Wednesday, October 8, 2014
useful visual tools in writing
When writing something original, as I am now into, it can be life consuming. The stories pull me into them and the energy of what is happening becomes as real to my daily life. I might be talking to my husband or a friend about other subjects (I still keep informed as to what's going on in the world), but my characters and what they do next are always in the back of my mind. I am caught up in the romance, the danger, and adventure. It also becomes my life in a strange sort of way. For me, this immersions is part of what makes writing so rewarding.
As I have mentioned before-- I know the basic plot for any book before I begin laying down words. Between the time I get an idea for a story, there is a lot of thinking and research. I get the basics in my head. That does not mean I won't learn things and find new surprises as the details unfold. For this book, the fourth Oregon historical, I've found a lot of what I planned to use isn't going the way I expected, but it is still happening-- just in a different order. That's another thing I love about writing-- how it seems the story is there waiting for me and it's all about me being able to see it.
When writing fiction, I write fast. On a writing day (not all days are as I do have a life to manage also), that can be from 3000-5000 words. I usually make myself stop at 5000 because I still want that meditating on what happened or comes next time. I do like to get the basics down, but then often, while still moving forward, I'll go backward and redo parts that weren't fitting with what just happened. Or something comes up that requires a change in something earlier.
The beauty, of having written four historicals with none published, is I can rearrange anything even in earlier books if the fourth needed it. In this case I have not yet had to. There is none of that persnickety business of worrying what someone else already read. I can fix it if I see a need.
Since I do not tell anyone else my plots, I have total freedom to make those changes. Only in the last year have I begun to discuss plot options with my husband. I have to say I am enjoying laying out options to him especially when they involve some kind of violence. Some writers believe you should tell nobody your ideas as they might undermine your confidence. Others like to have other opinions (letting others read the words) all the way through their writing. It's an individual choice as to what works the best.
Writing a rough draft is fun for me as I get to live through the adventure for the first time. It is as new to me as my characters right up until the minute I write The End. In the case of this book, I think that will mean going back right away to add flavor and details. That's not really editing, which comes later, but part of the original draft.
The map at the top is a tool I have found quite useful in outdoor adventures where my characters need to travel between Point A and B and I need to remember what that they'd see and experience. I like maps that show the contours of the land although since it's a current map, the roads may not be what would have been there in 1867.
The problem with using old maps, and I have quite a few of them, is they weren't always that accurate for the contours or even where rivers ran. Mapmakers didn't have the tools that they do today. I like looking at both to get a feel for how the hero and heroine got around, where there were communities and what might be in their way. It helps a lot that I am familiar with this country.
After I started writing, I redid my bulletin board. I am loving having that as a way to have up what I will be verbalizing in the story. It is a great tool for someone like me who is verbal and visual.
From research, I have a selection of old photos of the communities. Below them are what I plan to be the covers for the four books (although I know the titles, I will wait on adding them-- this is about the energy of the characters for each). Below that are the hero and heroine for the fourth story-- looking to the right are scenery images. I have spent a lot of time in the John Day area, but photos refresh my memory and bring it back to me. Above, unrelated to this book are the three covers from my Arizona historicals-- below that a couple of snaps from the Starz series, Outlander that represent passion between a man and woman-- something I always try to keep on my mind when writing a love story.
The card on the board was an opening card for one of my Tarot decks. It is from the Encyclopedia of Tarot by Stuart Kaplan. It fits how I see a lot of writing as well as Tarot. Since I think it'd be impossible to read in the photo, it says, 'What we see in the symbology of tarot derives in large measure from our own intuition and, once revealed, reflects back upon each of us to further enrich our lives.' When I am writing, I feel very connected to my muse and to intuition. I count on it to point me right-- and see writing as very good for my life
Don't ask about marketing... This week I read an excellent piece on what you have to do if you want your books to be seen. Argh! I just don't think I can emotionally do all that. But what I can do is write with joy and maybe, without all that marketing effort, my books will disappear from view but I still have them all to enjoy-- and one reason writers write is to have books they love to read. :)
You might notice there is a space on the board alongside the third Arizona historical. That is because most likely there will be a fourth. I kind of laid the groundwork for it in the epilogue for Arizona Dawn. That will be my work for next winter or even the spring. I need to think long and hard. I know who the heroine is (you would too if you had read that story) but what I don't know is her backstory or who the hero will be-- there are two good possibilities. I also don't know all that will stand between them, the barriers they will face or the dangers. I do though know its setting and it's one reason I think it'll be written. By the time I start writing that one, as yet untitled, it will probably be January or February. Then I will know my plot and characters a lot better. I am not doing much thinking on it while I am writing this one.
In the meantime, I need breaks from writing-- for my own mental health. To do that, I intend to read other romances. During my time of editing this summer and writing this story, I only have been reading non-fiction. My Kindle is loaded with what look like good stories. Hopefully in a month or less, I will give myself time to get inside those stories. Every book on there, that I have purchased, looked interesting. I can have a marathon reading session once I start :).