15 years old) and Prince Jon (but instead of a bastard who didn’t even know his damn mom, make him a simple peasant with a mysterious, yet noble lineage). Nice. I smell a sequel …

Fortunately for us, Martin was able to publish whatever he pleased at whatever pace he wanted. I look forward to reading the Winds of Winter when it comes out this year.

MY REVIEW OF THE GREATEST SCI-FI FANTASY NOVEL EVER WRITTEN