Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Snapshots From My Brain

I'm doing something I rarely do on this blog: I'm sitting down to post with zero idea of what I want to write about today. I usually have some framework in mind, or at least a theme, but this morning... not so much.

Excited yet???

Me too!!!

So, I think what I'll do is brainstorm right here. You know, just freewrite, like flipping through my brain's current photo album, and see what comes out. It'll be a little experiment. And I'll do it in list form, because lists make me feel happy and safe. So, without further ado...

  • NaNoWriMo. I'm not so much doing it as I am finding new and creative ways to work around doing it. You see, I thought at first that I might leap headlong into the fray of NaNo, throwing caution to the wind, and - gasp - write without a plot or an outline or anything but a vague sort of idea-thingy-dingy. You'll be shocked to learn that this lasted about ten minutes, before I looked in dumb dismay at my computer screen, and said (maybe out loud. I'm not telling), "I have no idea what the f*&$ I'm trying to write about." Yes, I confirmed once and for all that I am not a pantser, because no matter how hard I try, my brain just doesn't work that way. I can't write without at least a brief sketch of a road map, it turns out, and I can't make that map without knowing my characters.
  • Not worry! I haven't stopped trying; I've just changed tactics. I may not be able to write a 50,000 word novel in a month, but I might be able to write 50,000 words of character analysis, free-writing, and outlines in a month. That's what I'm doing now. Perhaps some people might call that "cheating"; I call it "changing the goals so I don't get ridiculously frustrated and unnecessarily upset with myself and actually manage to get something done."
  • Guess what? It's working! I don't have anything close to 50,000 words, and I might not hit that target (thank you, life, people, day job, and so on), but I am churning out my brainstorming quite a bit faster than usual. And since I LOVE brainstorming so, so, so much, anything I can do to speed the damn process up is a big fat WIN in my book.
  • For those following this new book of mine, Sam's name is now Taylor. I took a brief and entirely unscientific poll, and people seem to have much fewer immediate gender associations about "Taylor". So that's what I'm going with. 
  • Taylor is, yes, still very keen on getting me to tell their damn story (I'm going with 'they' instead of 'he' or 'she' on the excellent advice of Mr. M.L. Swift. Thanks, Mike!) Thanks in large part to all of your great advice, I'm now enjoying it rather than wondering if I've truly lost my marbles. 
  • I'm also working on a few new sections/lifetimes, involving an old man in ancient Tibet, and a nomad in pre-Columbus South America. The amount of research I'm going to have to do for this thing is starting to get a bit alarming. 
  • No, I haven't forgotten about Cloudland. Editing is truly done. I've queried a few agents and am now waiting, quite calmly and patiently, to hear back on this first round of queries. I do not, of course, refresh my inbox 75,000 times per minute, nor do I do anything foolish like jump out of my skin every time I have a new email notification. Of course not. Ha, ha, ha.... UGH. As a side note, how the hell do people stay sane doing this????? 
  • I also entered Cloudland into some contests. Some results are encouraging, but far from finished. I'll keep quiet about that for now, but will hopefully have news.... later. Things are brewing.

Hey... that wasn't so bad! I guess I can write without an outline, as long as what I'm writing - is an outline! 

36 comments:

  1. Yay for brainstorming!! So glad your change in tactics is working for you - sounds like it's been a very successful month. :)

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    1. Thanks, Julie!! You know what, I wasn't thinking about it that way, but I thunk it has. Thank you for helping me see that!

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  2. Liz—Great to see your photo album. Your NaNo efforts sound like mine...I decided to go the "stop for a moment and plan a little better" route, too...not throwing in the towel, but realized these characters and their interactions with one another are going to go real deep, and I need to create a little history and character analysis before continuing. Mind map each character's journey, as they all will be learning life lessons.

    Yes...even more research with this one, too. But I actually like research and find myself doing a lot more than necessary.

