Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Minor Writing Epiphany

I browse several other unpubbed writers’ blogs, and I see the same sentiment echoed over and over. Something on the order of: “I can’t find the time to write,” or “I set a goal of 40 pages this week and only wrote two,” or “I’m just not sure this book is working.”

My answer (borrowing shamelessly from Nike): Just Do It.

Or, maybe: Find A Way To Do It.

In my case, I’d been feeling stalled lately which pissed me off because, hey—hadn’t I written a nice synopsis? Shouldn’t it act as the roadmap that would keep me from hitting blank walls?

Then I stumbled across The Snowflake Plotting Method. I discovered that sure, I had a roadmap, but it’s sorta like TV’s Amazing Race. Each team has the same instructions but, depending on the interpersonal dynamics and external forces, not everyone’s gonna get to the pit stop in the same way or at the same time.

At the end of the day (boy, talk about an overused phrase) the story comes from the characters.

My roadmap hadn’t fleshed out some of the important characters, namely the hero’s three daughters. And that’s why I was having trouble coming up with the scenes to match my synopsis. This became clear when (as instructed by the article) I attempted to create a scene-by-scene spreadsheet. Talk about some huge gaps!

Then, I did my daily cruise (pun intended) by Jenny Crusie’s website and ended up reading her notes from the workshop she did in Maui on brainstorming characters.

Ding, ding, ding.

Images flew into my brain of who my hero’s daughters are—what they look like..who they admire…the stuff they have on the walls in their bedrooms…how they relate to each other…how they relate to their dad and absent mom.

From this vision, scene ideas began to flow nonstop. Ways to deepen the conflicts and theme popped up.

So, back to the writing epiphany, and I’ll summarize it with one of my favorite sayings: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you already have.

Lesson: Try something new.

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