Another week, another entry, though earlier than usual this week due to the rare occurrence of having evening plans during the time I normally write these entries. That I started this blog on a Saturday and kept up with posting every Saturday night since then is a remarkable feat – the anniversary of when this blog started is approaching (though the date itself does not fall on a Saturday). The intent of writing these entries was to share the process (if not the progress) of writing, with the hopes of sharing details and such about the plot, the characters and the meaning behind the tales to be told.
Well, that didn’t quite happen.
Many of these entries are quasi-rambling musings of ideas floating about the brain space and vague hints at the primary works in progress, namely the MASC Chronicles and the (somewhat lesser primary work in progress) meta series Tales from the Land of Exposition. As mentioned frequently, the bulk of these entries are written “live” and directly into WordPress with minimal editing (aside from grammar and spelling). Whatever pops into my head at any given moment is recorded, so odds are I’ve repeated myself several times over the years (I’m pretty sure I mentioned this very idea before, though probably not in the same way; then again, odds are the words are probably the same if not similar).
The theme / topic of this entry is time management, which has multiple meanings depending on the perspective the phrase is used, whether within or without the context of the narrative(s). Granted, I know I should schedule (or at least attempt to schedule) time to focus and actually plot, ponder and actually!write, but (per usual) real life interrupts and / or distracts from that notion. There’s only so many hours in a day, and fitting in time to have the clarity of mind to organize the ideas and figure out the nuances of character, plot and setting is not always possible. Ideas bounce about like fluffy bunnies wanting attention – whether or not they turn out to be useful is subjective. Most of the time, ideas flutter around only to be filed away for possible use in the future, though probably not in the same way, shape or form as originally intended. Managing time within the context of the story is a challenge, as playing with the notion of time travel keeps popping up every now and then, with alternate / parallel universes and other science fiction-esque devices.
Telling a simple story is not (always) enough – readers expect more and usually something different than what is already been written yet at the same time something familiar so they can have a vested (emotional / intellectual) interest in the lives of the characters and the journey / plight they take during the story.
Another facet in the whole time management with respect to the actual writing process is the ebbs and flows of when inspiration hits, which is something that can’t really be anticipated or controlled (at least not for me). There are times when I can sit down and focus on the works in progress and actually!write some of the narrative (then spend almost double the amount of time editing what I had just written), and there are times I stare at the screen and ponder what should happen next. There are countless memes about how sparks of brilliant ideas emerge just as you’re falling asleep and you’re too tired to get up and jot it down, hoping it’ll still be around in the morning. (Spoiler: it rarely ever sticks around for that long).
Plotting general outlines and such is a good way to find structure and build a foundation upon which the story can unfold, but finding the nuances and layers and figuring out where the details fit in the larger context is difficult. I’m pretty sure this is an issue across all genres, but especially for mystery and suspense – sprinkling enough clues for the detective / reader to follow but not giving away too much too soon (and adding red herrings along the way, which may or may not be red herrings.)
It’s a lot to ponder and plot and process.
If only there were enough time to manage all of this and live a “normal” life…
If only the TARDIS was a real thing (thankfully, Doctor Who will be returning soon, though it’ll be bittersweet as it’s Peter Capaldi’s final season / series as the Doctor)