Monday, August 08, 2011

Visualization and Terminology

I am in the process of taking an epic break from writing. Between the madness of summer and packing for a two month trip to New Zealand and Fiji, I've only had one day to write in the last two months. But man-oh-man what a day. A break through day. Not in word count but I finally got past this block I've had about my book.

When things are going well in a book scenes stack up in my head like building blocks. That's how I see it. Building blocks with these little threads hanging off and I tie the threads to different building blocks in my book. Those would be subplots and tangents and character quirks.

When things aren't going well it's like walking through a cave. Light is coming in behind me so I can see around myself, but up ahead - a big nothing. A big dark nothing. And I keep walking and walking hoping I'll find a light switch somewhere.

So, after writing roughly half a book in the dark, waiting for something to tie everything together, I finally got to a place where my scenes started stacking up and I got the threads out and started to make it work.

I was feeling really good about this and was telling my husband about it. I rarely get the "WTF" looks from him about writing. We've been together a long time and that whole time I've been a writer, so he knows the drill. But man explaining the building blocks and the threads I got the look.

So, how do you visualize your work? What's your insane terminology? Come on...make me feel less crazy!


Eileen said...

I just told someone the other night that when I'm writing a rough draft, I only write the tenderloin of the scene. Just the meat. No sinews. No tendons. No bones. No fat.

I totally got the WTF look.

What are you doing in NZ for two months? Do you want me to go with as your nanny?

Molly O'Keefe said...

tenderloin of a scene - I totally get that!!! It's so true - no connecting tissue, no bones, meat meat meat...

yes. please come to NZ to be my (my as in for me - the kids can take care of themselves. I will need care and company) nanny. We will pay you in beer and wine, carry you around in first class motor home accomodations, treat you to all the rugby matches you can take and then sit you by a beach in fiji. all of that and you get the company of a two year old and a star wars obsessed five year old.

Maureen McGowan said...

I get both of those analogies.

With Eileen's... I think at times when I know what's going on in my book, I write the tenderloin, too. But if I'm baffled, I add way too much marbling that I later have to trim.

And I really related to the looking into the darkness part. And that's what I'm facing right now. I hate first drafts. It's so scary all alone in the cave.

Molly, what am I going to do without you for six weeks????

Sinead, you'll have to help me through the scary cave and to pull the blocks and strings together.

Anonymous said...

I'm in the cave with you, Maureen. For me it's trying to find the scenes between the big stuff. They are wispy like clouds and it's easier sometimes to overlook them, except the wisp makes everything else make sense..

Except for that sentence which made no sense...

Can we all go to NZ?

Stephanie Doyle said...

I'm so jealous about the NZ trip. I know all about Fiji from watching the Bachelorette (Sinead - totally excited about B - Pad!)

I can't think of any crazy terminology - all of yours makes sense though.

I must have them - I guess I just never realized I was getting WTF looks all this time.

Eileen said...

Maybe you're not getting WTF looks, Steph. You're the one who visualizes the whole thing and then just sits down and writes. We're all stumbling in the dark searching for light switches and eating meat.

I so wish I could go, Molly! That sounds fabulous and I don't even understand rugby. I watched that whole Matt Damon/Morgan Freeman movie and am still completely clueless.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Oh I'm a LOT clueless. I just finished my book added up the word count and I'm off almost 15,000 words.

15,000 WORDS!!!

Now normally I make up between 5-10 in rewrites as I flesh things out. But this means I have to come up with a whole new chapter of stuff.

So I'm in the cave with no tenderloin hoping for a box with string on it to show up.


Eileen said...

That just made me snort out loud at my desk. Thanks tons, Steph! ;-)

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