20130127 — A New Beginning

I’ve decided to go back to a daily status report type of blog.  I was kinda doing that for a year with Devon’s class and then a little bit with Holly’s Write A Book With Me.  Devon also wanted us to keep a journal of how were were feeling and what we were thinking.  That way, when we’re working on the next book and get to that same basic point in the process, we can go back and see how we were dealing with it in previous books.


I didn’t do it.  😦




I’ve been in Todd Stone’s What To Do After Nano workshop on Savvy.  He’s basically going back through some techniques from his Novelist’s Boot Camp book.  One of the things that really hit home was about getting into the Zone.  Prior to the move, I got knocked out of my comfy place when a stager came in and re-arranged our house and evicted me from my workspace.  I hadn’t really recovered from that until Todd told us to go back to the days when we were in the zone, figure out what we were doing, and then get back into that ritual.

And that’s exactly it.  Ritual.  I’ve been allowing myself to do other things in my writing time and I haven’t been following the ritual of having something in the background while I write.  So for the past couple of weeks, I’ve been productive again and I’ve been getting back into the process.

My WIP is The Queen of Balthazar.  I’m concentrating on that now.  I went back and wrote The Sentence for the main plot of the story.  I used some of Jodi Henley’s techniques, which expand on the GMC concept.  Then I wrote a sentence for the 4 “sections” of the book: up to the first plot point, to the mid point, to the second plot point, and then the end.  THEN, I expanded on that and wrote a 2 page (500 word) summary, and then expanded on that with a 5 page summary.

At each of those stages, I worked out logical issues, plot issues, and character issues.  My main tool for that was mind-mapping using the X-Mind freeware.  I’ve got pages and pages of mind-maps.

The NEXT step is expanding on the 5 page outline and turning it into a SCENE list in Scrivener where each scene gets a File and a Paragraph (in the Summary area) to explain what happens in that scene.

Prior to this, whenever I went to create my scene list, I just wrote a 1 sentence blurb to tell me what happens in that scene.  And frequently, I’d come back and hit a scene where I had absolutely no idea what I intended to do there so I figured, what the heck.  Let’s not leave a lot to doubt.

BUT… I’m going to digress a bit.

My background is in mathematics and computer science.  That’s what my degree is in and what I do for a living.  When I’m designing a computer project, I map out everything that needs to happen.  If I know that something can be solved, I don’t bother with the details of the solution.  But if I’m NOT sure how something can be solved, then I take the time during the design process to go a little deeper, create some code snippets to prove the concept so I know how that section of the code will work.

Previously, I’ve kinda done the same thing with my outlines.  I know that there has to be a way to have someone break a prisoner out of jail, so I’d just write “Princess Alicia breaks the crew out of jail.”  And then I’d move on to finish the outline trusting that when I was drafting that I’d come up with something at that point.

This time, I’m taking a LOT more time to figure out some of these details.  And I’m trying to attack it the way Orson Scott Card said to in one of his books on writing.  I write down what it is I’m trying to do and then I start asking myself questions about it.  I create a mind-map trying to come up with a bunch of options and alternatives and then instead of just going with the first thing that came to mind, I try to find a better, more creative solution.

So.  What was the point of all that?

My goal yesterday was to figure out how Alicia and Cheryl find out that the Captain and the Crew are in jail and then how they free them.  I explored one way — with Alicia communing with the Gods — and spent a lot of time thinking about that because it sheds some light on how the book is going to end but ultimately, I had to ditch it.  I realized that if all people with Noble blood could go into a temple and ask the God’s for information and help and RECEIVE it, that it would cause too many repercussions throughout the story and the world.  It was just too much of an Easy button.  (It would have been cool, though.)

My goal is to get this section finalized tonight and then move on to filling out the rest of this section to the midpoint.

Aaaand… can’t post without a little artwork!  I created this last week.  It’s the Sergeant Major and his Swamp Rats before the Ambush at Tucker’s Farm.


I was pretty pleased with the texturing of the guns, and the trees.  But I’ve got to learn to make my own clothes and get them to drape with physics instead of using the “standard” conforming options.”


One Response to “20130127 — A New Beginning”

  1. Lots of interesting stuff about your process here! I enjoyed reading about it and look forward to more posts (and gorgeous pictures!) from you. 🙂

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