    Good luck! And great use of "their." :)

    M.L. Swift, Writer

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    1. Yup. I was thinking about you and your NaNo work when I wrote some of this :) We'd come to the same conclusions around the same time, I think. And from what you've shared so far, I'd say it's working really well :)

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  3. I love your solution for NaNo. I am somewhere in between a plotter and a panster, so it's been another interesting month. I'm waaaaaaay behind where I should be, but I like what I've written, so I'll take it.

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    1. Good for you for doing it anyway! If you like what you've written, that's the best possible result. That means it's working :)

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  4. Look at you all foot loose and fancy free-stylin' it! Though still an outline, an extemporaneous one! Way to grow. :)

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    1. LOL, I know. I'm really stretching myself here ;)

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  5. The waiting process after submitting queries is awful. I'd say it's the worst part, but it's not. Rejections are the pits. Patience can be soooo hard. Good Luck Liz and much patience to you!

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    1. I know, right??? Even when you DO get a response, it can still be terrible. Ugh. Patience and luck are needed - thank you!!

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  6. I'm no more patient while waiting to hear back from someone than before I signed my first contract. Sounds like you're putting a lot or words down. Keep it going.

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    1. Oh boy. It doesn't get easier, huh? Guess I'd better get better at it, then ;)

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  7. If the brainstorming is working, keep at it! Sometimes that can be just as vital as cranking out words for a story.

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    1. Yup. I'm with you. And it's working, too, which is even better :)

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  8. Staying sane while querying is not so easy to do. But hang in there. One of my CP's just snagged a good agent after eighty rejections. Gotta be in it for the long haul. :))

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    1. Thanks, Luanne. I appreciate the encouragement. What a crazy process...

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  9. Chris Baty, who started NaNoWriMo said what you're doing is fine. It better be, it's what I'm doing. Formulate the story, work through the plot lines, think about the characters...and ultimately the story writes itself (meaining it strolls out through your fingers and on to the page...)

    Nice post! I am agog to hear the good things about competitions and Cloudland!
    http://www.naalley.com/2013/11/discussion-topic-should-authors-give.html.

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    1. Haha, you're right - it better be! I'm glad to know that it's got the official sanction, too. And thanks for your great words of support!!

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  10. Keeping my fingers crossed for good news! And best of luck in the query lane- I'll be joining you soon...*bites fingernails*

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    1. Oh wow, good luck to you too!! It's exciting and yes, totally crazy-making :) But worth it I hope!

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  11. Querying is no fun :( Nice post!

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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    1. Nope, it sure isn't. Thanks for coming by!

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  12. Good for you! Go, go, go!!! :D
    I like Taylor much better. ;)

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  13. 50,000 words of brainstorming is awesome!

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    1. Thanks!! That's the goal - I'm working on it!

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  14. Sounds like your making quality progress. Keep it up!

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    1. I will - Thanksgiving notwithstanding ;) Darn these holidays... ;)

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  15. I think if you're not wondering if you've lost your marbles, you might not be doing it right. ^_^ Then again, I was telling a co-worker today about a character who keeps a chainsaw up her sleeve, so my marbles might have been lost long ago.

    And 50K words of brainstorming before even writing the book? Sounds great to me! Nothing like plotting documents that turn out to be as long as the story.

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    1. Haha, you're probably right.

      Hmm... your character has a mighty big sleeve!

      Oh yeah, my brainstorming, character development, and outlining definitely end up being as long as, if not much longer than, the actual book!

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  16. You guys doing NaNo blow me away! I've always been more of a panster, but I just started a new project and I find myself being much more careful, and wanting to outline more. This is totally crazy for me, lol! Anyway, good luck with the rest of November, you still have time. (:

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    1. Thanks, and good luck with outlining! As you know, I'm a little biased, and think it's the best thing... EVER.

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  17. Sounds like your creative process is on fire! Keep it up. Whether we're NaNo-ing or Write1Sub1-ing, the goal is to be writing every day.

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