The Integration Project: Day 4 – The story hits its stride

Today’s #LeticiaWrites session sees our protagonist hit the story’s catalyst point, and our new Flash Fiction of the Month Club members get their first story in the post. Wow.
The Integration Project

Happy #LeticiaWrites day, Patrons! It’s been ages. I was sick last week, and spent four days in bed, so hadn’t done anything (you may have seen my post about that).

This week, I found myself blocked by the Twitter Police, due to wrongthink. And it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I’m much happier when I can’t use Twitter, honestly. I don’t like the platform or its politics, and find that I use it only because of the sunk cost fallacy. I’ve been there 10 years, and getting out feels hard.

It’s fucking easy, actually. And beneficial.

The result was that I am on Gab instead, and have a #LeticiaWrites Telegram channel, which you’re welcome to subscribe to for more personal notifications about what’s going on in this creative world between ‘official’ updates.

Today, two amazing things. First, on The Integration Project I not only hit my word count target for the day (and for the beat!), but finished a beat, started a new one, and am finally seeing some runs on the board in terms of story. I’ve gotten past all the setup hoo-ha and am getting into character decision-making. Right now, our protagonist Mandy is facing a dilemma. Does she become integrated, or not? She’s about to hit the catalyst moment in the storyline, the point in which she is faced with the pros and cons and has to make this fateful decision.

It’s exciting as hell, I have to say.

This story has already surprised me. My characters have already surprised me. I’ve already found myself weaving into the story small pieces of pop culture, as foreshadowing of what’s to come and what the story is about.

Usually, I write short fiction – you guys already know that. With short fiction there isn’t any need to keep track of things that foreshadow other movements in the story. There isn’t any need to keep track of apparently throwaway comments, places that characters have been, defining moments. While I have planned this book out pretty completely, I know where I’m going. What I didn’t have was a record of where I’ve been.

Well, not until today. I have started comprehensive lists of character moments, foreshadowing. elements that I’ve started weaving in. I have to, otherwise at some point they won’t make sense. Having been an editor on full-length books, I know that keeping track of story moments is critical for getting everything to line up. Doing it as a writer is simply logical, but until today I hadn’t ever seen the need to do it. Since starting it, I’ve gotten even more enthusiastic about where I can take this narrative and how I piece it all together, because I’m no longer afraid of it. I’m not afraid of losing characters or story points or decisions. I’m not afraid of getting lost in the story. I’m not afraid of it becoming irrelevant. And I’m not afraid of going to the detail.

This is how come I smashed out about 3200 words in a few hours today. To be honest, once I finished the beat, I really wanted to stop. My wrists were aching and today’s creative juice had been nearly squeezed dry, is the way I felt. But I put the beat back on The Board, grabbed the next one, and kept going.

In this work, as in anything – from fitness to concentration – there’s a moment where you just want to stop. Evolution happens when you push yourself past that point no matter how you feel. And so, once I was a couple of paragraphs into the next beat, then I stopped. It’ll be easier to keep going next time.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am already pretty close to the end of Act I.

And you want to know the most exciting thing? I wrote an alternative piece of the storyline for the Flash Fiction of the Month Club, and left it inside the manuscript for The Integration Project. It takes the story somewhere else completely, adds a third layer of storyline, and it took my breath away. Those of you who are members of the Club will get it either this week or next, and I’d love to hear what you think.

And so! Today’s session is already at an end. When we get to the end of Act I, I’m going to read you the entire Act. Ooof, I can’t wait.

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