Trying Again

Way back when I first started this project, I toyed with the idea of writing some scenes out of narrative order, just as they came to me, so I could preserve them when they were fresh in my mind. Most of the time when I’m thinking about future scenes I see them as pictures in my mind, a little snippet from a movie. It’s only when I’m actually writing them, or working up to writing them, that I start to think about them in words and sentences. I tried writing one scene ahead of time in chapter two, but found it really awkward when it was time to actually fit it into the narrative. It wasn’t the same seamless transition I’m used to having when I write from beginning to end, so I kind of gave up on that idea. Until today.

For whatever reason, one of the key scenes from Book Three started coming to me in words instead of pictures this afternoon. Why, I’m not sure, but you can bet that since I won’t be getting around to even starting Three for at least a couple years, maybe longer, there was no way I was letting it slip by or trying to hold onto it in my mind until then. So now I have a new doc called Random Scenes, with a fresh 1,000 words in it. I guess time will tell if this new attempt will pay off, since I won’t get to that point for a long while, but it was a positive experience today, getting it all down and out of my head while I had it locked down. If it happens again, I’ll probably do the same thing. I even included what might amount to a brief outline beforehand, explaining what happens immediately before and after the scene I wrote, so I know where in the narrative it fits.

Honestly I think I’m moving closer and closer to making an actual outline, to get rid of some of the confusion I have over what happens when. There are all these mini-movie scenes floating around in my head, but I keep moving them around and I’m not sure where they all fit in relation to each other, sometimes. Maybe once I’m finished One, while I give myself a bit of a break before I start editing my first draft, I’ll take some time to nail down a really solid outline. In the meantime I have an Ideas doc for when bits of dialogue and stray thoughts need to be recorded, and this more formal future scenes doc for when I want to actually write them out in full detail.

Incidentally the one I wrote today is a real turning point for the entire story as a whole. Something major changes in Callie, something that sets her off in a completely new direction from that point forward. It needs some work – it’s a dark point and I want to make it even darker than it already is – but the bones are there, the basic structure, which I can hopefully build on, and with my before-and-after notes, I should be able to fit it into the rest of the story nicely once I get to that point. My previous issue with the scene in chapter two, I think, was that I wrote the orphan scene first, then wrote the before and after, then tried to cram the orphan in between them. I think next time if I stop after the before (this is going to get convoluted here), paste the orphan in, then write the after, the transitions will be a lot smoother. At least that’s what I hope. I’ll report back in 2015 or something with an update.

And I’m still writing up a storm on my vacation. I’m on track to have 15-16,000 words written by the time I go home in two days. I hadn’t really set a firm goal beforehand, but I’d thrown the number 10,000 around in my head as something I’d be thrilled to accomplish. Who knew I’d be so motivated, so inspired and so full of fresh ideas? Every other time I’ve tried to write on a non-writing-retreat holiday has always come up as an abject failure. I wonder now if this is my new routine, my new normal that I can maintain once I’m back into the swing of things at home, or a short-lived burst of productivity? Time will tell, I guess. All I know is I have a seven-hour drive ahead of me, and driving always stirs up all kinds of interesting things inside my head.

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~ by Nicole Bross on August 11, 2012.

I wrote, now you write.

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