Archive for dotfl

Cut and Paste time!

scissors-glue

No, I’m not indulging in my craftier side—though I am a crafter at heart, but that’s a whole other story.  No, dear readers, I am sitting here looking at a printed out copy of my YA fantasy manuscript, the one I seem to have hit a brick wall on, and I’m getting creative.

You see, I’m what a friend of mine once called a “chronologically sporadic” writer.  Some writers are very talented and know how to craft a story step by step, starting at the beginning and working their way in a straight and steady line to the end.  I have never been that kind of writer.  Generally, I write the prologue or first chapter, even up to the first several chapters, all in one go.  It’s not that I putter out after that (though that happens occasionally) but really rather that I get distracted by other scenes I know are going to happen down the line.

You know how they tell you that a story should have rising action, falling action, and major and minor climaxes throughout?  Picture that diagram that they show you in your mind, the one that looks a bit like a mountain range of ups and downs.  You know what I’m talking about.  The beginning of a story has to start with something happening, some incentive to get the story going and get the reader interested.  That’s the first slope leading up the first mountain, right?  If you were a chronologically-minded writer, you would probably follow going up that first incline by going down the next side, and so on and so forth.

Me?  It’s like every time I get to the top of that mountain, the fog rolls in down below, and then all I can see are the very tip tops of the summits (or climactic scenes) as they stretch before me.  The valleys, those imperative valleys, are covered up for the time being.  Now, with determination and work, I can clear that fog away and see how to get from one summit to the other, it just takes work, and a lot of paying attention to what my characters are trying to tell me.  But in the meantime, I can see those summits in perfect detail, so I write them down, get them taken care of.

What does this have to do with cutting and pasting?  Well, the problem with writing things in this “chronologically sporadic” way, is that sometimes, so far as actual documents go, the scenes get all mixed up and out of order.  I think that’s the major block I’ve had with this story lately, I just don’t know exactly which parts I’ve written, where.  I have whole bits of writing, from a few lines to a handful of pages, that I need to reorganize.  I know where they belong in the story, but in the document themself, they’ve gotten lost.  So I’m going to spend the next few hours—or days? (hopefully not!)—cutting this manuscript up and putting it in the order it’s supposed to be in, so that I can gather my wits and see what parts really do need to be filled in.  Wish me luck!

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Soundtrack to a life story.

soundtrack

If you’ve ever talked to me about writing, then you know that I’m a big advocate of the story soundtrack.  It’s one of the first things I do when I’m trying to get my head into a story, developing the characters and the world.  Some songs are so tied to stories and characters in my head that I can’t listen to them without being momentarily transported into a certain scene, or feeling that a character has.

You get a little dependent on these soundtracks, so, when you transfer to a new computer and suddenly your playlists don’t work anymore… well, things get a little messy.  And guess where I am.

So at the moment I’m trying to reconstruct the soundtrack to my main project at the moment, a sort of Young Adult fairytale fantasy.  A soundtrack that had nearly a hundred songs on it.

But on the positive side of things, this is giving me the chance to not only re-evaluate the music I’ve selected for this novel (a lot of Badly Drawn Boy, Nickel Creek, Feist, stuff that brings open countrysides and beautiful expanses to mind), meaning I get to throw out the duds that didn’t really fit the story, the ones I’ve left on out of laziness, but it also means I get to add some fresh new things into the mix, new stuff, like Vienna Teng, who I’ve recently fallen completely in love with.

This song, in particular, just crystallizes everything my main character is.

Vienna Teng, “The Tower” (or listen to it at last.fm)

I need not to need
I’ve always been the tower
But now I feel like I’m the flower trying to bloom in snow

*******

I love that last line above especially, because I think that’s just where my character is.  She’s very used to having to be strong and seperate, but when major events and uncovered secrets change everything for her, she not only has to learn how to depend on others, but she really steps into her own for the first time, definitely “trying to bloom,” because there’s that yearning there, too.  Just a perfect song.

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