A COMMON MISTAKE

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Where Stories Go To Die

So, Weiss and the Dead Girl is in the dumpster. Officially. Not gonna write it. For anyone who cares, don’t worry. I have about a dozen other stories that are already developed and are basically ready to go. I’ll be shifting to one of those.

In the interests of having some new content on the blog, I’ll write an update about dropping stories entirely and when and why and so on and so on.

Weiss was a bit of a tricky thing from the jump. I had the vague overview for the story, just super rough stuff. Nothing crazy firm, no strong characters. So weeks and weeks of work trying to tease out details landed me on some mediocre characters and a mediocre framework for the story. Essentially, I’d spend day after day sitting and staring and trying to figure out where the story needed to go and what the characters needed to say and coming up with nothing. Or, that’s not entirely correct. I came up with tiny tendrils that sort of wiggled out away from the baseline and landed nowhere, that didn’t connect to anything.

To explain it a bit more, while I could bang on the story and force it through from beginning to end, it wasn’t very good at a baseline. I’d come up with a cool scene here and there, but there was nothing compelling between. The characters, at a baseline, were okay. I feel like I could have written some nice conversations for them, but there was no driving force beneath it all. The story lacked for cool turns, or really much enthusiasm for itself. As it was, and with the framework I built for it, it would have hummed along lazily through the tropes of the police procedural detective story, only with a minor tie to paranormal themes. I thought of ways to push more intrigue into the story. Adding more paranormal things, adding some interesting side characters. None of it, by my own estimation, turned into an interesting or compelling story.

Worst of all, I wasn’t excited about it. I didn’t really care about the characters so much as I was desperately trying to roll them through things. Or to add tiny scenes in my head that would make me care about them. I put that at the core of every story I write. If I can’t bring myself to care about the characters, then no one else is likely to. An interesting story around that is important, of course, but it is easier to built that out against interesting characters.

I’ve probably talked about it more than anyone cares, but I plan meticulously up front. The point of it is to save myself time in situations like this. So rather than run into the middle of the story worrying about whether the whole thing is shit, I know up front. The lost time is a bummer, sure, but it’s better than trying to tear myself away from a half-written book that is beyond saving. And it’s definitely better than forcing my way through the book and tweaking it to death. That’s what makes books take years and years to complete. Not for me.

Anyway, I have a number of books in the pipes. The Elder Gauntlet and Husks are currently the most likely projects I’ll look at for starting up. I might not make it before the end of November at this rate, but we’ll see. As I narrow things down, I’ll talk about what I picked and share some of the fun bits that go along with them. Both will be series. But I have some other plans as well. WE’LL SEE!

Also. Short version. Books are just stories. There’s another one in your brain somewhere. Learn to recognize what doesn’t work and destroy those stories ruthlessly.

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