Still Here and Truby is a Superhero

Hello everyone (all 12 of you, woot)!

So, it’s been a while. Yes, I’m still here, but wow has it been a crazy couple of months.

First off, I got a job! After seven frustratingly depressing months of unemployment, I accepted a position with the state and am working my first real full-time “grown up” job. I’m still adjusting to the drastic shift in lifestyle and trying to find time to write in between all these adult responsibilities like cleaning, grocery shopping, and watching BattleBots (priorities, right?).

Second, Alex joined the Navy Reserves and is set to ship out to boot camp in a month. I’m incredibly proud of him and support his decision to add some more focused direction in his life. This is huge for both of us, since it means not seeing or being able to talk to him for months at a time.

Third, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo’s July session and have been working on a brand new top-secret project that has nothing whatsoever to do with Dragon Age. More to follow once I have something more concrete to share.

Fourth, I went back to ConnectiCon this past weekend and it was great! I was able to attend two writing panels and got some great advice. Also, David Farland is my new hero. And I may have spent more money than I wanted to, because when the author of 50 novels who is also responsible for StarCraft: Brood War and the marketing success of Harry Potter sells you his books, you buy his books. You can find my notes from the con panels here.

So, that’s the bulk of the life stuff. Now allow me to detail a revelation that I confirmed for myself about 10 minutes before writing this. For the past few months, I’ve been reading John Truby’s Anatomy of Story, as I may have mentioned before. It’s very dense and I haven’t finished it, so no review just yet. Part of the reason it’s taking me so long to read is because the content is so inspiring. Whenever I get through a section, I immediately have to start taking notes and brainstorming my own projects.

If you’re a planner, Truby’s methods can be a phenomenal tool for crafting your stories. I just started writing a short story the other day without really thinking about it, and yesterday I stopped and thought to myself, “I can’t continue with this. I have no idea where it’s going, and I can’t see it going anywhere.” And I was about to give up on it. Then I realized that the biggest issue what that my protagonist was flat and boring. I had given so much thought to the world that I had forgotten to develop the character. So I turned to Truby’s Seven Key Steps of Story Structure (arguably the most useful part of the book as far as I’ve read) and plotted out my protagonist’s weakness, needs, desire, and revelations. When I finished the steps, I looked at the page and realized I had a legitimate story again.

Even though I haven’t finished it, I would highly recommend Truby’s book. While it’s not exactly a beach read or ideal for reading in one go, it’s a great reference book. Whenever you’re stuck on a story, grab this book and something to take notes with. Load up your favorite pages with those awesome Post-It flags. And get inspired to give your stories the life they deserve.

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