For a while now, I’ve had a vision of writing a self-published story that had a structure similar to a TV show. There would be overarching narrative threads as well as self-contained stories. A couple of previous attempts fizzled out, but Chamomile Girl has had a real energy to it. LaRose in particular seems to elevate the story above the ones I have tried before. Readers resonated with her in ways that energized me, and made me want to keep producing content.
What I haven’t figured out is the schedule. My first attempt was all wrong. I was pushing myself to go public with my chapters too fast, and I haven’t been able to review them properly. I also know, from previous experiences, that writing and posting too slow is as dangerous as writing too fast. Somewhere there’s a balance, and I appreciate everybody reading along while I try to find it.
I’ve also learned that, while I can go back and rephrase or rearrange a scene, I can’t move forward on a bad setup. For example, in Chamomile Girl, I am kicking myself for the way I set up the parasites that LaRose sees on people’s souls. The more I think about what they are meant to symbolize, the more I hate how I initially described them. If I just leave it as written, I will have to pay off what I wrote, which means a major world building point will be embedded all wrong. But going back and rewriting it will change too much, because I worked those parasites into tension and conflict. That’s how good writing works; you keep exposition from being boring by embedding it into the plot. I hated being trapped into that initial description.
I think I will do better if I make myself write bigger chunks, published less frequently and on a preset schedule. I will try that for four months. If it goes well, I will stick to that, and if not, I’ll write another post like this one, explaining what worked and what didn’t, and what I’ll do next. And if that doesn’t work, well, I’ll keep going until I find something sustainable.
The good news is that, at the very least, at the end of this you should have a completed miniseries with a satisfying ending. Here’s a taste of what’s to come over the next few months.
- February 1st: use what worked from the first Chamomile Girl attempt to write a short story about Uncle Taylor meeting a much younger LaRose. If you’re into cranky old men bonding with sweet little kids, I think you’ll enjoy it as much if not more than the original stuff I wrote.
- March 1st: the first half of a two-parter where I develop the world and LaRose’s powers. It will give me some time to fix the mistakes I made the first time around.
- April 1st: the second half of said two-parter.
- May 1st: a final short story that wraps up major threads introduced in the first three, as well as re-introducing Jack, a character who I initially brought into the story way too soon.
After that, I will take a break in June, to reflect on whether or not this worked, and plan the next set of stories.
I’ve taken my original chapters down, but if you want to read what I originally wrote, see these links right here. Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading. Your views and likes and feedback encourage me to keep trying, and there are no words for how much I appreciate you!