See, I told you this story would be back.

So, what was the delay? Did I get writer’s block? Did my computer burn down? Did I just forget about this site altogether?

Nope, nothing that banal. No, at first the delay came from writer’s block. No surprise there. From July onwards, however, the reason this site lay fallow was that I’d re-written the entire story — all six remaining scripts — completely in twenty days.

Yes, twenty days.

Therein lies a tale…

THERE’S MY MUSE!

Let’s set the Wayback Machine to the Fourth of July weekend, 2013. My family and I headed out to CONvergence, the local SF and Fantasy convention. This was the time of year where we shook off our corporate personas and got in touch with the burning core of nerd joy that drove us throughout the year.

Except for me.

See, I was burned out. Issue Three’s script had kicked me in the crotch repeatedly, and this project was stalled. I considered not heading to the convention at all. Maybe if I closed myself off for the long weekend I could just write and break through my damnable block. I was gonna beat this problem, darn it; with that challenge looming, who had time for nerdy frivolity?

Fortunately, my wife didn’t agree. “Go,” she insisted, packing my bags. “Relax!”

“But–” I began.

“Relax!” she insisted.

“This…this isn’t a suggestion, is it?” I asked.

She just shot me a look.

So, off we went. I mean, what did I have to lose? Maybe I’d recharge my batteries. At the very least, I expected to play some games, watch some movies, and get back in touch with the things I loved.

The last thing I expected, though, was for those three days re-awaken my Muse.

Oh, who am I kidding? That convention didn’t just wake my Muse up; it poured coffee down her throat, dipped her in an adrenaline wading pool, and zapped her with a cattle prod. Ideas, so long stymied, flowed unbidden. By the end of the long weekend I knew exactly how Issue 3 would flow. Even better, I knew how the rest of the story worked now. Not “kind of,” or “I see where it’s going;” no, I saw the path clear as day.

Finally — FINALLY — I was ready to proceed.

CATALYSTS

All it took to move me forward was some good — and more importantly, professional — advice.

More specifically, I attended Lou Anders’ “Script Structure for Novelists” seminar. That one hour in a darkened convention room did more to move this project forward than months of my beating my head against a keyboard. It provided context, focus, and direction for Discarded Lives, all in sixty minutes.

Yeah. I think the convention was worth it this year.

FINGERS ON FIRE

I started re-writing Issue 3 on the Sunday I came back from the convention.

Twenty days later, I had it and all seven remaining scripts in the story completed.

Just like that, I had the entire Discarded Lives story laid out in front of me.

Just like that, I saw the path ahead.

Just like that, I realized that I had a lot — a LOT — more work ahead of me.

I didn’t mind. I knew where I was going now. Now all I had to do was bring my scripts to life.

So, how did I make such incredible progress?

Well…I think that will have to wait for another article.

Welcome back to Discarded Lives, folks. Buckle up: This ride is just getting started.