July’s Writing Goals: Story Spine Report 

Back at the start of the month, I wrote out some simple writing goals for July,  based on my diagnosis of where I am.

I’m not ready to write my next novel. Several failed attempts have proven that. I  need to work on the core elements of the story,  the story spine, as Kenn Adams, its creator, calls it.

The story spine gives the nature of the story,  the main conflict,  and the viewpoint character’s motivations,  all in one tight package. 

  • Once upon a time…
  • Every day…
  • But, one day…
  • Because of that…
  • Because of that…
  • Because of that… n
  • Until, finally…
  • And, ever since then.

So my goal for July was to keep up the blog five days a week without fail and to write four story spines. 

Four doesn’t sound like a lot,  but that is a mini-outline for four novels (or stories at least), when my biggest weakness had been creating core conflicts and characters strong enough to carry a novel or novella. 

Fortunately, I  succeeded,  and three of the four are actually stories I might be interested in developing further,  maybe even writing “all the way.”

The first was just practice, basically fanfic for a toy/cartoon/comic I liked as a kid (it was the 80’s. All the cartoons were also toy lines and comic books). Rights issues aside, all that stuff relied heavily on the myth of redemptive violence,  so I won’t even consider repurposing this story for an original setting. Sometimes practice is just practice.

But the other three fit my model of what I want to write: optimistic adventure fantasy with diverse casts, female leads,  and nonviolent heroes. 

The best pop culture equivalent is the new Doctor Who series. It is clearly an adventure series, with lots of action as the leads run from things or people who are trying to kill them. But most of the time, the Doctor and his companions find a way to solve the problem with killing or maiming anyone. At least they try. 

So anyway, I am excited about that. Victory #1 achieved.

My goals for August are a little more ambitious: continue the blog, write two more story spines of a usable quality, expand at least one story spine into a more detalied outline or zero draft, and write up at least three reports on impressive things authors have done in books I have recently read (these can be blog posts).

I’ll let you know how it went in a month. 

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