One Up Barcode: Eyes That Kill

Mario Powerups

I just finished Barcode: Eyes That Kill for the second time. I actually participated in NaNoWriMo last year and wrote ETK in two or three weeks. Once I was done, I finished editing Barcode: New War Order.

Though I loved the story in ETK, I knew I could write something better. When I learned character design, my instructor taught me the concept of “One Up.” It’s just what it sounds like. You take your original work and make it better.

With the One Up concept in mind, I wrote a stronger story with more emotional appeal, action, and comedy. That life lesson got me thinking, what if we could One Up our lives?

The mind is a very fickle monster. At one moment, we have all the confidence in the world. “I did that perfectly.” The next second, we’re questioning ourselves. “Is that my best work?”

I believe that everyone needs to have confidence, but you also need that other voice that makes you questions, “Is this my best?” The answer is probably no. In that case, how much time do you have to make it better? If you have enough time to improve your work, get the One Up Power Up and go to work.

Setting goals will help you decide whether you should One Up or move on. Give yourself a deadline that prevents you from spending too much time on your task. But use your time wisely. If you can go back and improve character interaction, plot, connections, or wording…DO IT!

Today, my objective is to start editing. In every stage of the editing process, I hope to One Up my story’s dialogue and imagery. I hope to improve the way readers are engaged in my novel. I’ve only given myself three to four months for full-time editing. Even if my cover artists aren’t finished by that time, I have to move on to a new project.

What’s your goal for the day?

3 Thoughts

  1. I’m in the middle of a professional develop course to receive some credentials to help me achieve my long term goals and i’m dealing with people that have more years of experience then I have been alive. So it hard not to feel overwhelmed, So my goal is not only to One-up myself but them as well to let them know the youngster won’t be bullied around.

    1. Great way to apply the concept. That was actually important when I taught an art class two summers ago. I told my students to trade drawings and to one up their partner. That creates competition and helps the artist realize that they can improve on a piece even if the original artist has more skills. If they didn’t improve the piece, it let them gauge their ability and find room for growth. Observing the strengths and flaws of your competition is a great way to improve but I’m sure a Marine knows that.

      1. Adapt and Overcome is what you will hear most Marines say, but either way you look at it if you don’t continue to move forward and improve yourself, your like a fish out of water sucking wind and waiting to die.

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