47 Mind Hacks for Writers by Karen Dimmick & Steve Dimmick
and using the exercises as blog post prompts.
This is another goal setting exercise, but this time it seems to be to determine why a set goal is important.
I’m going to start by working with a goal from my previous post.
To consider the feedback of two (already lined up) Beta Readers and then self-publish Fractions of Existence in 2017.
For simplicity’s sake, I’m knocking that down to just the ending. (I already know why I’m considering the feedback of these two lined up Beta Readers. One is a tough critic and I’m looking forward to seeing if I can win him over. The other is great for spotting errors, so that’s more like a proofing thing, which matters because I have two new scenes.)
For this, I’m supposed to label the answers 1 thru 7.
What’s important to me about publishing Fractions of Existence?
1— The basis of FoE was passed on to me by my ancestors. I was chosen to write it, to be the one to share this story and these characters with the world.
What’s important to me about publishing the story my ancestors chose me to write?
2— I fell in love with the characters and got to know them in a way that, perhaps, no other ever had. I feel that it’s important to share this version, my version, of them.
What’s important to me about sharing these characters?
3— There’s so much world history that divides us. These characters, though it perhaps isn’t totally evident in the first book, are the opposite of that. They are what unites humanity.
What’s important to me about humanity being united?
4— Peace is the end result of a united humanity. Perhaps we aren’t all working toward one goal, but maybe if certain groups felt that our origin was more common ground, maybe it would change the way they think. That’s a bit pie-in-the-sky for a fiction series, but if it stops one act of violence, that’d be something.
What’s important to me about peace, common ground, and stopping violence?
5— I grew up in a peaceful community where people considered all life to be connected. The acts of violence I’ve experienced outside of that community… (I’m the uncivilized one? There’s something wrong with the Dictionary.) I don’t see how society can possibly go on this way. And, SPOILER ALERT, the book series will reflect that. (Is that a spoiler? I’ve mentioned before that the first four books are pre-dystopian.)
What’s important to me about keeping society from collapsing in a dystopia?
6— Okay, first off, my ego needs to clarify that I don’t believe that this one book series is going to single-handly usher in world peace, or even peace in one country. But what would make a huge difference is if it changed the view and actions of one person who would have otherwise committed an act of violence. (This trail of thought is really interesting, considering that the characters in the book aren’t non-violent. One especially, who very much enjoys wars and fighting.)
What’s important to me about getting just one person to not commit violence against another?
7— It will mean the world to the person who isn’t hurt. Technically, the person probably will never know. That’s okay. I can’t change my own past, or the past of others who have been hurt. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll save one person.
The next part is summing up the reasons from 5, 6, and 7.
I want to publish the Existence series because I believe the characters can give people a reason to aim for more peace, that the books could get one person to reconsider committing an act of violence against another person.
Seems like a very lofty goal.
How would it work out with Anah’s story?
What’s important to me about publishing Anah’s Story?
1— I hadn’t set out with that intention, but several people liked it and asked if I was going to turn it into a book. So I guess what’s important to be about publishing this story is appeasing the crowd, giving the people what they want because I’ll enjoy doing it.
What’s important to me about giving people what they want while doing what I enjoy doing?
2— To write a story that’s already marketed is much easier than writing one that an audience is leery about. (This is the basis for why big-name authors can get almost any book greenlit.)
What’s important to me about writing a story that’s easier?
3— It’s relaxing and cathartic. I love writing. The stress of trying to sell a hard-to-grasp concept or book with a controversial subject at the core has left me broken. Trying to phrase a query letter in a way that makes it seem like Fractions of Existence could be a stand alone book… absurd. It isn’t. It’s just the latest part of the story that can serve as an opening. If it started on the second book, the audience wouldn’t know why Gwendolyn is so far behind everyone else. If it started on book three, six of the character arcs would be lost. If it started on book four, none of it would make sense at all. But now I’m rambling on about the Existence series when I’m supposed to be talking about Anah’s story!
What’s important to me about writing a less stressful story?
4— It’d just be fun. Just fun, plain and simple.
What’s important to me about writing for fun?
5— I don’t want to be one of those writers that burns out. There’s a point where it’s not just writer’s block, where it’s dread and fear and negative emotions. I don’t want those bad juju vibes in my writing space!
What’s important to me about not burning out?
6— There’s nothing I’d rather do with my life than write. Burning out would prevent that.
What’s important to me about writing?
7— It’s what I’m meant to do, or so I’ve been told. And, honestly, it does feel like what I should do, because it’s something I have been doing since I was old enough to string together sentences on a page. There’s nothing I’d rather study, nothing I’d rather devote my career time to, nothing I’d rather be remembered for work-wise. Maybe it’s more than work-wise, since that seems to be how history remembers people — not as great spouses, parents, or children, but as leaders, artists, or inventors.
(Off the top of your head: Gaius Julius Caesar, Napoleon Bonaparte, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, Charles Dickens, Melitta Bentz, Charles Babbage — who were their spouses, parents, and children? Roman Emperor, French Conquer, painter, writer, coffee filter inventor, father of computers — that’s how they’re remembered by the population. We remember people for what sets them apart from the pack, not for mastering what we’re all expected to do well.)
Summary of 5, 6, and 7:
I want to be remembered for writing because that’s what I want to spend my life doing, and I never want to stop.
Have you ever tried writing a goal this way?