The Aramis Gothboi project: writing a children’s book

progress journal
DRAFT: 01 | word count: 35,262

Journal entry 28:

I spent the last few days casually honing my verbal pitch. At three minutes long, there’s not much to work with. I’ve been considering the flow of information and sentence structure to get it as clear as possible. I’m not great at writing uncomplicated lines when it comes to describing things. I have a habit of getting caught up in dumb turns of phrase that entertain me for the moment, which results in muddied clarity.

As mentioned last week, I have 400 or so words and three minutes to work with. I’ve had no problem fitting everything into that time limit and as a bonus, every time I go over it, I’m getting a clearer idea of where I’m wasting words. I’ve managed to shave off about 50 and between the next few hours before retiring for the evening, I believe I’ll lose a few more.

Note: A few words changed, but the length stayed the same.

I have a weird relationship with the process of editing. My brain doesn’t work quite the way other people’s do. Where some people can be quite clear in their meaning from the first word that comes out of their mouth, I was (and in many ways still am) a kid that would say ‘um’ a lot. Maybe this is because I’ve started talking before knowing what I wanted to say or I’m self-editing as I go, and the um is a buffering delay.

One of the positive things I got from doing standup was that this self-editing um process doesn’t go down great in a tight five. You’ve got to know what you’re going to say, or simply trust what you’re saying will result in what you mean. Admittedly it takes practice and learning to fly without a net is terrifying, but it has to be done.

Another thing, I’m not going to memorise this. I’d rather get it right than mess it up because I don’t remember it. 18 hours before it’s time to perform…

Journal entry 28.5:

Done. It went well, mostly.

A tech issue halfway through was one hitch—another was the order in which I presented my information, simply to frame the tone of the manuscript. I’d hoped the tone was inherent in my words and voice. It was not. I went too hard on the edit. Lesson learned. I also should have gone with memorising the piece—this would have given it the energy that spontaneity brings.

I am yet to learn I can do this without a net. This was not the end of all opportunity but it did mark the end of my studies.

I’m going to take a break before I push for that last 15,000 words. NaNoWriMo is just around the corner—perhaps there’s my chance to get it done.

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