My to-do list is a behemoth, and currently missing. That’s not a big problem, because almost everything on it is utterly trivial. I’m unemployed, trying to juggle writing with starting a business and also doing job applications and planning a trip to South East Asia, and as a result I’m failing at every single one of them.
I ordered a load of photos the other week, some of them mine from my trips and some grabbed off the internet. These are all grabbed, and I wanted them to put together a character inspiration page. Continue reading
It’s Summer, so life has turned up to 11. There’s been morris dancing, I’ve joined a gym, I’ve been doing lots of things to do with Creativity In The Box, I’ve had a job interview…
And not done a lot of writing, I have to confess. I’ve been filling page after page in my journals, but in terms of actual fiction there’s not been that much. I have teased out a plot line in Eyes Down, which is what the Bingo story has become. Temporarily, I insist, because that’s a bit… obvious. Continue reading
I’ve had a fun evening putting together a couple of scrapbook pages, and it got me thinking. If I were to do one for my novels, which I will now I’ve thought of it, what would be on them?
The current novel would have stuff about WW2-era starlets, bingo, Art Deco, cocktails and London apartments. The other one would have beer and cider, ghosts and students, pubs and the history of York. My longest running story, and fanfiction that Will Not End, would need several pages of London and Cardiff and Weddings and the Doctor and long distance conversations.
What would be in your story’s scrapbook, or your character’s journal? Should we do an exchange of scrapbook pages?
Since the disastrous meeting of apple squash and my story notes, I’ve been sort of drifting aimlessly through the plot, and that worked out really well… Wait, I mean the other thing. I’ve got four scenes, not in any sort of order, possibly not all relevant to the story.
This time, it was A3 paper and many colours. It did take a while to figure out what I needed to exorcise the details, and I cycled through post-it notes, note cards, notebooks and Evernote before the penny dropped and I decided that what I really needed was to cover the whole of the kitchen table.
Nothing beats a mind map for planning. I started out with my characters in the top right corner, then (because I’m a masochist) I did a SWOT analysis for the business, then fished out my key plot events, the romance subplot and then finished off with my locations.
After a week of failing to work this out, I managed the lot in a couple of hours. Next I need to transfer it into an organised layout (coming right up… tomorrow), and then stick it to my wall and get on with writing.
The age old debate of planning v pantsing has resurfaced, like the proverbial chicken and egg. Unlike the chicken, though, the planning v pantsing argument will never be settled, except by caveat. (It was the egg, if you were curious.)
I had a stack of notes, a page for the overall story arc, a page for each section, and a few pages of characters. Loose sheets for sticking to walls when I needed them.
Had is the operative word here.
I also had a pint of squash, but when the pair came together across the kitchen table I lost both. When I write on my computer, I save to my external hard drive and to Google Drive in the same action. I should back up more, but the only computer problems I’ve actually had have been losing small backups (I have memory sticks everywhere, but never the one I need) and just not having computer access. It’s a lot harder to put down a computer and forget where you left it, or spill a pint of liquid over it.
Rule 1: Backup. And then backup again.
Rule 2: Backup some more.
I should know this. The last ten years have been the sort of years where losing my work would be a Very Bad Thing. GCSEs, A levels, degree, ten years of NaNoWriMo, living overseas for six months, really not a good time to lose things irretrievably. So all my work stuff is in one attaché case, the journal I keep my notes in, my business plan, even my passport.
Yeah. I’ll just, um… Go and fix that. And get out a really big piece of paper to redo all my plot notes.
I am, first and foremost, a fanfiction writer. Even when I’m writing original fiction, it’s usually fanfiction of a larger work I’ve not got round to writing yet. The thrill of fanfic, for me, is finding the spaces within the story and filling them. It’s a bit like going on holiday, and wandering the back streets and drinking in bars where they don’t speak English rather than sticking to the tourist trail. The main plot is important, but behind the scenes I can find my own story.
Perhaps because of this, I am a bit anal about my details. Not completely, not to the level of my brother, who once made detailed notes about the real-world weather for each event in his novel and never got around to writing it. But I check routes on Google Maps, research fashion and technology to avoid anachronisms, and build my houses on Sims so I know exactly what I’m looking at. BBC, please take note. (This post will contain spoilers for Doctor Who and Torchwood, and as much of Happy Valley as I gleaned from the promotional material)
Having not wanted to write by hand at all for years, I’ve suddenly switched back to it. This is partly because I’ve been cut off from a keyboard for so long, and partly because I’ve been diving into stationery in a big way for my fledgling business. Continue reading
They seem like the antithesis of useful tools for writing. A whole day spent doing nothing but looking after yourself? Or even half a day, it’s stupid, surely? Continue reading