Friday, January 17, 2014

This is NOT Procrastination. It's NOT.

Because I like to torture myself, I've spent most of January working out a timeline for the entire series. Now, I don't think this is something all, or even most stories need; however, I have the plot outlines for four more books after the first, and my best guess is that it will take another two or three to complete the story. All this in mind, it's probably in my best interest to get this thing under some semblance of control while it's still in the R&D stage.

Since Matt and I had already created a calendar a few months ago, I decided it would make the most sense to use the in-world calendar when making the timeline. Duh, right? So when this thing is finished, every plot-relevant thing from road trips lengths to significant event dates will be nailed down to a precise year, month, and day. 

Things were going fairly smoothly for a while, but as the story grew in scope and the cast list increased, I encountered the bane of every multi-book story: continuity errors.

I found myself running into problems like:

"The notes say Character A and Character B meet at such-and-so date, but according to the passage of time last session, Character B is still on the other side of the continent that day."


"Okay, going from Point A to Point B took this amount of time last session , but a couple of sessions ago it only took them this long. The route and means of transportation hadn't changed, so what gives?"


"You know, their horses were trained for this kind of constant long-distance traveling, but we're getting dangerously close to animal abuse here. Can't these people stay in one spot for more than a week at a time? Or maybe invent a car?" 

So I sit, and I stare at the map of the continent, the map that is created with Microsoft Paint, and not at all drawn to scale. I take a deep breath, and turn my fledgling organizational skills up to 11 (which is probably a 5 for most people.) I start a new document containing the definitive travel distances from Anywhere to Everywhere, by miles, by days on horseback, by days on foot. I color code plot lines. I count on my fingers because my brainmeats are too sizzled to do mental math, and I don't trust myself to interpret the formula I punched in the calculator correctly. 

When I can't even finger-count anymore, I write blog posts because clearly I need a break.

But I tell myself the headache is worth it. That everything will line up perfectly with enough hard work and wrangling. That future outlines will be so much easier because of my efforts now. That once this is done I need only concern myself with the fun part, the prose.

Most of all, I tell myself, "Thank GOD this continent doesn't have to deal with snow."

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Letter of Advice To Myself

Dearest Dopey Self,

While it was very smart of you to translate your shorthand notes from the October sessions into proper English longhand immediately upon your return home, it would have been even better if you had actually printed out said transcription and placed them in your Giant Blue Binder of All Knowledge, also known as The Story Bible, before traveling to the next state over. This would have spared you 15 minutes of staring at 2-month old shorthand like an illiterate bumpkin gawping at Greek when the Game Master asked for a quick recap.

Also, a pro tip: writing shorthand is not like riding a bike. Not even a little. Like flexibility, it's a use-it-or-lose-it sort of thing. If you want to continue to take faster, more accurate notes (and fool your friends into thinking you're some sort of linguistic genius) consider setting aside more than two days out of the month to practice. Flipping through flashcards 20 minutes before the session starts is not sufficient. 

Your earnest attempts at organization are both admirable and amusing. 

Keep it up,