First drafting progress: Structure

I have been working on this first draft of my first book for some time now. And it sometimes is a real pain. Writing your first book is a process of trial and error, no matter from which side you look at it. You can be very knowledgeable or have good instincts on writing and how a good text should look like, but you don’t know what works for you. At least not exactly. There are many aspects to writing that can be done in different ways, be it worldbuilding, character creation and development or today’s subject: structure.

According to the big writing world there are roughly 2 kinds of writers: discovery writers and outliners.

Broadly spoken discovery writers write everything as it comes along. They start with a blank page and they just start writing. It is a process of discovery: what will your characters do next that you did not anticipate; and what cool event can happen next that fits the story.

Outliners on the other hand, well they outline. Or as George RR Martin calls them: Architects. They start from a high concept perspective and end when they’ve outlined the chapter so they only need to fill in the last sentences.

While discovery writing seems like a fun way to shape your book, discovering events and characters as you go, it caused me to get stuck a couple of times over and archiving about 30.000 words because it did not fit the story when I started organising it the first time. So I can safely say that I’m not a discovery writer. But because I want to have that sense of discovery while I’m creating I do not see myself as an outliner too. Where do I fit on this scale?

Tending to the Garden

Luckily author Chris Fox has the exact book which currently covers my need: Plot gardening. The first few chapters that I’ve read immediately changed the way I view my story. It brings a pleasant mix of the outliner and discovery writer archetype that I apparently needed.

Whilst professional authors in many courses or masterclasses may emphasise the word outline, I find the word structure key here. Chris mentions in the book or one of his (accompanying) videos on Youtube that he can work on preparation for a book for 8 months before actually writing it. Yes, eight months

This small notion got me thinking and completely flipped some of my writing goals for this book. If I can prepare the basic story points that make a good and interesting story accompanied with decent characters I can fill the gaps on the way – Plot gardening.

So now what?

My goal is still to finish the book. Where my primary goal was first to finish it as fast as possible in a reasonable state preparation and structure are more important now. 

I want to have a readable version by year’s end. One that can be scrutinised and feedbacked so that I can learn how and on which areas I can improve my craft. And keep writing in between, so I can experience what other aspects of the craft I prefer over others. It’s a learning process, and I hope you’ll be here next time to read about my experience.

Stay safe, stay healthy and keep on creating.

It’s WarCraft time

I’ve recently watched the WarCraft movie again. And again, it did not disappoint as a fan of the world and its design and characters. The rich environments, crazy armor designs and Murloc cameo’s make it a blast to watch.

From a story and film enthusiast point of view it sadly has some issues. Concepts, characters or story backgrounds are just not well explained. As a pre – WarCaft 3 lore enthusiast I am fully aware of the rules, politics and characters in place. A general filmbuff does not have this knowledge and will get lost very fast in the story of this movie. It also does not help that the film covers events from WarCraft: Orcs and Humans, as well from books Rise of the Horde, The Last Guardian and Lord of the Clans (only intro and flashbacks).

So from my perspective it does not matter how much you can condense the story into one suitable for a film, it is a large pool of work that was available. Perhaps too big for a first movie. There are simply too many concepts that need to be explained to those not in the know. On the other side of the argument: people who know what WarCraft is about would be disappointed at the lack of depth. You either know it or don’t understand a thing.

So I see it as a testament to the franchise and how it can look on the big screen. It’s a shame it is not the “game movie” that made the big difference and received critical acclaim vs the other “game movies”.

If we get another movie, I would like a tie-in story of sorts. Something with a smaller scope of things, with more room for character development and concept explaining. And there is enough talent with Blizzard to create a good story, that’s for sure.

That said, I’ve also written a short story set in the WarCraft storyworld. It’s no secret that I love Blizzard games. WarCraft is that special one that has been with me since the late Nineties, when I played WarCraft 2 on my nephews pc for the first time. I simply don’t have the time to play World of Warcraft as much, but follow it’s development with interest. So it’s only natural that one of my first released stories is in the WarCraft setting.

I’ve got the initial idea for this story from the Battle for Azeroth Features Overview, back at Blizzcon 2017. And specifically from the one shot of Jaina. Shining in her new wardrobe (1:55min), taking center stage again. The question arose what happened to her during the event’s of the Legion expansion. From there I’ve done some research and eventually ended on a story (or fanfiction if you will) of Talron, a Human mage with a background similar of Jaina’s.

As I consider this as a finished story with a quality that I am happy with, I also realize this is my first publication and my first big step into writing. So there probably are some things that will come up as I get more adept in writing. All I can say now is enjoy reading and please let me know your thoughts. Find the story here.