Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Help for a Dry Muse: A To-Do Treasure Box

So last weekenmd I was finishing reading the BryonySeries for the first time, and the weekend before that I was in Raleigh, not writing fiction.

This weekend, I was the weekend editor for The Herald-News and the Morris Herald-News and battling a nasty virus. Losing myself in the nineteenth century was unlikely, and yet, not making any progress on Before the Blood for yet another week, especially with a full weekend ahead, wasn't an option, either.

So what's an amateur novelist to do?

For starters, I teach fiction as a donation for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties on the third Friday of the month, so since I was MIA this past time 'round, we rescheduled this past Friday night. Despite feeling unwell, it was marvelously rejuvenating to hear everyone's progress on world-building and to share some of my work, too.

Must jump-sarted. Cool, so far.

But after a night of fretful sleep and needing to reserve brain cells for the job, I had little concentration left for the manuscript. So that's when I dug into my handy-dandy treasure box of min chores and got to work.

Say what?

Every story (even my feature ones) present these extra "items" that need addressing, things that slow the muse's flow when the story is streaming from your fingertips, but perfect when the muse is sluggish and slow to respond.

So, huddled at my computer in jeans and sweatshirt and interspersed with shivers and coughs, I let the muse rest and worked around it. I went to my viritual treasure chest, raised the lid, looked at the collection of story chores, and selected "characters."

Still with me? Okay, here goes.

Part of the fun of raising a village from scratch is peopling it. I was still short on people, but creating multi-dimensional people take time, and it's nearly impossible to create multi-layered people while writing multi-layered scenes.

So on this Saturday, I let the scenes go and worked on making people (the pretend kind). They needed names, personalities, ages (for the children); without these guys, I couldn't go forward with many of my scenes.

I'd been avoiding this chore for awhile because it wasn't actual "writing," but since actual writing seemed too hard, I was able to go skirt around the challenge and get something accomplished. I'm not quite done with these characters, but the beginning is nicely accomplished, and I felt like I had accomplished something, too.

Then, on Sunday, after I edited a story for work, and finished season two of BoJack Horseman with Daniel and took a walk with Rebekah, I went back to the treasure box and selected "housework." I have a Victorian housekeeping scene that needed some particular details. However, the resource that I thought would provide it actually didn't, so I reluctantly returned that treasure to the box and  turned my attention to Tuesday's health calendar.

Since this coming up weekend is a busy one, my plan is to finish outling the current chapter (which is shaping up to be my longest yet, about 25,000 words, I'm suspecting), so that the FOLLOWING weekend, I can get them written, am author's version of paint-by-numbers (write-by-numbers?) for a work-in-progress.

No comments: