Year of the Panda: The Table of Contents (Again)

When I embarked on this journey, I had a few ideas written down on paper not in prose form, but in outline form. And as the story continued, as the story evolved, I wrote down more ideas, but in prose form and not in outline form. And as that continued, the ideas and prose and outline all grew… completely the fuck out of control.


As it stands right now, there are 22 chronological chapters in this here masterpiece. I know that this isn’t really anything in comparison to some stories, but for me this is HUGE. I don’t ever get this far, especially in just the planning stages.

But, here I am. Planning and writing, writing and planning, and getting so little done that any hint of productivity feels like a call for celebration. Perhaps a salad to celebrate the fact that I at least got some of the outline written out…

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Year of the Panda: Hemingway’s Words of Wisdom

Koala, my muse, my editor, my critic, said this to me earlier today. I’ve been giving her the story chapter by chapter, letting her read, letting her give me pointers and insight, letting her not necessarily help shape the story (though in the case of Chapter Three, she helped reshape the story dramatically), but to help shape the narrative and make it, well, readable.

So I was feeling a little down on myself with regards to this particular piece. I’ve been hand-writing the story and then typing it up, and as I got through this chapter I noticed something… a little icky:

  1. My characters clear their throats. A lot.
  2. They also chuckle far too much.
  3. And “card [whomever’s] fingers through their hair”? Does that actually happen in real life

So Koala suggested, when the time comes, to do a search and replace on certain phrases and see what I can replace them with. Which, when the times comes, I will absolutely do. But it’s only May in the Year of the Panda, and I’m not even finished with the story yet, let alone ready to do any editing. Koala’s right, though. I need to stop being so hard on myself, especially this early in the crafting process.

“The first draft is usually shit.” Ernest Hemingway said that, and I think he’s a pretty famous writer so maybe he knows a thing or two about the craft and the whatnot involved in writing.

Maybe I need to lock myself away and just barrel through and finish this damn thing. The zero draft, I mean. The first draft will be the typed-up copy that Koala gets to read, the zero draft is what is written in the notebook. I need to tell myself that it’s okay if this is crap. It can all be fixed.