The joy of not knowing what you’re doing

This time in Scumbug Scrambag Julia defeats Lady Mantis and her sisters by teaching their brood about spaghetti.

I hope it’s abundantly clear that I’m just making stuff up as I go. That’s how fiction works, in my opinion. I started with just a short note for each chapter, like “the Scumbug gets an assassin eaten by their kids.” Everything else is sort of improvised.

I say “sort of” improvised because I’m not like a comedian doing improv onstage. Once I’ve improvised something, I get to erase it and replace it or edit it. Even though the actual process of writing is improv every step of the way, the “final” product is the latest selection and ordering of improvisations.

I say “final” in quotes because I’d like to revisit some/all of these stories at some point and spruce them up. Edit them, rethink them, maybe rewrite them bottom to top. I think some of my favorite writing has come from combining half-baked ideas into one complete narrative, so even if a story doesn’t turn out how I want, it can be recycled or made into fertilizer.

At the moment I think Scumbug Scrambag holds up okay. The plots and counterplots don’t quite make sense, I think, but it’s hard to write political intrigues, even tongue-in-cheek ones about alien oozes and evil ambassadaddies. And yet I was able to write it anyway, and it’ll be easier to make it right now that it’s written. That’s the joy of not knowing what you’re doing.

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