In which Kris ends things

Kris here,

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately practicing writing short ideas in a concise format. See, I’ve got about a billion ideas in my head just like everybody else, and I can start them off pretty dang well. We’re talking ideas for days here. But I’ve been tripping up around the 50-60% mark on the whole actually having a plot thing. I’m like oh man this is fantastic my main character is A BOSS! And Tina’s like “but Kris what’s he bossly doing” and I’m like “well look he just set a landslide on fire and threw it at an army” and she’s like “oh yeah. Okay but why did he do that?” So of course because it’s an ARMY hello!? But what’s it doing, why’s my guy caught up in it? PSH! Who cares we need more fire in here! “How does it end?” Uhh well I suppose he just, I don’t know he wins a medal and lives in a castle.

Okay that’s not a real life example but I feel it’s exaggeratory enough to get the point across. I have to combat my lack of forward progress or my actual weak point in writing: Ending. The. Story. These things ramble on forever, like holy cow man put a lid on it already! I get exhausted reading through my own notes a week later. This is a problem of course – if you can’t read your own work, who else is going to put out the effort? So I did what any rational adult in my place would do and I just Googled around for like an hour looking for an easy way out.

Ugh, turns out there’s no easy way out. Well there might be, but the people with those secrets are greedy. All the advice I found regarding “How to end my goddang story” revolved around things like “5 ways to end your story. Number 7 will wig you out!” There’s probably a lot of good info out there, but my attention span is basically a knock knock joke and sometimes it’s easier done than said.

I ended up devising a cool practice to help me out. Yeah you guessed it – I just wrote a bunch of endings. I got a (basically) brand new notebook and a pen, and I wrote a brief concept and wrote a plot and ending immediately. Okay, the first try was ten pages long. That’s why it’s practice! I’ve got another few 8-10 page ideas thrown around in various places – I haven’t actually kept them together, that would be silly. The last few days I’ve actually managed to piece together a few one or two page ideas in an outline-able format. This might seem like a trivial issue to both accomplished- and non-writers, but remember: nobody reads stories for the beginning. I’ve never chatted up a fellow reader like “boy this book sure started out amazing. I’m going to spread the word, but just about the first 50 pages!” No way- they’re doing this for that sweet endorphine rush at the end. You gotta nail that bit.

There are probably quite a few authors and writers hanging out here thinking to themselves “Wow this guy is really dumb. I write 100 pages a day, it’s pretty easy.” I totally agree, kudos to your monstrous efforts on the 100 page thing, that’s really good. Lots of people I talk to personally or threads I read through on writing forums are all about how to move a story forward, or I wrote my character into a corner – how do I get out of this?

Try it out sometime – spitting out 300 pages of book into 5 pages is fast, you can write and re-write 20 times with various changes or whatever you want in any writing style that fits your theme. Mine usually don’t include names – the last one I wrote had a main character named “Kid,” supported by two characters named “bro” and “ninja” and the antagonists were “bastardlord” and “gloriousleader.” Of course they were fleeing from the country of THIS to the country of THAT. The important thing isn’t the details of these (hopefully throwaway) stories, it’s the practice you get in resolving those fine details.

Remember, names aren’t important, backstories giving your protagonist reasons to throw flaming landslides at people are important.

Choooriiiing

Kris here,

Chores get a bad rap in our society nowadays, or at least from everyone I’ve ever spoken to about them. It’s basically like work except you don’t get paid for it, am I right? I’m about 6 forks away from donating my dishes and replacing them all with paper plates and paper towels! Wellll okay that would be a bit extreme. But if everyone hates chores so much, why does everyone do them? Well it’s crap you gotta get done! You have to take out the garbage if you don’t want to live in an ant and roach colony, you have to wash dishes if you don’t want dried and caked versions of your dinner stuck to the plates you’re eating off, and if you don’t mow your lawn the stupid HOA complains non-stop! Also you can’t play outside and you get ants, at least in Texas.

Recently I’ve been subconsciously shifting a lot more of my “but I don’t wannaaaa” tasks into the ‘ugh fine’ pile and it seems to be working pretty well, so I’m thinking it’s probably just mine and others’ attitude that’s souring the perception of these things. A lot of people I’ve been watching on YouTube or speaking with in my day to day interactions seem to have a few mental lists – the two specifically I care about in this segment are the “goals” list and the “chores” list. In fact, I did that some weeks ago. Here’s an example of mine:

Goals:
Full time billion dollar author
Smartest person in the world
Speak a bunch of languages

Chores:
Dishes
Laundry
Lawn mowing

I think if my goals said, having a fabulous lawn to frolic in or hosting dinner parties, this would be a fine matchup! You know what doesn’t earn me my first million writing? Yeah, folding laundry that’s right. “But Kris, just make a 15.9 step plan for each goal and implement them biweekly,” I see you thinking. Yeah maybe, but that’s essentially what a New Year’s Resolution is and, as I discussed in that same blog previously referred to, everyone breaks those! I don’t want to throw myself under any buses here, but I spend a considerable amount of time balancing my time between the things I need to do, like cleaning or paying bills, and the things I want to do, like playing Overwatch with Nik or watching anime with Tina.

Personally, I think I need to expand the list of chores I’m committing to each week with more useful tasks sprinkled into the boring tedious things and I think I can easily set aside a few hours a week to just plow through them. Things that slip through the cracks when I get distracted, like my Japanese studies or writing manuscripts and outlines. I’ve already implemented a lot of changes to my approach to long-term goals this year, I think shifting my priorities around for the short term items will help get me closer to my goals… which should, in turn, make me rich enough to pay other people to do all this stuff for me!