Monday, January 12, 2015

Back on the horse

Today, like most days, I’m finding it hard to get going with my writing.

I got up at 5:30 this morning, dragged Branden out of bed, and hit the gym. We got home and cleaned up by 8 or so, then hit Starbucks before he had to go to work. I considered bringing my laptop with me to sit and work on writing after he left, but I thought the better of it since I still need to finish my corkboard. I figured, with such an early and productive start, surely writing will just fall into place! …Right?

I wish motivation worked that way. I went home for breakfast and checked my feeds while I nommed down some cereal. Feeds, of course, take much longer than cereal (damn you, Tumblr!) and I fell down the Facebook hole for a while too, so now… at 12:25… I’m writing my blog post.

And I still haven’t worked on my story.

When I got back to Denver on Saturday, Branden picked me up from the airport and we went straight to a writing date with our friend and writing-group companion, Bridget. I was nervous about doing this because I was still feeling very overwhelmed with the idea of starting actually writing. I keep thinking up apt similes to describe my feelings regarding my story right now. Here’s my current favorite:

Right now, my story is like a bunch of limes I’m trying to hold. If I try to organize them or move them around, I’m likely to drop them all. Branden (pictured to the right expertly holding all the limes) explained to me that if I don’t put all the limes down, preferably onto a piece of paper, some of them were likely to sneak away. (Sneaky, sneaky limes!) This is true, and I know it, but superstition tends to win. Fear tends to win.

So on Saturday, pinned in the Denver Cat Co with nothing to do but write, I tried putting some limes down.

I ended up putting down 3,250 limes.

And none of them broke or snuck away.

I have many more limes that need to be placed, and some of them are a lot bigger than any of the limes I put down on Saturday; in fact, bigger than all of those limes put together.

Starting the process, and seeing that the whole thing didn’t go up in smoke, helped me unclog my creative pipes to the point where I’m looking forward to making my note cards again. I had sorta lost track of their purpose and I felt really lost when I’d look at them, like, “what were those for again?” I was considering writing irrelevant things down, then I’d check myself and say, “…what? Why is that a thing that needs to go on my board? Where would it even go?” and then I’d stare at the note cards some more, feeling somewhat hopeless. But now I feel like I’ve got it figured out: what they were for, and how they can help. And I’ve got some (many, lots) cards to fill out before I write much more than I already have.

I’ve said it before, but I’m saying it again anyway: this revision of the story is going to be a lot more like a new first draft than a second draft. Five of the characters are still here, with the same names and approximately the same roles, but not a single word from my first go-around will survive, and some of these characters who survived are going to be drastically different. I’d like them to be complex, fully actualized characters, and to do that it’s important that I have who they are written down. It’ll help to have why they are who they are written down, too. And why they have the relationship to the MC that they do.

But, some of that isn’t cork-board material. It won’t be a thing I’ll want to (or be able to) look over at and, in a glance, get an answer to a question. That is what I envision my corkboard being for. If it gets too cluttered, it defeats its own purpose.

I think I’d also like to write a summary, a “what God knows” sort of chronological list of events just so I can keep it all straight. It seems like it’d be hard, but considering that I’m following one main character, the chronology can’t criss-cross too much. That’s the thing that always seems daunting about a summary: “if I mention this thing, then I have to ‘go back in time’ and mention this thing, which happened because of this thing…” and if you have multiple main characters, multiple things can be happening concurrently. Of course, in that instance, chronology is probably even more important, to make sure something that causes something else doesn’t happen after that thing… anyway, I’m getting long-winded.

My trip to Durango went very well. Spending time with my dad was so great. It seems like it’s been years since we had quality just-me-and-him time, and it reminded me why my dad is the best dad ever. It was quick and low-key, just how I like trips home. It’s a little bit weird to know that the vast, vast majority of my friends no longer live in Durango. In fact, I can only think of one who’s still there.

I remembered why being so social was easy when I lived there: anywhere you wanted to be, including each others’ houses, was ten minutes or less from wherever you are, with no interstate between you and them. When I go there, it’s a lot like being a high schooler again—no responsibilities and nothing to do but hang out with friends… so it’s no fun without friends. Wah.

Oh well. Such is life.

Any revision techniques that you favor? Let me know in comments!

1 comment:

Alii Silverwing said...

Ooh, I love your use of notecards! That's one thing that I've never gotten to work for me. *Grins*

Revisions, though, hrm. I think my favorite technique comes a little bit later in the revision process, but it's the 'word search' section. You put in words associated with ideas you don't want in your worldbuilding, and hunt them down.

(Last project I did I got rid of every 'hell' and 'bless', so that was fun.)