Sunday, December 14, 2008

Today's Writing in My Car

Time: 6:50 a.m.
Temperature: 40 degrees
Meal: Biscuit and coffee
Goal: To write crucial confrontation scene between the heroine and the villain; finish edits of 4 remaining chapters.

Person of the Day: A black man in a tan sweater and a tan baseball cap. He also wore blue floral Jams. Obviously confused about winter in Los Angeles.

When writing a tough scene, it's easier to step it out when you're commuting. Coz your mind really has nothing else to do but think. I use PostIt notes, and as thoughts come, I jot them down, making sure not to hit any people in cars or on the sidewalks. When I'm ready to write the scene, I use my notes, and write slowly, sentence by sentence. Lots of 'what's next?' With the notes, you won't have to face that empty white page - the paper dragon. You get it down - and that's the hardest part of writing.

How do you conquer tough scenes?


  1. I just blather on, cut and re blather. By the way this is Alissa

  2. [Here from And We Shall March. [wave]]

    I have a few things I do when I'm having trouble with a scene. One is sort of like yours. I'll back off for a bit and do something which doesn't take up all my processing cycles -- e-mail, web comics, a mindless game like solitaire -- and distract my conscious mind for a while. Often my subconscious will take the time to work on the problem, and a solution will pop up in a little while.

    Another is a bit more active. I walk for exercise (back and forth at home, so I can sit down whenever my arthritic knee demands) and pacing back and forth is good for thinking; it's probably all that blood flowing around or something. :) Home alone in the daytime, I can talk to myself while I walk, and work things out that way.

    For particularly sticky spots, I blather into a file. I open a new file and write about my problem, as though I were writing an e-mail to a writer friend to ask for advice. (Which is what I was actually doing the first time I did this.) I've found that when asking someone else for help, I have to explain absolutely everything, so they get what's going on and have a chance of coming up with a good idea. So I explain what the story's about, where I am now and how I got there, what I want to do on the whole, what I want to do next, why I can't seem to progress, all the things I've tried and why they won't work -- everything. Because my friend needs all the info to get the full picture. And usually I'll come up with a solution myself before I'm done. If not, I have a letter I can actually send to a friend and maybe get some advice that way. :)

    The trick, though, is that doing this forces me to actually bring every bit of story info I have up to the front of my brain. Usually I think I know all this stuff, and I do, sort of. But it's like the difference between having things filed away in your desk drawer -- right there within easy reach, but still out of sight -- and having them spread out on top of your desk. Loading all that info into the front of my brain lets me put together just the right bits and figure out how to move on, how to solve a problem. It's not perfect, but it saves my story more often than not.

    Your book looks interesting; I can sympathize with both sisters. I put it on my Amazon wish list. :)

    Welcome to Bloglandia! [wave]