Plotting Day. So I’m wearing black & looking surly.

22 07 2009

Weather: High: 79 degrees with intermittent showers. Good writing weather.

Quick mention that Torchwood was FTW again last night. Unexpected naked Jack is Unexpected. 🙂 (Loved the cast commentary on that scene after the show. HYSTERICAL!) I’m probably going to wait on a proper review until it’s all done. (And considering the rending of cloth and gnashing of teeth in fandom right now, I think the last episode may be a barn burner.)

Was perusing a site that had a ton of writer’s Quotations and this one stuck out:

Being an author is having angels whisper in your ear – and devils, too.  ~Graycie Harmon

Very true. We all talk about our muses in various ways. To some of us they’re a general concept- inspiration, a cache of ideas or something ethereal that motivates us. To others, they have a face and a voice: maybe one of our characters, maybe someone we admire, maybe even someone we are involved with in our personal lives.  For me, when I talk about muses,  it tends to be the latter.

When I write, usually one of the characters comes to the forefront, visually and vocally, in my head. I tend to write from a very visual place anyway, so casting the characters tends to help me SEE them in action as I’m writing. It’s not that fluffy thing of “My muse dictates and I write it down,” which makes for a cute T-shirt eptithet, but bad writing headspace. Muses are just stand ins for characters in my head. They do talk back and give me something to push back against when I’m putting together a scene or dialogue.
It’s more like I have a three dimensional artist’s mannequin that I can mold and shape and move at my brain’s whim. I know they are my creations, even if visually they may look like an actor or musician or model. That is just the outer shell. Everything they say or do or think comes from me. I just have them play the scene out in my head, then describe what I’m watching. The interesting thing that happens is sometimes, the action portrayed goes in a different direction than I originally intended, or, more perplexing, points out how the scene actually ISN’T working.  Things  like the protagonist can’t exactly stab someone if he’s carrying someone in his arms. Or if you have him backed up against a literal wall, odds on are he won’t be able to “turn and run” . Usually I’ll joke that the Muse took the wheel in that scene.

Another thing I do to help craft a character once I get his/her visual in my head is to create a music writing mix for the character. I used to actually burn CDs for this, but nowadays,  I just create lengthy playlists in i-Tunes or for my i-Pod. Music helps me get in the right headspace to write a character. I also have scene specific playlists. I look at it as creating soundtracks for the movies in my head.  For myself, music is instrumental in the process, but YMMV.

A lot of the time I feel like a fraud writing about writing because I have yet to get anything completed or published. All I can do in this blog is convey what works for me and what I’ve found doesn’t work over the years. Honestly, the best advice for me was found in the FAQ at Neil Gaiman’s site. The section “Advice to Authors” has always been helpful. It’s to the point and a lot of common sense. A lot of other authors, editors and publishers have fantastic advice as well. I highly recommend the #writegoal tag over on Twitter. Or check out some of the writing blogs I have listed to the right. Google Fu is your friend. 🙂

Been a while since I did an Irons in the Fire list.

When the Lights Go Down – 88K words completed, finishing last chapters. Editing pending.  Query to be written.

Carrion Dreams, Book 1 – 33K words. Outlining rest of Book 1. Have Rudimentary outlines for Books 2 & 3.

Dark of the Mirror- 75K words. Gutting the last 1/3 of the MS. Needs to be rewritten.  And intensive research needed for historical references.

All Things Fanged & Furry (Book 1) –25K words  In overhaul. Needs a lot of fleshing out.

All Demons Dread & Dire (Book 2) — In Outline. What has been written will be scrapped. Plot needs re-working to seamlessly lead out of Book one.

Librarian Anthology– “Into the Stacks” — Need to finish last two chapters.
Second short story is in the works for this as well.

Untitled Sidhe/Norse Myth Urban Fantasy — Still in outline. Needs refocus on storyline. Maybe will be re-tooled as YA.

Also am toying with a couple non-fiction ideas, but not including them in the list until I can focus on them.

So wrapping up this meandering post with tonight’s plans: Torchwood Day 3, Leverage and perhaps another stab at the manuscript. Although I think with my complete lack of focus, this may be a vain endeavor. This weekend is already shaping up to be writing bootcamp, but I’d rather write and edit when my brain isn’t so hazy and stressed.

Off to the train.






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