Just checking in.

I haven’t written much in the past couple of weeks.  I was working on finishing the raw outline of (working title) Warden’s Call, but a little over two weeks ago my grandfather, who has been fairly bedridden and non-verbal since a stroke two years ago, crashed.  We sent him from his nursing home to the hospital, and the prognosis was grim, so I ended up spending several days at his bedside off and on.

Now he’s stabilized, if not well, and life has resumed.  I’m working on the plot outline.  The way I seem to work best as a writer is to broadly plot out the book chapter-by-chapter.  Then I sit down with the broad outline for a chapter and break it into scenes and what Jim Butcher calls sequels, in which the viewpoint character considers what’s happened in the just-concluded scene.  Then I start writing.  When I hit the end of the chapter, I plot out the next one.  Sometimes I’ll scene-break two or three at a time, but I rarely do that, as things sometimes change in the writing.

Anyway, I’m currently in Lake Tahoe, California, vacationing with some friends for the long weekend. I’ll come back to Sacramento on Monday, and start work again on Tuesday, both my dayjob as a teacher and writing.

And now a quote about writing, from Samuel Delany, noted science fiction author:

“In a very real way, one writes a story to find out what happens in it. Before it is written it sits in the mind like a piece of overheard gossip or a bit of intriguing tattle. The story process is like taking up such a piece of gossip, hunting down the people actually involved, questioning them, finding out what really occurred, and visiting pertinent locations. As with gossip, you can’t be too surprised if important things turn up that were left out of the first-heard version entirely; or if points initially made much of turn out to have been distorted, or simply not to have happened at all.”


About Michael Johnston

Father of a fifth grader, high school English teacher, writer. Forty-six years old and feeling almost every bit of it on some days, and not a bit of it on others. Based in Sacramento, California, USA
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