Inspiration: We’re All Victims of Instant Gratification

I know I should be writing Step 2 of my outlining series, but I kind of got caught off guard by this topic today. And, it is something that I want to talk about. Primarily because I know I’m a victim of instant gratification. I can almost guarantee you, that you are too.

(I also wrote a bad poem titled: Victim of Instant Gratification)

In a world where messages are instant, don’t you want everything else to be too. In the age of the internet, people have lost the understanding of what it means to work for something. Open up a web browser and BAM! the whole world is at your fingertips. Any piece of information you want can be accessed almost instantly. There is no waiting involved. As evidence of this point, I just did a google search for “instant gratification”, the response from Google was: “About 13,900,000 results (0.41 seconds)”. Do you know how short an amount of time .41 seconds is. I’ll tell you. Its less than the amount of time it takes you to blink. My finger had barely left the ENTER key before the page with the search results populated. Now tell me, if that’s not instant gratification, what is?

This is a problem for the world though. Why? Because it has created a generation of the ultra entitled. Countless people, the world over, believe that they’re entitled to everything that exists, and they’re entitled to it right now, just because they’re alive. I know this first hand. Why? Because I was one of them. I’m trying though, I’m learning to be better than that.

Nothing in this world is instant and worth having. To truly understand the value of a thing you have to have worked for it. To enjoy the success of some venture, you must have invested something into it. You must put your body, mind, heart, and soul into the process to acquire the McGuffin. Why? Because the world requires balance. You can’t have the good without the bad. And you have to have experienced the bad, the worst in fact, to understand the beauty of what it is you’ve accomplished.

Let’s take blogging as a short example. I’ve tried blogging on and off for the last ten years or so. Most often I’ll get about a month into it and give up. Why? It’s the instant gratification factor involved.

Building a successful blog takes time. It takes time to build an audience. It takes time to understand the different factors that are going to help your blog grow. You have to learn certain techniques to truly get things moving, and it takes time to learn those things. Search Engine Optimization (SEO for short) is not a skill that develops overnight. There are plenty of other factors as well. What type of content are you producing? How many people are interested in said content? Is it quality content? Do you know what you’re talking about? If you don’t know what you’re talking about, are you at least doing a good job of explaining the way you’re going about learning about this topic? And, this list could probably go on for hours.

Now, here I come expecting everything to be handed too me on a satin pillow, and, much to my surprise, I’ve had little to no traffic in the time a month has gone by. I feel like I’ve worked my heart and soul out, bleeding all over the keyboard as I’m doing it, and I’ve got nothing in return. So, at that point I would give up. I would never look past that, and not even try to understand what was happening. I wouldn’t look into learning how to do other things to help drive traffic, or improve the quality of my content, or really understand anything about how to build a blog. I just expected it to be super easy for me because I’m “ME” (and, yes, at the time I would think about myself in all caps). I’m trying to learn the difference this time.

I’m about four or five days into this attempt at blogging, and this time I’m determined to be successful. I’m not going to let the lack of instant gratification get to me, rather I’m going to understand that nothing comes without hard work and determination. Dedication and discipline are a requirement in this field. I’m also going to look at studying marketing and SEO and a hundred other things that are related to building a blog. I want to make a living as a writer, so I need to build an audience. A blog is one of the best ways to do that. Now, I just need to learn to be patient enough to put in the time and effort required to build it.

Come to think of it now, I might actually try to do something somewhat entertaining. (At least the thought of it to me is entertaining.) I believe I’ll track the progress of my blog both here on WordPress and on Medium (and maybe Blogger if I decide to revive that blog, though I’m basically just posting the same content on all of them.) Tracking the progress of the blog will go a long way towards helping me build the blog and understand how this unique online world works.

Anywho, I feel like I’m rambling, and have totally lost the thread of thought that was the impetus to this post. I’ve also got about a hundred other things I need to do on my day off. So, I’ll be signing off here. Have a good one.

Ryan S. Kinsgrove

RSK

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Outlining a Series With The Snowflake Method: Step One

This post was inspired by one of the questions I stumbled across in one of the writing groups I’m a member of on Facebook. The post by Ally Kelly in the Fantasy Writers Support Group is as follows. “There are different methods for outlining a single novel, such as the three act structure or a variety of other ways. But what about outlining something you know will be a multi-book trilogy/series- what are your methods for that? Do you just come up with an overarching plot for the whole series and then follow the three act structure for each individual book and lay them out, or whatever structure you choose to use for a singular book, or is there another method you follow that works for multiple books? Do you have or know of any templates that are specifically for outlining multiple books that are part of the same series?”

