Novel writing by Sharpie! This is the closest thing to outlining I’ve ever done. I was 40,000 words into something new and writing, as I usually do, from the seat of my pants. But then I got stuck, big time. So I bought some butcher paper and taped it up to my wall. I began in the center with what I knew to be true about the story, and then just started writing ideas, all the what ifs I could think of. And you know what? I don’t think any idea I wrote on that paper is ultimately where the story is headed, but the exercise of vomiting my thoughts with multi-colored Sharpies did unstick my brain—I was surprised how many new story-lines came to me after a week with the butcher paper.
The writerly lesson I learned: Don’t assume your typical way of story-lining is always best—try something new and see what happens. Oh, and don’t buy that large Post-It sticky paper—that stuff is crazy expensive. Butcher paper and painter’s tape, all the way.
Many of you know I’m a big Halloween guy, and my house gets 300 to 400 trick-or-treaters every year. I choose a theme each year (never repeating) and spend many weekends from August through October preparing for the big night.
This year’s theme: snakes.
Oh, hell yeah.
And if you want to get an idea of the fun I have scaring kids on Halloween, check out last year’s 30-second highlight reel.
What I’m Reading
Website I can’t get enough of: fivethirtyeight.com For fans of data, sports, and politics, this should be your homepage.
Recent book I loved: Allen Esken’s dark debut The Life We Bury. I was late to the game on this one, but so glad I got to it.