Plotting a story for Winston’s benefit book

I had an idea for a story when Winston from Critical Press Media sent me the details of his latest project A Voice in the Wilderness. My story idea turns the concept behind the project on its ear a bit, but I think that’s just how I operate.

I was overwhelmed at the idea of the story until I started using yWriter to organize the story into three acts and into scenes in each act. I have scenes set for the first act and can already get a handle on what’s going on instead of trying to fathomĀ  the story as a whole.

Even if the story doesn’t work for the project, I’ll have written a story.

A progress bar moved!

Started walking/jogging again today. Made it 1.86 miles in 30 minutes. Yesterday I wrote two sentences for the ‘compassion’ story for Winston Crutchfield’s benefit book for Compassion 365. Last night I decided I had the wrong viewpoint character and changed him to a her and wrote the rest of the opening scene, or most of it at least. It is a horror story, and I am working compassion into it, just hopefully inĀ  a way that people wont expect. I’m in the process of editing a story I finished that was for a winner of last year’s Podcasting For Water winner (who won a story by me about them, or his son in this case.) I had planned on about 1000 words, and it’s over 2k at the moment. I don’t expect it getting any shorter, since I think I need to add to the story to make it any good. I’m fine with the plot, but the main character needs developed so the conflict is dangerous and personal to the viewpoint character. I set up a situation that hinders the main character, but not very well, so when I tried to tap into it at the end, it made some sense, but I couldn’t put the emotion I wanted into it, plus the fix at the end felt anti-climactic to me. I don’t know if I’ll catch up on the 12 stories finished this year, but I know I can catch up on the miles ran. Getting my time organized and using Remember the Milk and Google Calendar and putting those on my desktop with SMS reminders is really helping my get things done (as opposed to forgetting to do them.) Like the Mad Poet says, 2010 is not the year to step back, it’s the year to step up. I think I’m making that happen. (Thanks to my Star Wars Game Master Jason for the tip of Remember the Milk)

Send In – Now Available on Amazon, and How I Did It.

My story ‘Send In’ is now available at Amazon! (You can still buy it direct from me as a PDF too.) Getting it to the Kindle format was a challenge. Now, before you start reading how I did it and start trying it, note that after all this, I found I could have uploaded a word document and maybe that would have done all this work for me, but I didn’t know that at the time. So I have the PDF, it’s nicely formatted, has some nice looking pages, etc. I put quite a bit of effort into making the page graphics look nice. If you printed it out, I hope it looks fantastic. But when I converted to HTML, all that went away (aside from the little rocket that notes scene breaks.) At first annoyance filled me like a cheap balloon on an overactive helium nozzle, so I decided I didn’t want to explode, so I got over it really fast. PDF is made for setting up pages. The Kindle format is made for putting words on a page that you can zoom in and out of. Both are good and have their distinct advantages, and some are mutually exclusive. Once I got that figured out, I had to get the formatting right. All the text ran together, the paragraphs weren’t spaced right, it was a mess (I used Kindle for PC to test.) I tried using Find/Replace to add and remove HTML code I didn’t need, a friend offered to go though and work on it, and he did, but it still wasn’t working right (not his fault, that code was nuts!) Then an idea hit my like a helium bottle whose overactive nozzle broke off and let the bottle fly through a glass window and right into my head! What if I took the text from the Word Document (with the scene break images) and pasted it into the WordPress visual text editor that I am typing to right now then clicked over to the HTML tab, and copied that into a new HTML file? I tried it. It worked. I had to fidget with the code to get the images to work right, but that wasn’t hard. I also had to add <body> tags and added the site’s CSS info at the top. Then I used the MobiPocket conversion tool to make it into the eBook .prc format, and uploaded to Amazon. There might be some extra code in there, but it works, and I’m not running a program, so I’m not entirely concerned about it. Next time I’ll try uploading a Word doc and see what happens … it might be a whole lot easier. I also noticed my cover image says ‘Send In Justin Lowmaster’, which is odd, and unintentional, and kinda funny (to me at least.) I hope everyone who gets a copy enjoys it!

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