My answer to this question comes in the form of the Snowflake Method.

What is The Snowflake Method?

The Snowflake Method is a type of outline created by Randy Ingermanson. The outline is built over the course of ten steps with each step building on the one before it.

Step One

It starts out small with step one quite simply being a one sentence storyline. This single sentence is supposed to encapsulate the whole of the story and serve as a sort of tag line or pitch for the story. It’s not supposed to be very detailed, and Randy even suggests that one should try to keep the sentence under fifteen words. This leaves just enough room for the author to maybe describe the main character and introduce the conflict the story is about. Randy also suggests that the sentence should be left as vague as possible. This is the most basic step and will serve as the basis for every step that follows.

In practice, for me anyway, I find it extremely difficult to stick to the suggested level of detail in my one sentence storylines. I tend to be wordy and have a bad habit of adding superfluous details. That’s a stylistic thing though, and doesn’t really effect the way the rest of the outline is constructed. However, this one sentence storyline becomes more difficult to keep vague when you’re trying to outline a series. “That doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Let’s look at a fairly easy example: A young abused boy learns that he is a wizard and the chosen one in a prophecy that pits him against the most evil wizard of all time.” (28 words)

It’s quite a bit longer than the suggested length, but it gives a very clear idea of what happens throughout the course of the story. (It’s a one sentence storyline for Harry Potter if you couldn’t guess.) This is also an example of how wordy I tend to be. I can easily modify this sentence to give the same idea of the story without all the extra details: “A boy is the chosen one in a prophecy that pits him against the most evil wizard.” (17 words)

Still a bit longer than the suggested length, and I can still remove details while keeping the gist of what the series is about: “A boy is the chosen one and is pitted against an evil wizard.” (13 words)

Now, this sentence is right within the suggested amount of words with details about as vague as I can make them. Just between us, I hate this sentence. There might be enough information in it for this most basic step, but it doesn’t have nearly the detail I like in my one sentence storylines. My personal choice of the three sentences would be the second one. I feel like it has exactly the right amount of detail in the sentence. It adds weight to what is happening. In this storyline we know that the boy is the chosen one and that his coming has been prophesied, and that he is going to battle the most evil of all wizards. The third sentence doesn’t tell you that there’s a prophecy involved. While it does imply the existence of a prophecy by talking about the boy being the chosen one. In the third sentence it also doesn’t explain the importance behind the evil wizard. It just says that he’s an evil wizard, and while an evil wizard could certainly be a terrible thing for the world, it doesn’t feel like he could really be that much of a threat.


Now, the best way I know how to teach anything is via example. We’ve got the Harry Potter example above, and it’s simple to take that and extrapolate it until it represents the whole of the series. I think it would be best to take it from the top with a completely original outline for a new series.

Normally at this point I would go through a brainstorming session to try and determine what the basic premise of the new series is going to be, but since I don’t want this post to run on for another two or three pages I’m going to forego putting you through that process. If you do want to see that part of the process however, I will post it in a project journal on my blog at: ryanskinsgrove.wordpress.com. (I’ll create a hyper link to it once I get it posted.)

Brainstorming is complete, and what a headache it was. (It’s very hard for me to stay focused on one topic when I’m writing in a mostly stream of consciousness style.) But, I do have the one sentence storyline for my new series outline. The example outline I’m going to be writing is for a series titled The Dragon God’s Canticles, and the one sentence storyline follows: An unlikely team of heroes are gathered together to prevent the darkness of the demonic dragon god from spreading across the land. (22 words)

Yes, it is longer than the suggested length, but as discussed earlier I don’t care much for the suggested length. Besides, this isn’t the one sentence storyline for a single novel. It’s the storyline for an entire series. So, I’m going to say a little bit of extra is a-okay.

Anywho, that’s the first step of my Series Snowflake Method…series XD. Stay tuned for the next installment, which should be posted tomorrow.

Ryan S. Kinsgrove

Follow along with my peculiar brand of insanity: https://upscri.be/5a20f7/

RSK

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Poem a Day: Waiting + Announcement

 

Is it going to be today?
What about tomorrow?
God, I need the pay,
So I do not have to borrow.

Cold Lunch is coming,
Long have I waited.
Lucien’s ever cunning,
Renfield’s thirst is sated.

