Closet Mad Scientist,  Work-In-Progress,  Writing Journey

Writing Life: Experimentation Files

Sometimes when I’m in an experimenting mood I feel like I take it too far. Like, a story set 1000 years in the future sounds super fun! But sometimes it’s too much at once. I get overwhelmed and then curl into a ball and quit.

So I decided to try experimenting in a different kind of way. It’s not that I feel like I can’t write a story set in the future. It’s that I need to figure out how to do that without getting overwhelmed. I have a story set 500 years in the future, I think, and tackling all the world building was fun, but it was also a lot, and I got tired. Lol!

Instead of jumping into the deep end, I thought I’d try experimenting on a smaller scale in the hopes that it’ll build up the creative muscles I need to write a story set far in the future without feeling worn out.

So, you know those books that have like transcripts and journals and letters and whatever else that tell part of the story? I’m thinking about doing something like that.

It’s not anything I haven’t tried before, but the last time I tried it, 2008 to be exact, most of the information in journals, articles, and whatever else just wasn’t necessary, and in the first edit, I took just about all of it out. At least I knew it wasn’t working.

I was thinking trying again, though, because I have a side character in what I’ll just call Project Sparrow – doesn’t that sound cool? – who actually has a lot of information that my other characters need. She can’t be the MC because she’s 15 and she dies, and I’ve tried writing YA, and I hate it, so we’re not going there again right now. Also, you know, dead.

Several years ago now, I had an idea to tell her story via journal entries in a short story form and merge it with two or four other short stories, and all of that would be a prequel to a novel that wraps up all those storylines! I know. What was I thinking?

As it turns out, I was being way too ambitious, and also, I wasn’t motivated to write all of that. So, I thought, what if I took that idea, to tell part of the story via journal entries and notes and whatever, and merged it with the sequel idea I had for the novel that would wrap everything up!

I’ve lost you, I know.

Book one would wrap up the short stories, and book two would wrap up book one. Except we all know I struggle to write a sequel to anything, so what happens to my cool sequel? It doesn’t happen! Also, there’s a lot of empty space in book one, which tells me book one can’t really stand on its own, and I haven’t been writing all this time to learn nothing! If book one can’t stand on its own, book two can’t either.

In Carrie, Stephen King tells the story via radio transcripts, interviews, newspaper clippings, and a few different points of views. Last year, I read a YA Sci-fi that I didn’t really like, but it was extremely well written and bounced back and forth between a first person narrative and transcripts from a courtroom, among other things.

I thought I could take this big idea I had and do something similar to those books to handle the relevant backstory that occurs when the main character is a teenager, so I don’t have to make myself miserable trying to write a YA book again, and then use a single narrative and regular flashbacks to handle everything else.

So the plan is to write a supernatural horror book, inspired by the gothic horror of Edgar Allan Poe, and the book will contain journal entries, videos, and notes that the characters are reading and watching and reliving while they’re staying at this haunted house some 7 or 9 years, I haven’t decided yet, after some crazy ish went down.

I think it’ll be fun. 😀

On a random note, I almost hate to say this, but I can’t help myself (LOL!):

via GIPHY

8 Comments

  • A.S. Akkalon

    Experimentation stretches you and expands your skills, which seems like it has to be a good thing. I think any techniques that could be construed as gimmicky (such as telling parts of a story through newspaper clippings etc) take a higher level of skill to pull off than vanilla techniques, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use them. I’ve been mulling over the idea of a story that also uses blog posts and newspaper articles. I know it’ll stretch me and I’m good with that. So this was all a kind of rambly way to say I think you should go for it.

    Also, I disagree that having a teenage POV character necessarily makes a book YA. YA requires a character in this age range, but it’s also about writing style, themes and so on. Lots of famous adult books have narrators who are teenagers or even younger.

    • Krystal Jane

      I need to find more books like that. I think it will help out some of my plot bunnies, because YA has a certain tone, and I can read it, but I don’t like writing it.

      I 100% agree that experimenting only makes us better! We learn a lot. And I think it strengthens our writing overall. ^_^

  • Kristy A.

    Yay! Happy Birthday! 😀 Love the gif. Love it! That’s one of my favorite movies.

    Gothic horror on a dual timeline? DO THE DAMN THING! Experimenting is a great way to distract from the noise in our heads. I can’t wait for updates.

    Have you read White Oleander? It’s one of many good examples of a teenager protagonist in an adult book. You can pull it off. 🙂

    • Krystal Jane

      Lol! Thanks. My sister really likes that movie. It’s growing on me. ^_^ I have White Oleander, but I’ve only read a little bit of it. Thanks for the vote of confidence! 😀

  • Michelle Athy

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

    This sounds like a very complicated idea, but I love books that have epistolary elements in it. I grew up on diary-like books that had pictures and letters in it to tell the story.
    Gothic sounds interesting.

    • Krystal Jane

      Thank you! 😀
      It would be super fun to have an ebook with playable videos inside! Maybe one day. Haha. I feel like the story has enough going on to keep occupied for sure. I’m making timelines for the different right now. ^_^

  • Jodi Perkins (@Perkjo)

    Your gothic horror idea sounds awesome! You know I’m not a horror fan but I love the Edgar Allen Poe vibe because it’s not overtly ‘horror’…it’s more tense and spine-tingling and foreboding. Hoping I’ll get to read this experiment of yours when it’s all done!
    (Slightly related but I’m having Krystal Jane Ruin withdrawals big-time and need another book of yours to read).

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