Mark J. Rose

Writing Matt Miller in the Colonies – Blog Entry 4

Blog 4, Main

JUNE 9, 2022 – BLOG ENTRY 4 

I tried hard to map out exactly what would happen to Matt Miller on about one hundred different occasions. I was convinced that no good story could be told unless you knew, start to finish, where you were going. Before writing the first book, I remember being mesmerized by Battlestar Galactica on the SciFy Channel (2004 to 2009). Battlestar Galactica was science fiction at its best. I was impressed by how the writers brought the series to a close and made it look like that’s what they were trying to do from the very beginning. Storyboarding was one way that I knew to accomplish this. It was a technique I learned while writing screenplays and something I had tried on numerous occasions at the kitchen table.

I decided to go all out on Matt Miller Book Four — I would make a plan and follow it to the letter. Matt was supposed to be a hero, and he would take the Hero’s Journey (more about the Hero’s Journey later). I bought a colossal corkboard and a stack of multicolored 3×5 cards. I then wasted an enormous amount of time mounting the board on the wall, organizing it into sections, writing on the cards, and even finding metal pushpins. I remember feeling that nothing could happen without those expensive metal pins and if I could have bought gold-plated pins for such a noble undertaking, I would have. My storyboard would be the be-all and end-all, and it deserved nothing less than the best.

I’ve since carried that corkboard with its flapping cards to three different homes (did I mention that my wife surprised me with divorce papers). No matter how often I dusted those cards off, stared at them, and rearranged them, the story structure never seemed clear or quite right. I looked at that board one last time and moved it into the back storage shed, still pinned with cards. I needed to stop planning, start writing and let the story take me where it wanted to go. The only way I would find out what would happen to Matt Miller was to write it down.

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Writing Matt Miller in the Colonies – Blog Entry 10

I don’t want to give you the impression that I was locked in my room reading as a child. Most times, I was going off alone or with older kids. I lived in the city of Pittsburgh, and there was no end to the mischief an intelligent child could get into when his twenty-something parents said, “Go out and play.” I explored the world and did my best to bring it back home with me.

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