Inch by Inch

Posted: January 26, 2015 by writingsprint in Writing
Tags: , , ,


Last night I spent two hours doing research on the geography of the Milky Way galaxy and another 30 minutes on theories of faster-than-light travel. I really wanted to read a book on train robberies in the Old West that I picked up on eBay, to get a feel for criminal life on the frontier.

I was scared of the blank page. I didn’t know where to start. How long would it take me get what I needed from the book? Would it take me farther down the rabbit hole? What if I headed in the completely wrong direction? At least with the Milky Way and FTL travel, the problem was well-defined: I don’t know anything, so hit Google and see what I come up with. Sift through the results.

Being scared is one thing. Being chicken is another. The story needs me to get into the heads of my characters. The map and the tech won’t take care of themselves — I will need to handle them sooner or later — but they aren’t what I need now right now to move the story.

I need to remember that even if I only move an inch a day, in a year I’ll have moved 12 yards. I need to be honest with myself when I write. No more avoiding. Each day, minimum, I’ll work on the story for 30 minutes, even if it’s nothing more than conceptual scenes I’ll probably change later. I’ll write the scenes as best I know them so that I get inside my characters’ heads and rough out the story.

Today I wrote the beginning of an argument between the two main characters, and I’m going to read from the train robbery book before I go to bed.

Inch by inch.

Image credit: “Ruler” by Scott Akerman at Flickr
Photo is unmodified
Shared under Creative Commons license

  1. Fredrik Kayser says:

    I’m equally intimidated by something more along the lines of cultural differences. I have been trying to understand Wuxia at a deeper than surface level, but it’s there, the where-do-I-even-start ghost spooking around in my head. Inch by inch indeed!
    Btw, did you know that the swedish wird for the Milky Way, Vintergatan, literally reads: Winter street? : )


    • I didn’t know that — that is too cool! I wonder if that’s because it looks like snow or it’s most visible in winter, when it’s darker.

      I know what you mean. Culture is huge — it’s the world, it’s how people think, it’s how people act, it’s everything. A piece at a time. I’m making up a list as I go.

      Liked by 1 person

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