Sep 19, 2015

Storm Day

     To brainstorm Flight and get rid of writer's block, I decided to do a sort of storyboard. I chose a day when I could be home and, most importantly, when my sister would be out all day. We share a room, so it was essential for her to be absent while I laid out my top-secret notes.

     The weather was cloudy and rainy -- perfect for a brainstorm. I started the morning by printing all relevant notes on Flight. Look at that stack! That's not even all of my notes; it's all plot-related stuff (no character development) and there were handwritten notes I had to sort through.

     The stack was mostly comprised of random ideas and short scenes I had jotted down. Half of my writer's block problem was that I couldn't remember all my ideas. 

     To create a brainstorm, mind and body need proper fuel. So I made this pretty omelet for lunch. Random fact: I don't like eggs, unless they are mixed with a lot of other good things like cheese or cake batter.

     While I was creating this beautiful meal, someone by the printer asked, "What's all this?" I had left my stack of notes out in the open! Sure enough, my mom was bent over the printer, reading the top note. 

     "Nothing, nothing! Don't look!" I snatched the papers up and hugged them to my chest.

     Mom's smile turned coy. "Oh, I see! Your printed story! I think I saw a chapter title."

     "I wish. The story isn't refined enough to have chapter titles yet." 

     That was close. Whatever she saw, it wasn't integral to Flight's basic storyline.  

     After lunch, I got down to business ("to defeat... the HUNS"). Flight notes got sorted into piles on my bed. As I went through each page, I had to scissor the papers into pieces. I cut ideas I wanted to keep and put them in a pile. Some of the ideas were whole scenes, some were just lines. Old and unwanted ideas went in the Book Box of Rejects (and were later moved to the envelope of rejects). 
Alongside the note sorting, I made a brainstorming list of ideas and possibilities. The list was unstructured on purpose, meant to be a splash page of everything I hoped to capture in Flight's plot. This was necessary because the plot and characters have drastically changed many, many times.
Sorting took most of the afternoon. By the end of it, I needed something completely different, so I dusted my house while listening to Kingdom Pen Radio. If you are a writer, you NEED to tune into Kingdom Pen. Such entertainment which speaks the native language of a writer's heart is rare indeed.
 I made a cup of Teavanna's Youthberry and Wild Orange Blossom tea before jumping back into Flight. Like my Muggle mug? Say "Muggle mug" aloud; it tickles the tongue!

     With my new brainstorming fuel in mug, I began the storyboarding(ish) process. The floor of my room is speckled, which made the papers difficult to see, so I laid a blue blanket down. 
On the blanket, I arranged the pile of Usable Ideas in the plot's chronological order. Not only did it look cool, but it let me see the whole story at a glance. I touched ideas, moved them around in the plotline, saw what worked and what didn't. To wax poetic, I caught the flow of the story.
     The ideas became sparse as the plotline progressed. I had an ending worked out, but the more I looked at it, the more I hated it. Afraid to throw out the whole ending, I put all the information in an envelope separate from the rejects. 

     As the sun began to set, I lit my favorite candle and turned on my sister's lantern lights. The relaxed atmosphere helped me translate the storyboard into an outline. I spent over an hour getting the details on paper. 

     So, was the brainstorming session successful? Yes. I now have a vision for where I am going in 
the story. I know what comes next... mostly. There are still several mysteries. Since I scrapped my ending, I really can't say just what's going to happen there. And something is missing in the beginning; I know what it is, but I don't know how to solve it yet. These unanswered questions are good because they will leave me room to create as I go. The important thing is, now that the cobwebs have been cleared away by the brainstorm, I can go again.
     Post Tenebras Lux!

Sep 16, 2015


    The deadline is a writer's nightmare. We should call it our "flatline," because it's basically the same thing.

     In my very first post about Flight, I mentioned that I would like to have the story done by the time I turn twenty-four. 

     *Insert dry laugh.*

     January, my birthday month, is fast approaching. So, no... Flight won't be done by then. I was crazy to even tell you it might be.

     Actually, I might be even crazier now than I was then. 

     I want to actually make my self-imposed flatline, at least as far as the draft is concerned. My estimated word count is 50,000 - 70,000. If I write 500 words a day, I should be done with the draft in January.

     This is what I told my friend Jennifer Kniskern at the beginning of this month. It is now half-way through the month, and I've been lucky to get 200 words any given day, much less 500 every single day! 

     500 words is not a high goal. I can fly through 500. The reason I am stuck at 200 on a good day is because, when I write in the evenings, I open my documents and do this:

     Trying to get my imagination to work is like trying to spread silly putty over sand with a spatula. It's just stuck! I don't know what to do in the story. I hate to admit it, but I have a bad case of writer's block. 

     It's time for emergency protocols. Cue the siren and the flashing lights!

     I will pull out all of my Flight notes to try and to come up with a vague idea of where I'm going. Hopefully that idea will turn out to be a little more than vague... maybe even turn out to be an outline. It might be like trying to light a spark without a match, but I don't know what else to do. I really want to make my deadline.

     Post Tenebras Lux!