Pre-story ‘set-up’ writing?

Mike GristUncategorized Leave a Comment

I had some time today for writing, and I set to it with slogging perseverance. It was not especially fun, more like wrestling with a slippery goat in a vat of cold spaghetti bolognese. There were certainly mini-highs, as I stumbled upon a bit that seemed fun or pointing in the right direction, but there were quite a lot of fumbles and potential missteps.

Ah, writing beginnings. They have to do so much work- . And recently, I keep on setting myself challenges to ‘set up’ the story with a pre-story, because I want to ‘situate’ the crazy changes to come (whether it’s zombie apocalypse or mind-vampires or whatever) with a firm sense of reality.

I did it with Amo in The Last, and a mini romance which then went o to inform the whole book, set stakes, and provide a sense of closure at the end. I did it Anna in The Lost. Doing it with Cerulean in this latest book is going to be of a different sort, and it’s a challenge to make it conflict-ful (conflictual?).

Of course there is the other school of ‘in media res’. You start at a high, and get the character and stakes stuff stuck in via backstory. That way is fine too. I did that in both the other zombie books as well, in addition to the opening story. But I think, for me, I’ve really enjoyed movies and stories where the characters are fun and interesting independent of whatever the big story event is, and we see that for some time.

There are countless examples. Ghostbusters. The Goonies. Super 8. No others spring to mind right now…

I think I’ll get it with Cerulean. If I don’t, I’ll try something else. I’ve got an arc, a middle and an end with punch. In fact I’ve written much of the end already. Now I need to make it sync up to the beginning for maximum punch and full-circleness.

In life news- work was work. This week was all materials development, along with the next two weeks.

In house news- the plumber came and did ‘first-fix’ on the shower. Total installation cost will be 1200 pounds!! The shower and all bits (including tiles) came to 500. We already spent 250 for the previous plumber to pull out the old shower. It’s getting to be serious money.

In sales news- sales continue to fall, which is natural after a promotion. They rise and fall, down to 5 sales (actually that’s up! 🙂 ) and 2,000 pages read (cut in half or even third).

Here is a picture of the shower before and after:


After being ripped out. God, it looks nasty where the shower tray had cracked and was leaking through. Most of these tiles just fell off with a touch, they were so rotten.


This looks much healthier. The previous shower tray was literally a few millimeter thin plastic stuffed with foam core crap. This one is some kind of stone resin.


This thing was leaking.


Not anymore! New shower taps will go on on Tuesday.

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