Monday, March 16, 2020

Taking a Break from the Coronavirus

COVID-19 has been on my mind a lot this past week especially.

Not only am I one of those borderline high risk people (almost sixty, I have asthma, and my insurance just refused to pay for my medicine - but no worries, I paid full price and will continue to take it), I work for a daily publication where updating the community about the pandemic feel near-constant.

Top that with some family emergencies, and it's been an interesting two weeks.

So Saturday, I stopped most of life and "hunkered down" with one of the two novels I've been first drafting and found I'd made some real genuine process.

Last weekend, I'd experienced a slight return of the muse, but not until I re-read last week's work (apparently manuscript distancing slows the spread of the infection "author self-doubt") did I fully realize the progress I'd made.

Part of that is due to a new method of approaching this particular novel (The Phoenix, the first in the Limbo trilogy, yes, part of the BryonySeries).

For my first novel (Bryony), I wrote scenes as they came to me and used them to help structure the novel. It was fun seeing them come together, too. I call this the "Golden Spike" approach.

For the rest of my novels, I used outlines for the book and each chapter. In most cases, I had the first and last sentences of the books and chapters written before I "painted by number with words," working in order of each chapter in a linear progression.

Neither approach was working with The Phoenix.

Over Christmas break, I did outline the novel and each chapter. 

I do have the first and last sentences written.

But I remained disconnected with the characters and overall story line. I started, and then abandoned, character questionnaires because they weren't helping.

So last weekend, I reread through everything and added a little to each chapter. That helped.

I didn't know how much it helped until I re-read everything this past weekend.

So this weekend, I did the same. I added to each chapter in both linear and non-linear ways.

I call this "macro to micro writing."

And I will continue in this fashion until this half of the novel is done.

Not sure if that will work with the other half (the novel is two parallel story lines).

But I will cross that time zone when I reach it.

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