Nervousness surrounds me,
Choking with anticipation,
Will they even like thee,
Can this be my occupation.

None can quench my thirst,
Cold Lunch comes on May first.

 

***Author’s Note***

So, my debut novel Cold Lunch is going to be released on May 1st and I am so on edge right now. XD

I’m filled with such a wild mix of emotions right now, and I don’t know which direction I should be going.

And, part of me is depressed, because I know this isn’t going to be a miracle moment. This release is going to change things for me, forever, but it’s not the miracle cure I’ve been dying for. I’ll still have to have a day job after the 1st. I have a long uphill battle with marketing coming up on the second. I put the book out there. I built it, now I need to let people know about it so they can come.

That being said, if you would be so kind, I’ve just started setting up a mailing list of like minded individuals. I thought I’d call you all my Kinsgrovians, and my newsletter will be the Kinsgrovian Press. Now, if you would, I’d like you to click right here, and sign up on my mailing list. That way you won’t miss an ounce of Kinsgrove.

How to Write a Blog Gone Horribly Wrong!

Catchy click-bait title, or something like that. Anyway I’m currently taking an email course on blogging by Jeff Goins, and I will personally say I think he’s an awesome guy from what I’ve read about him. As such, nothing in this post is intended to harm or insult Jeff any anyway. I only wish you the best.

 

That being said.

 

I am a little over halfway through the course now and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. The first thing that made me kind of cringe was right off the bat.

 

Choosing a topic.

 

The purpose for the blog came first, and my purpose was fairly simple: I want to build a fanbase and eventually turn it into a way to make an income. That’s the goal there, lol. Professional blogger. Still, the purpose for the blog was simple to come up with.

 

Lesson number 2 was Focus. In this lesson we sat down and scribbled down a list of things we found most interesting about ourselves, about things we were familiar with, topics about how something… something… something… I can’t remember all of it right now. Night time meds are kicking in. (Note to self: write blog posts before you take the sleep meds. I don’t know what it is, but Benadryl knocks me the eff out.)

 

Anyway, topics and things. I was able to boil my top three topics down into something I would love to write about that would overlap everything I was interested in. A dash of games, a touch of writing, the stuff that’s written on the little about me on the web site. The answer to the question Jeff posed “What is your blog going to be about?” “World Building.”

 

World Building is the factor in fantasy, in writing, working as a game master, it’s the factor that I love above all others. I could easily see me doing a blog about nothing but world building, writing different world building topics every day for the rest of eternity. Could I do it? Yes, but not here. I’m not going to turn Ryan S. Kinsgrove into a blog about world building. I’m not going to force a topical structure onto what is very brazenly a personal blog. Not going to do it. Not going to do it.

 

That doesn’t mean I won’t at some point, make a blog about world building and world building alone. But, I’ve got things that need to be straightened out first. Things I’m sure all of you are aware of. If you’re a living breathing adult in this society, you are most definitely aware.

 

I so don’t want to adult.

 

Just like I don’t want to turn Ryan S. Kinsgrove on its head and pretend the last four months of inconsistent posting have meant nothing. I have a very ADD personality, and I feel like my blog should be representative of that. I will be gaga for one thing this week, and totally hate it and curse its existence the next week. I could… Hey!!! Look!!! A Squirrel!!!!

 

Hi squirrel! Hi squirrely squirrely squirrely mcsquirrely pants!

 

Wait… Was I doing something? Oh, if I had a point, I lost it. Dang squirrels will do that to ya.

 

But, I am enjoying Jeff’s email course. He’s just starting to cover things I don’t think I’m ready to handle yet. Maybe I’ll keep those lessons secreted away in one of my unused email folders, and seek them out when I feel I’m far more ready for them.

 

Maybe, something like that.

 

Anyway, if you like the madness here at Ryan S. Kinsgrove you should click the subscribe button, via email or wordpress account either one is fine, and be sure to share me on all your favorite social media platforms. Spread the word about just how awesome Kinsgrove is.

Poem A Day: Topical, Personal, Is it Optional?

Topical or personal,
I don’t know what’s best,
Jeff tells us personal is terminal,
It can’t pass the test.

 

You want a big audience,
You have to have something to say,
You can’t just be a hobbyist,
Your list won’t grow that way.

 

But I like my poetry,
I like the random ADD fueled,
Midnight rants about pottery,
And how they may be jeweled.

 

He says topical is the option,
To make the best concoction.

 

***Author’s Note***

Image credit is from Amazon.com