Studying the Movie Die Hard to Learn about Novel Structure (Nanowrimo 2017 Day 11)

I spent the day taking apart the original Die Hard to learn about novel structure. It was quite an interesting exercise.

What interested me the most was diehard was used as the primary example of how to write a movie in the mini movie method book I read.

It’s also the prime example of thriller novel structure in the novel structure workshop I’m currently taking.

It works for both things. But I’m interested to see how the writing workshop develops because I’m learning a new way to conceptualize story structure that doesn’t rely on the heroes journey or the three act structure.

I’ve been told that the three act structure doesn’t work well with most novels, and I’m not sure if I believe that yet or not, but I’ve been trying to write stories seriously for the last year, and it will be fascinating if this new structured approach works.

Tomorrow I spend all day doing freelance work, I’ll be interested to see if my time management tactic helps me be more productive.

Part of me wonders if it’s just the subject matter that I don’t have a passion for. But the truth is what always happens is I’ll get started on telling a story and be really excited about it, and then I’ll get stuck somewhere and I won’t know what happens next, and then I’ll get aggravated and give up on the story.

One things for sure, I do have a blast learning about this stuff. And part of me wonders if that so I don’t have to be doing it.

Clearly I have a lot of fear tied up in creativity and whether or not people will like me.

It’s silly to worry about things you can’t control. And the fact that it silly hasn’t stopped me yet from doing just that.

Hopefully I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow.


Blogging streak day 5
330 words in 10 minutes via dictation
nanowrimo manuscript 0 words so far

A Post about Time Management (NanoWriMo 2017 day 10)

I’m altering the way I do time management. I’m not sure I’m actually going to meet the deadline of finishing my manuscript by November 30.

The cool thing is I’ve done more freelance work today than I have in the past week. So I think what I’m going to do is alternate days in terms of activity.

This is what used to happen in high school. We had orange days and black days, and the color of your day determined the classes that you were taking that day. I think I’m going to institute a similar system when it comes to producing creative work. Today I wrote 7000 words of freelance nonfiction. And that wasn’t even working all the hours that I could have.

The other benefit of alternating days is that it gives my brain a rest from one type of writing work so that it always feels fresh.

One of the problems I’ve had in the past is that when I switch back and forth between different writing projects I don’t really get a decent head of steam on either one. By committing to spend an entire day working on a specific project, I think it will really allow me to get momentum with what I’m doing.

I can’t remember the last time I turned in three freelance articles in one day. I know that not every day will be like that, but even if I produce two articles every other day it will still bring my overall production way, way up. And by giving myself permission to spend an entire day working on my fiction, I won’t feel like I should be spending my time doing something else.

That’s my plan going forward, and we’ll see how it works out.

See you tomorrow.


Blogging Street day 5
306 words blogging
7000 freelance words
NanoWriMo project: 0 words

A Story Craft Epiphany (NanoWriMo 2017 Day 8)

Different types of story require different ways of going about telling them.

I’m not just talking about different genres although that’s true too.

I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I’ve spent 11 years studying story. In the past I’ve been somewhat frustrated because I’ve only finished one short story, while writing possibly 52 openings this year.

Clearly, some of that is fear. Most of it probably is in fact. But as I mentioned yesterday I started Dean Wesley Smith’s Novel Structure Workshop and something he said to me was a huge lightbulb moment.

“[the vast majority of] novels don’t follow the three act structure or the hero’s journey.”

(To be fair, he wasn’t speaking to me personally. It was part of the lecture for the first class.)

Three act structure and the heroes journey is the majority of what I’ve been studying for the last 11 years. And will in certain that a large number of TV writers and movie writers have written novels, and certainly many books have been turned into movies, it makes sense that for me writing using the three act structure and the heroes journey doesn’t work because it hasn’t worked.

I will also say every writer is different. So just because something doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for somebody else.

You should study everything you can and try many different approaches. You never know what will work best for you.

I will say it gives me hope to realize that an author who follows my pattern doesn’t believe writing using three act structure or the heroes journey will work for the majority of successful novels.

On the other hand, I finally reached the point in my studies where the different story methods I have learned are overlapping.

I think the primary fault with the heroes journey, and the three act structure is that they are limiting in the sense that structure is king, and certain moments of story are dictated by the story structure method you are using.

The truth is if you worry about the plot to the exclusion of everything else is not going to end up with a story that has raving fans.

A plot is simply a series of events that occur in a story.

A story is something that an audience has an emotional reaction to.

I got hit with some unexpected work today. And I analyzed Die Hard for the Novel Structure Workshop.

I still haven’t written any words in my manuscript. But I feel good about the day for the first time in a long time, because I feel like I’m finally searching for answers in an appropriate direction.


Blog streak Day 3
450 words in about 20 minutes using speech recognition.
Manuscript words: 0

Another Quick Filler Post

I voted today. I hate cold weather. It leaches my energy. I did flesh out more of my scene theory and I will be publishing a post on it at some point this month. I’m enjoying Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. They were the same team that wrote Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist I do enjoy their sweet romances.

I’m excited to be taking Dean Wesley Smith’s Novel Structure workshop. I may blog about that later


Blogging Streak Day 3

The Time Change Kicked My Ass (NanoWriMo Day 5)

I’m disappointed. No real progress on my project today. The time change kicked my ass and I’ve been tired all day. I don’t want to have another day like this. I’ve made a to do list and I’m going to implement using my timers to make sure I get stuff done tomorrow. Stay tuned.


Blogging Streak 2 Days
57 words untimed
NanoWriMo Project 0 of 30K words.

NanoWriMo Day 4 The Power is back on

I haven’t had power since the early hours of Sunday morning. Power came on yesterday. The internet came back this afternoon. That is why my blogging streak is broken. The good news is I don’t have to remember what day I’m on when I do these things. I think I’m going to start a excel spreadsheet so I don’t have to go back and check things. I’m giving myself the rest of the day to get reacclimated to being on the internet, and to make a plan going forward for NanoWriMo. I’ll start drafting my NanoWriMo Project tomorrow.

My NanoWriMo Challenge

1. Complete AND publish a Manuscript of at least 30K words by December 1, 2017.

2. That means the manuscript needs to be completed, edited, and formatted by November 23rd, so my team has enough time to create the product description and design me a cover. That means I have to write 1,667 words a day, every day to meet my goal, OR I have to average that. At my established production rate of 500 Fiction Words per hour I need to write for 4 hours per day to meet or exceed my goal. I can schedule that time.

3. For me a victory at this point is publishing something wide using Draft2Digital. I need to finish the thing, I don’t need to finish it on time. I realize deadlines are how publishing works but they simply don’t work for me. They give me too much pressure and I freeze. So a legit win for me will be if I write for 72 hours over the next 18 days and I’m close to publication by December 1st. Close to publication meaning I’m in the editing phase or I’m waiting for my cover designer/blurb writer.

A loss will be if:

  • I just do this daily blog without writing fiction
  • I don’t make it past the 1K or 10K point
  • I just give up and don’t write fiction this month
  • I’ll be posting updates on my progress on this blog daily. They may be exclusively about this challenge or they could be about other topics related to writing or my life. But regardless I will have summaries of my current word count and whether I’m on schedule or not. So feel free to check back on this blog if you want to keep tabs.


    Blogging Streak Day 1
    NanoWriMo project Word Count 0 On Schedule, I start tomorrow. Thanks Mother Nature
    398 words untimed