Daily Archives: January 14, 2004

Here And Gone

So now that I’ve got this bulletin board, very cool-looking with lots of important story assignments and ongoing projects pinned to it (have I mentioned that I got a postcard from Neil Gaiman?), I am experiencing writing blocks the size of Stonehenge.

No, actually, I’m not. I’m exeriencing computer aversion.

Yes, there’s a difference. Last night I went to bed early, curled up in candlelight with cats, and began to work through a Great Canadian Novel issue that had been dropped by the wayside a while ago. Yes, all two of you out there who’ve read the GCN, I refer to Ben, poor guy. Yeah, he kind of vanished, didn’t he? I’m certain my protagonist would like him to stay vanished, but that just can’t happen.

I have never been a fan of the concept of jacking into some sort of computer system, but ye gods, if there were to be a method created for authors to allow ideas to pour straight from noggin to file, I’d be all for it.

And, of course, when I woke up this morning… gone. This is even worse considering that I’m one of those people who urge others to write down their ideas in order to encourage the creative subconscious with positive reinforcement (which, as t! pointed out to me last week, is simply another term for brainwashing). An evening of work, lost due to being warm and comfortable and sleepy. (And speaking of t!, yay for regular posting!)

As others in my general artistic circle are realising, writing without a regular schedule is just asking for problems.

One of my thoughts last night was about the idea of outlines. I had a rough chapter-by-chapter outline for my 2003 NaNo novel, and it worked. Not only did it work, I added stuff in-between. Now, I also enjoy working in a discovery-type fashion – no outline, no idea, just sit down and whee, where’s my protagonist going today? The GCN is written like that, and in general it works really, really well (the problem of the disappearing Ben aside), because the novel is about the protagonist discovering herself.

I used to write in a very episodic fashion: I’d have an idea for a scene and I’d write it. This meant I’d have a pile of scenes that I could play with like a jigsaw puzzle, or – even better example – a Tarot spread. How do these scenes relate? In what order do they appear? How can I tell a story that connects them all and have it make sense?

I’ve recently revived an old set of scenes written like this about a decade ago. They’re good; I like the characters. I know what order they come in. Now I just have to write the stuff that connects them all, which means – yes – an outline of sorts. And for some reason, I’m really resisting the outline idea right now. Probably because I know it’s Good For Me.

None of which, of course, even remotely connects to the computer aversion issue. Which is, quite simply, the fact that I don’t want to sit at a computer to write. Don’t tell my creative subconscious, but I’m going to outwit it by going back to pen and paper for a while. I might even buy it a new notebook and pen to lull it into complicity.

Shh. We mustn’t spoil the surprise.