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Episode Info: Last week, I introduced the Autumn Project (2018). You can read all about it, but in brief: between September and the end of December, 2018, I’m planning, plotting, and completing the first draft of my next novel, Light of the Outsider, in public. It’s an exercise in accountability, transparency, beginner’s mind, and teaching what I learn. In that spirit, I’ve promised to share my progress on a weekly basis through “minisodes” of Sonitotum with Matthew Wayne Selznick. This is the first update! Listen to the episode for all the details… meanwhile, here are some significant statistics and other stuff: The Autumn Project (2018): September 9 through September 15, 2018 The focus of this week was on writing background for the major and point-of-view characters, plus a little housekeeping, notes, and research / reading as necessary. I got through nearly all the major characters, with just two minor but pivotal characters left to finish on Sunday. I also compiled a timeline of those characters’ lives up to the events of the novel. Days Worked: Six Total Time Worked: 14 hours, 42 minutes Words Written: 12,004, not including the timeline, which was adapted from the prose background material Approximately 2,000 words per day / 816 words per hour Why Write So Much Character Background Material? In writing these background notes on each character, I’m having a conversation with myself. It’s a way to ask questions, and uncover questions I might not have thought to ask in the process. By thinking through things like how old someone was when a critical moment occurred in their life, or what motivated them to take one action instead of another, I’m forced to consider their personalities, which will ultimately inform how I write that character in the actual book. Additionally, when I’ve written something about the history of a character and it’s staring back at me, I can quickly spot shortcuts I’ve taken and cheats I’ve committed in my own thought process. It’s an odd thing, noticing when an element is just not right, or is too simplistic, or doesn’t make sense when set against other elements… it’s like not being able to walk past a crooked picture frame hanging on a wall. You have to fix it, or you’re just lazy. Perhaps the niftiest bi-product of writing these free-form, stream-of-consciousness essays is that each one, I’ve discovered, contains synopses for at least one short story.  I could write a prequel collection, or a serial, presenting the origin tales (and other tales) from all of the principle characters in Light of the Outsider.  Or I could have someone else do it… and this is how the seeds of a personal creative franchise are planted! Lessons Learned I surrendered Wednesday. I have a standing familial obligation on that day, and there just isn’t enough energy or time left over to dedicate to a couple hours of creative thought. Also, I’m still working out the best time of day to tackle the two to three...
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