Time to Focus Works – Who Knew?

The Obvious Worked

In the same spirit as standing on a roof top declaring that water is wet and the sky is blue, I can now declare that setting time aside to focus on writing helps. Yes, I’ve rediscovered the obvious. And I couldn’t be happier.

In my previous post, I talked about picking anime series to review on Crow’s World of Anime based, in part, on air date. The goal was to make sure that I could use weekend mornings, when the house is quiet, to write. I’ve been doing that for 2 weeks now, and though the Summer 2020 season is still young, I can report some encouraging results.

Since I started tracking my time in May 2018, I’ve spent 64.25 hours writing the beats for A Ghast in the Machine. Over the last two weekends, I spend a total of 11 hours. Eleven hours out of just over sixty-four in the last two weeks.

I’d call that progress!

The number of beats doesn’t tell the whole story. So to speak.

I had 27 beats when I last posted. Now, I have 32. But the raw count isn’t the whole story. As I tried to push the plot forward, I realized I still needed some more foundation work. I had to beef up a lot of my European Union (EU) subplots and locations. Hans Elder isn’t just a Minister now. He’s the chair of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (ECON) for the EU Parliament. I’ve refined Jack Booth’s position on that committee. Jack now has a lead analyst, Arabella Davies, who’s conscientiousness just today set a good chunk of the plot in motion.

World Building Drives Beats

I also learned more about the EU Parliament than I really wanted to, but I’ve always thought that details, when not overdone, can make a world feel more realistic. I’m not actually going to use the sample ECON agenda I found, but I will use the fact that the European Central Bank makes reports to that committee. The more confidence I have in my mental image of the world, the better I can portray it.

Google Maps makes location scouting a lot less expensive.

Google Maps makes scouting locations a lot less expensive. My story might take place starting in 2170, but knowing how Brussels looks now is helpful, and I didn’t have to fly to Europe to see it! Street View lets me see how the buildings look from the ground; satellite view shows me the overhead picture. I can notice lots of details like stairs or entries/exits.

To be clear: I don’t think this would be enough for me to write a thriller based in current times. There are too many details that I’d miss. For example, even though Google Maps has a lot of interior photographs, nuances like floor plans, scents, and sounds are completely missing. However, I just need a general idea so I can protect it forward. Google Maps is more than good enough for that!

Building out the world gives my characters room to breath. It helps me give those chapters texture. I anticipate a higher volume of beats/chapter outlines over the next couple of weekends, now that both the EU and UN theaters are more robust.

Rinse and Repeat!

Having confirmed the obvious, now all I have to do is keep working. I nearly stumbled his week when I took an evening off from writing anything for Crow’s World of Anime. That one night, coupled with some extra family responsibilities on another night, really put pressure on my schedule over this weekend. Fortunately, this weekend was calm, so I recovered.

Have you ever confirmed the obvious in your writing? Did it help you keep things on track? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments!

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