GUEST BLOG with The Man -Armand Rosamilia
I’m a pantser. To me, nothing kills an idea like an outline, even a few sketched lines. I’ve tried it. Years ago I used to put an outline together and even write in some scene ideas or dialogue or action, figuring it would grow from there. It usually didn’t.
I’m also not very big on writing ahead in the story. I might jump a chapter or two with a new character, but I can’t skip ahead in the story or write an ending first. I like the natural flow of the story and writing and reading it in ‘real time’ instead of jumping around.
But when I was contacted to do Miami Spy Games I was also offered a challenge: I had to tell a dozen smaller stories, with cliffhangers, and tie them all together in one motion. There are several big spots in the episodes (you’ll have to read them, I won’t give out spoilers) that I needed to hit during specific parts, and the fun was trying to get to them naturally.
Planning a definite story arc in 7,500 word increments, with every three or four episodes making up a bigger plotline to finish or reach some conclusion was daunting at first. I tend to write and write and see where the story goes. With a definite arc it actually flowed and I got into the groove when Hobbes End Publishing gave me several key ideas to use in the story, or suggested things as simple as ‘write in a zombie dog’.
I use index cards for everything. They litter my desk, overflow from my laptop bag, and are scattered on my floor at home. I started by pulling 12 clean index cards and figuring to write out the main point(s) of each episode on them. I ended up with over 50 index cards, all scribbled on both sides and with many yellow and pink highlighted parts. The fun when writing the last four episodes and getting to some kind of ending was mixing and matching the ideas I had written down until it made sense and had a flow to it.
It didn’t hinder the story, because at this point I was so in tune with the main characters and wanted to see where it went to as a reader. Writing Miami Spy Games was a fun challenge and took me out of my comfort zone, which I needed. I can’t wait to get the green light for a second series of stories, because it is fun to play in this world, and build it as a story arc.
If you have any questions about the Miami Spy Games series, I’d love to hear them: firstname.lastname@example.org
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