Friday, March 29, 2019

Free Collection of Useful Writing tools and Update on Patreon

I've been on Patreon for three full months now, and I'm seriously grateful to the people who've chosen to join me. I'd been kicking around the idea for awhile, getting some raised eyebrows, wondering if it wasn't just some kind of weird hubris. However, I'm not lying when I say I'm drowning in information. I used to write powerpoints like people would jot down notes, and I have years of workshops to sort through.

Sometimes I surprise myself (I wrote that??), sometimes I find a groaner (whoa. I wrote that) and sometimes I find things where I was way off because as Chatman (still my hero after all these years) said, "craft is synthesis." Okay, he really didn't say that. I'm actually paraphrasing because I think he was talking about rhetoric. But in my mind, it just means that learning craft is a journey, and we're always adding to our body of knowledge, evaluating and discarding what doesn't work, and tweaking what does.

I know a little more than I did way back in the beginning, simply because I've had the opportunity to work on literally hundreds of manuscripts. So I've had the pleasure of turning theory into practice multiple times. It made me discard what doesn't work, and refine what does. Back in the day, you'd never hear me talking about the literal beginning and end of the story in the way I do today, or being so laid back about telling (showing works, but honestly--so does telling. It all depends).

I did a series recently. The posts weren't a series when I wrote them, they were actually the powerpoints from three different workshops. But if you're interested in how to tighten and deepen your character-driven story, you're welcome to check out these links (and while you're at it, the rest of the public posts I did for my page).

1. A Quick, No-Nonsense Guide to Action and Emotional Through-lines
2. How to Use Time and Action Through-lines for the Strongest Impact
3. How to Work with Theme on Paper 

They're easier to understand in order, and they have lots of pictures, something I've grown to like over the years. Not saying a thousand words aren't better than one picture, but I don't have as much time as I used to have, and this works for me.

Takeaways from Patreon:
  • I really like the email question thing. That works for me. I enjoy questions and it keeps me sharp.
  • People need help with outlines, and I've discovered I like working with them. It's a big picture snapshot and fixes everything from conflict and motivation, to pace and plot problems. Maybe I'm growing into a plotter (nah. Just joking.)
  • Patreon is really not the most intuitive place. It seems simple on the patron side, but the back end is like using a Mac when you've always had Windows XP. It works, but it's awkward and sometimes I'm scratching my head going...uh, where? Probably why I do the bulk of my work via email. Just sayin' but I think gmail is going to be around for the next few decades and I'm glad I got my name while it was in beta.
  • The highest tier I have is a come and go place, where people drop in, get work done, drop out. Not a surprise really since I set it up that way. The other tiers (#2 questions/ #3 chapters) seem to have the most stability.
  • Never really thought about the whole payment thing. I just figured if I was providing services it was better to charge upfront. Turns out if people move upwards to a higher tier, they get charged twice since I charge upfront (totally not cool). The workaround is to sign up, cancel. You still get the month of benefits, and sign up at a higher tier the next month for different benefits. I'm sure there are random variations, but that's what I have so far. Mayra was kind enough to figure that out for me, and I'm thrilled there's a workaround.
You're welcome to check out my tiers too (although you don't have to. It's just in case you might be thinking about some "tech" support for a later project).

On the big plus side, my wild indigo is growing (and if that's not a random shift, I don't know what is)!! I planted it last winter and it's all coming up. I'm so thrilled. I've been trying to grow wildflowers and not doing all that well. I figured if I could just get something growing I could move it around once it's established. Maybe use it to support my irises or something. Wish me luck, because this is the year of the garden. And maybe cleaning up some of my once planned English garden (and current "wild" garden).

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