On Writing & Storytelling: Baby Steps are Better Than No Steps at All

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“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.” Graham Greene, Ways of Escape

SITREP: All Quiet on the Writing Front – For the Moment

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It’s early afternoon here in Lithia, Florida, on Wednesday, March 22, 2023. I’ve been up since, oh, goodness, since before six. It was still dark when – as is all too common these days, I fear – I awoke by the need to “use the facilities” around 5:45 AM Eastern Daylight Time. Afterward, I tried to go back to sleep, but after tossing, turning, and all-around failing to get comfy on the futon, I grumbled, “What the hell…might as well turn on the computer and start the day.”

So, where are we on the storytelling front today?

Well, as of right now, I’m not at the “starting the first draft” phase of the story yet. I have only a vague idea of how (and where) I want the story to begin, but not the when part. Knowing when a story takes place helps me a lot; that way I know what specific details I need to look up, such as “What was happening in the world at the time of the story?”

…And Naming Names

Poor Susanne…no votes for her!

Not that I’m going to attempt a historical novel – I am not quite ready to tackle one of those – but if my intuition about the new story is correct, the new project will probably be set in the past rather than in the Present Day of 2023.

“I have no name,” she purred. “I’m whoever the keepers of my fate tell me to be.” Sarah J. Maas, The Assassin and the Underworld

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That having been said, some progress has been made in the preliminary stage of the writing process: Thanks to the responses to the two polls that I’ve posted recently, I have chosen the names of a major setting (The Moonglow Bar) and a major character (the lead female character, at that!):

Per yesterday’s non-scientific poll, the choices were:

  • Margaret Rose (Meg)
  • Madeline Jeanne (Maddie)
  • Susanne Marie (Susie)

The winner? Madeline Jeanne (Maddie), who (as of this writing, anyway) received 11 of 12 votes or 91.67% of the vote.

In second place, Margaret Rose (who I named for my first cousin, Margarita Rosa Cajiao). Poor Meg only received one vote or 8.33% of the vote.

Susanne Marie (Susie) was the wallflower of this poll, earning zero votes. (Man…poor Susie. What’s up with the dislike for that name?)

I was leaning in favor of Madeline (Maddie), but I was willing to go with either of the two alternate names based on the poll results.

(Now, of course, I’m wondering why Meg and Susie weren’t as well-liked as Maddie….)

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Since it’s still early in my workday, I can’t say with any degree of certainty whether I’ll at least write the opening line of the new story today. I am considering doing a trial run on Movie Magic Screenwriter and writing the opening scene as a screenplay; maybe if I do that I’ll have a better grip on the story.

It’s been my experience – limited as it is since I rarely write “make-believe stuff” outside of the few short films I’ve collaborated with my friends Juan Carlos and Adria – that whenever I “see” things in cinematic terms, the story flows with less resistance than if I write it as a prose story.

I do need to start on this story, though. I don’t want to be remembered as a one-story wonder, you know?

And, as always, if you have not yet purchased a copy of the revised edition of my novella, please consider doing so!

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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