Monday, June 9, 2014

Over the weekend, I gave a day-long workshop for the RWA chapter in Syracuse. Nice ladies... (and gentlemen) we had a lot of fun.

But it always amazes me when I'm teaching and I see something in my notes that blows me away. I think, you wrote that! How can you be surprised?

Bad memory? LOL

But the truth is, we go to so many seminars and workshops and take so many classes that sometimes we can be overwhelmed with good ideas. Ideas for organization. Ideas for coming up with stories. Ideas for capturing scene ideas. Reminders of what good writing looks like or how to raise the stakes or why you need twists and turns.

On overload, our brains quickly reject things that either aren't easy or can't help us right now, in the place where we are in our novel.

So what's the fix for this? Or better said, how do you remember to use all the tools at hand?

The simplest answer is to tell you to get a system. Everybody has "a system," even if it is a bad one. We have a process by which we figure out our story (albeit that some people do it by writing a draft). We have a process by which we come up with scenes or write scenes. And we have a process by which we edit. The trick is not being led around by your process but actually checking in with it every once in a while and refining it.

For me process is all about planning and then writing what I've planned. Midway through a book, my editor and I decided to change it...So what did I do? I wrote a new one-paragraph story summary so I'd have a guide or map that showed me what needed to be changed and what could stay the same.

So I plan. I come up with a story summary, a synopsis, a storyboard and then pages. The forms I use are tools like a could/might/must and should list, one of the various 1-paragraph story summaries, lists of twenty. Then I roll into storyboard, which is a "visual" of my scenes.

I know what to do, what forms to reach for, because I always use this process.

Yours may be different. (Yours should be different. LOL) But whatever process you choose, you should have a list of the forms or systems that help you. And every time you start a book you should refer to those forms so that you get your brain in the habit of working in the way that's most efficient for you.

Because success in life really does involve habit. Get your brain accustomed to working with things and it will eagerly go in the direction you need it to go. And suddenly writing won't be as much torture as a happy path you've successfully followed before!

Happy Monday...

Oh, and sorry I'm late. Yee Gawds I'm busy. :)

susan meier

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