Smooth Sailing

Steve and I just completed Jessica Brody’s Save the Cat! Novel Writing Workshop. We found it an excellent video course, very well-organized and taught. It is based on her book of the same name and her workshops that she’s taught in person. It is a $12 a month charge to join her course Library, but you could just pay the $12 for the one course, take it, and be done.

I’ve spent the week working on the Save the Cat beat sheet for my current novel and after persevering through the most difficult beats for me, Midpoint, Bad Guys Close In, and Dark Night of the Soul, I now realize why i have such trouble in the center of books. It’s not just that I’m tired. It’s not entirely that my critical voice is strong. It’s that these are hard beats and that most of the time it is not the beat itself that is causing trouble, it is the established world of the earlier beats.

Or it may be that my character didn’t have a significant flaw, which means that there is nothing to transform by the end of the story. This seems to be a particularly serious problem for me. I often create characters that don’t want anything and don’t need anything, which is death for good fiction. Or even bad fiction.

Forcing myself through the beat sheet was an excellent education in story. I’m glad I did it. Next step is to produce 40 scene cards. Basically these are 40 one liners describing what happens in that scene. They are placed within the beats and can be moved around as I play with them. I could simply write from the beat sheet alone and go to the end. But I want to try this method, so I am going to do it by the rules for the first time. So this week is Scene Week.

The Steve Jackson Games Pyramid Schemes Kickstarter is moving forward at amazing speed. It’s already up to its sixth stretch goal, which includes our article “The Toughest Race in the Solar System” and a lot more. At this point it looks sure to fund all its stretch goals, which will give people three 52-page magazines for GURPS and other roleplaying games.

The Thule book is moving forward. I have one more thing to edit, the art to bring together and then I need to pull it through Vellum/InDesign and make it happen.

I continue to lose weight on the McDougall Plan. I am down 15 pounds as of today. Obviously this isn’t screaming fast weight loss since it is averaging about a pound a week, but it is remarkably steady and very pleasant and easy, so no complaints here.

I hope your January is also moving forward with productivity and joy! Be well, friends.

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