Archive for October, 2009

Progress During Chaos

October 30, 2009

have been working on edits for Galileo and thinking about changing over to Sorcerer’s Carnival for a bit. My creativity is on the border of boredom. I guess I’ll never be one of those writers that works on projects one at a time.

With the holiday’s, school, and work, I’ve had little time to keep progress here and write.

Chapter 13 is coming along well. With the subplot and character changes outlined in earlier entries here, I’ve been busy making a lot of modifications. I’m hoping to have Chapter 13 completed by next Friday.

Then I have to decide, as mentioned above, whether to trek through to Chapter 14 or change over to Sorcerer’s Carnival for a bit. I guess my creative flow will veer in its own direction when I get there.

Good writing to all and I hope to bring a more thorough entry tomorrow or Sunday.


Progress Update

October 15, 2009

Galileo War is going well, finished the last two scenes I needed for the chapter. Now I just need to flesh out the transitions between them. Then it will be moving to the editing marathon phase.

I’ve been so focused on Galileo, once the characters and I started conversing again in my head, that I’ve neglected my short story Sorcerer’s Carnival. I need to find time to finish those revisions. The deadline is not until March, but I’d like to keep some breathing room for brain freezes and character tantrums.

Well, signing off for today…good writing to all my fellow writers out there.

Starting Back Up

October 14, 2009

Yeah…eventually it’s going to happen. You’re rolling along and rocking out your story when WHAM, you’re hit with life.

The kids get sick, you get sick, your day job demands overtime. It happens.

Then after a week or so you’re kids get healthy, you get better, your workload lightens back up.

Now what?

You’re staring blankly at your work that just a week before you were pouring your brain into with a realization you’re lost and not sure where to start.

This is what I faced last night. So, I took the time to really think about this, so I could document it here for future use.

My first instinct was to just start from the beginning of the manuscript to “get back in the flow”. So I started reading. After 3 chapters, I felt further behind then before. I stopped to reconsider my approach.

This is what got me started back up…maybe it’ll work for you.

Goal: To zone in from big picture to a manageable “bite”.

  1. Scanned the storyboard for that chapter
  2. Reviewed last 5 paragraphs written (ignoring editing mistake, which is ripe with distraction potential)
  3. Mentally checked off accomplished bullets from the storyboard
  4. Then, integrating earlier advice from a commenter here, I started the next big scene in the chapter (worry about transition paragraph later, after the flow has opened back up)

Whoa-la! My creativity is flowing and my story is moving along.

Painting Your Story

October 4, 2009

I wanted to spend a quick few words giving an apology. It seems that unwittingly, I set my blog’s comment filters too high and your comments weren’t posting. I just found them, approved them, and then fixed the settings. Here I thought I was just blogging to an empty audience!

Okay, so now that I’ve confessed my blogging mishap I can turn to Saturday’s writing wisdom (quiet in the peanut gallery).

Today I did not write. I know. The week has been a mad cap of writing frenzy up to now. Then today…nothing.

I needed to reset the brain. Everything’s emptied out so fast, I’ve gotten ahead of myself. Of course, it doesn’t mean I’ve stopped the writing process. I don’t even know if that’s possible. If so, my midnight ideas could be moved to a more convenient time.

Today was a day of white canvas and colorful paint. My creative outlet needed a change of scenery.

The sky came first.

Dipped the brush in water, then into paint, and started turning a blank white surface into a sunny, clear day. Happy, calm, lifted…I painted a perfect sky. The emotions I pulled to the surface when writing the turmoil of my characters washed away, lost in the cool, calm blue. My shoulder’s relaxed, my breathing evened, and my muscle tension eased. My brain waves started to flow at a meandering pace…revisiting stories and ideas at a productive, healthy pace.

The ground came next.

Beautiful brown beach. Not too sandy, a few pebbles to make some imperfections. Like writing…the interesting parts are in the nitty gritty. My now calm and flowing thoughts started to spark…attracted by a few eye-catching ideas. The reality of the hard, rough beach in my picture grounded my ideas. Made them more real.

Troubling aspects of my story, the ones that had become convoluted, are clear to me now…my vision landed on its beach, a little imperfect but real.

I am ready to write again.

What is your canvas and paint? Sometimes you have to lose your focus to find your solution.

Memories as a Writing Tool

October 2, 2009

Using memories to write is a great technique, if done correctly. It can give an added depth to the readers experience by strengthening the scene’s clarity and details. There are two ways to use memories when writing (at least that I know of): direct and indirect.

The direct use would be as an actual version of the memory in a scene. The indirect method is to use the emotional aspects of the memory for the purpose of your scene.

A writer must be cautious when using this writing method. If done incorrectly, your experience and emotional connection to the event can replace the narrative voice. It can also end up changing the storyline, plot setting, or even the character itself.

For myself, I have a special technique that I use when preparing a memory for my stories.  I’m sure there’s better ways, easier ways, or “sound-and-true” steps…but I’ll give you my three-phased tips for effectively using memory-based writing:

Phase 1: Finding the Right Memory

  • Open a blank document or get a pen and blank sheet of paper
  • Note some objectives you are trying to accomplish with the particular scene (emotions, story development, character development, etc)
  • Jot down a couple personal memories that match those objectives (the emotions it caused you, the lessons you learned from it, the reaction of the people with you, etc)
  • Decide whether it’ll fit as direct or indirect

It is only at this point that I start recounting the memory and putting it down on paper.

Phase 2: Recounting the Memory

  • Write is all in a past tense, active voice
  • Keep the writing simple and direct…don’t try to be sophisticated
  • Pay attention to the details of the moment
  • Ask other people who were there and note what they experienced (you’d be amazed at the differences)
  • Describe the memory using all five senses (even with an outline method the first round)
  • Seek out visuals like videos, photos, articles, or letters
  • Detail and expand on the things that “outsiders” might not understand (Southern etiquette, nickname origins, regional slang, etc)

Phase 3: The Molding

  • Direct & Indirect: Modify the scene/emotions based on the character’s profile
  • Direct & Indirect: Change the tone to match your narrative voice
  • Direct: Align the setting to match the story and setting

Life, Art, and the Occasional Fit

October 1, 2009

I would like to say I spent the evening continuing on my outlined work…but life got in the way. It’s funny how that happens. Especially when you have kids. Tonight, the little boys decided instead of writing, I would be an art critic. I was to review the paint they smeared all over their bedroom walls and closet.

Needless to say…beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I’m a tough critic of art for the sake of anarchy.

So, I will hopefully have actual writing progress to report tomorrow. That is, if I can get my characters to stop throwing a hissy about being put on the back burner. Right now they’re not talking to me…which means the story is not progressing. That Nettie can be a real diva!

Chow all…and here’s to wishing you a positive blend of life, art, and the occasional fit.