The Open-Source Writing Movement

Generating ~500 words of new content every single day isn’t exactly difficult.  But after three months of doing it, I can definitively say that, for me at least, writing nonfiction is a trillion times easier than writing my fiction story.  When I write nonfiction, I can just plumb the depths of my brain and pluck any topic under the sun to write about which interests me.  I can write about entities, events, or people.  Or emotions, memories, or experiences.  All of it is fair game.  So easy!

But when I work on my fiction story, whatever entry I write next needs to connect to whatever I’d written for the story’s previous entry.  And while this constraint may sound trivial, I’ve genuinely found it to be a real challenge.  It’s tougher than one might think!

Take my entry yesterday, for example:  Interstice 2.2— I’m unhappy with it.  It captures the general feeling of what I wish to convey (world leaders have gathered in Davos and are struggling to make Big Decisions) but the passage’s placement is jarring and doesn’t connect smoothly from Interstice 2.1.  I went from writing general exposition in Int-2.1 (always among the easiest material to write– exposition!  General worldbuilding!) to jumping directly into a specific scene featuring two new characters, Johann and Beck, never before introduced.  Again, I’m unpleased with it but the daily story train rolls inexorably on! There’s no stopping it!  Also, starting with Interstice 2, I’ve upped my daily entry word count minimum to 500– this way, if I continue wanting 4,000-word chapters, it’ll cut down the writing time from ten days to eight days per chapter, a pace I’m happier with.

With this first draft, which I’m hoping to finish by April 2021, my aim is to simply get some semblance of the characters, setting, and general plot down on paper.  Then I imagine in the rewrite (which there will be several, I’m sure), I’ll slowly go through and iron out all of the kinks, inconsistencies, and rough transitions.  Since I’m organizing everything in WordPress, once I begin revising, I plan to create entirely new posts for every passage I rewrite– this way I’ll have a neat “timeline” of all of the revisions and ways that my fiction story evolved over time.  This is an idea borrowed directly from the software dev world where we using Version Control Systems (like GitHub) to audit every single code change we make to a project over time.  I’ve always wondered why established authors don’t use VCS for their written works.  (Or if they do, why they don’t release them to the public.)  I would love to see first drafts of Harry Potter or The Da Vinci Code to see how Rowling or Brown slowly put those books together.  In fact, I bet people would even pay money to see that!  That would be such a treat!

Anyway, like Gandhi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”  I’m going to do it! Someone’s gotta start the open-source writing movement. Might as well be me!  ✊😄❤️‍🔥