I (hope) I’m finally getting back into a decent groove trying to maintain Spotlight, though I refuse to make any kind of posting schedule promises at this point.
Yes, it’s a story that I think is fun and that people who are not me might also find enjoyable. And I know all the rules about how regularity breeds an audience. Of course, irregularity sells a lot of fiber, but that’s beside the point.
However much I’d love an audience, Spotlight is just as much about giving myself something semi-regular that reminds me I like to write, in the vain-ish hope this leads me to sitting down to write other stuff, stuff which may on occasion wind its way through the Land of Grind, where we have to revise and destroy in order to make something which isn’t awful. It’s something to provide a bit of a habit for me, but also, it’s its own palate cleanser.
(Sidebar: I can’t be the only person who has to look up palate / pallette / pallet whenever I use one of them, can I? Possibly I can. But, hey, I never have vain and vein confused, so I’m not bleeding on the page unless I want to be.)
If Spotlight feels grind-y, I’ll be inclined to abandon it again. It has to be fun for me in order for it to fulfill its purpose. So, no turning it into a chore by setting update schedules.
That was an incredibly long way to avoid getting to the actual point, which was this: with the sprawl of writing this in bits and pieces whenever it happens to feel right, I find myself losing track of things a lot more easily than normal. It probably doesn’t help that, on top of the time sprawl, I’m throwing characters out there at a ridiculous pace, and even the “I need someone here to give information” characters are having this tendency to stand up and insist I give them more attention, the greedy little shits.
This isn’t exactly new for me. Characters kind of form themselves in the space of composing all the time. Usually, I write my way through things, figure out what’s going on with these little interlopers, then loop back through and fix the inconsistencies in a later draft.
Of course, with Spotlight, there isn’t really re-drafting. I’m trying my darnedest not to have to go back and fix things because I just didn’t remember a physical detail from several months ago. And as things get longer, I’m realizing how much more difficult it will be to track that kind of thing down to avoid embarrassing myself.
In two “chapters” and a bit, I’ve racked up almost 20 individuals between the heroes, the villains, supporting players, and more than a few past members referenced. That’s only going to get worse, I imagine, if I keep this little experiment going this time. Given both the sprawl and the ‘no take-backs’ nature of what I’m doing, then, I’m trying out what I don’t think I’ve ever done before: spreadsheeting it.
I don’t want to turn the whole story into a giant grid, where I plop in X, Y, and Z details and pretend that’s a fully-formed character. How a character reacts in a given situation is something that I can manage by feel, I think. I know if someone’s high strung or casual. But trying to remember if I picked a hair color for someone, or threw a last name at someone months ago when she appeared in a cameo, that’s the kind of thing I think could come back to bite me.
So, yeah. Spreadsheet. Basics of description, so I have it as needed. The hope here is, if I fill it out as I have the detail, I won’t have to dig around quite so much when I’m composing. Less digging = more writing = more fun = more writing.
I probably broke math with all those equal signs. Enh. We were never friends to begin with.