Monday, October 15, 2012

Right Side of Brain, Meet Left Side

I get really weird when I write.

Shut up you people who know me who are looking at your computer screen with your eyebrows raised right now, muttering under your breath, "Not just when you write." You know who you are. Just shut up!

Anyway, like I was saying, I get really weird when I write. Really weird and artsy and a little pompous. I almost want to put a beret askew on my head, paint a little moustache above my lip, hang an unlit cigarette from my mouth, and rant about the ignorance in the world. Yeah, really weird.

I almost feel sacred about the whole artistic experience of writing. Ideas about outlining, word quotas, and blasted grammar--I spit on you! I am an artist! Artists don't outline! They just create!

I like to think of writing a book like going on a hike. I might start off on a trailhead, but once I get going, I'm just going to wander around in the woods for a while and go where it looks interesting which may or may not be on the trail where I began.

The novel that I'm working on now was a lot twistier than I expected it to be. I started out writing it in first person and then decided that the protagonist's sister was interesting so I switched to multiple thirds so I could add a POV for her, then I wrote a flash fiction piece about a doctor and I really liked him and could picture him in the story so I added a POV for him, and then the sisters' dead mother started showing up in journal entries, and then the original protagonist's sister got really, really interesting and stole the show from the protagonist and I had to make her the main character. What I'm trying to say is, I got a little confused along the way.

What's a confused, artistic writer who's wandering around in the woods supposed to do?

Well . . . it's true . . . I created a storyboard. I'm sorry right side of the brain, we'll finger paint later to make up for it.

It actually was quite helpful and a little cathartic and still a bit artsy. I bought a package of multi-colored post-it notes and a poster board and I designated a post-it note color for each of my POV characters based on their personalities. Yellow for the main character, pink for her sister, blue for the good doctor, and orange for the dead mother. Each scene got a post-it note with a quick sentence summing up the scene and each chapter break was separated with a purple post-it note. It was remarkable, it allowed me to see my whole book all at once and ensure that I was balancing the POVs properly with my main character getting the most sticky notes and the journal entries doted around like little exclamation marks.

It also, unfortunately, helped me to . . . gulp . . . outline future scenes. If I knew I wanted to write a scene of my main character at a wedding dancing the electric slide at a future point in the book, I would write myself a note in that character's color and stick it on the poster board.

And it's so pretty to look at! If you had a room all to yourself to write in or a husband that loved it that you were a writer and wanted to constantly be reminded of that by looking at your storyboard every day, then it would be great to hang on your wall. I don't have either one of those, so mine stays folded up and a little wonky beside my bed.

Still . . . good clean fun for the left side of your brain.

1 comment:

  1. Love this! Beret, moustache, cigarette, perfect!! Love your sense of humor!! Frannie