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small step – to heck with the “write a novel” idea

No, no, no – don’t panic!  I’m still plugging along with GOTS.  I just realized (again) this week that Big Project Titles intimidate me.  So no longer am I going to dangle it over my head, I don’t need the torment.

Instead I’m just going to keep up the small steps that are part of the whole picture.  Yes, I’m fooling myself intentionally – obviously I know I’m working on a novel.  But there’s a voice that says (with a whine): gee, don’t you wish you could “write a novel?”  How come you’re not “writing your novel?”  You’re not very committed to “writing a novel” are you, if you’re not actually writing it?  etc etc.  And that voice can officially shut up instead of freezing me up.

This week has been full of small steps (which look large in comparison to the months of no activity I’ve had recently) and I am pleased to keep keeping on with them.  They’ve involved clustering, and today a revisit to the Dot and the Line, HTTS’ Lesson Five.

The Dot and Line work are integral for me, even though they’re difficult, because I was not granted an intuitive understanding of the conflict in my story other than that which is completely obvious.  In the past I’ve tweaked the Dot with great results (the spoke shape Holly uses never worked for me, I’m more of a list maker at heart), and from the walkthrough I saw that it was possible to draw a three (or more)-pronged line to show conflict between multiple facets.

It’s good to be developing the story again – and not succumbing to hopelessness that I’d be able to come up with the depth the story needed.

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small step – clustering

Mind mapping/clustering seems to be a good way to generate and record random half-thoughts that might eventually be used. Yesterday I spent some time mapping both what the Golden Gate Bridge means in this story and what’s important about the setting being San Francisco. I brought my SF map to Germany and yesterday looked it over – an exercise in both reminiscence and imagination.

With the map I was also able to think about whether or not it’s feasible to pull in a sunset seen from the East Bay, setting through the GGB.  Just a thought I had – and I guess it would mean that at some point I’d need to determine where on the horizon (during which particular season) the sun actually appears to set… Probably too much research than I need to be getting into at this point, but I did write the possibility down on my cluster.

This morning I stepped away from physical objects and put down “Characters” as a central circle for a cluster and promptly stalled out.  Maybe “Characters” is too broad for my creative mind – but I did something I’m learning to do more often and it helped.  I opened up my cheap notebook and wrote out about being stumped by “Characters.” Eeventually I turned from that page and clustered a little about one of the main characters, asking questions and getting more detail.

Asking questions is key, especially, “What if…?” and simply writing out what’s in my mind, journal style seems to help.  These are things that I need to be consciously aware of having in my toolbox.  I’m also finding that though I recognize that such things as a “toolbox” with “tools” in it is symbolic, it helps to accord them a degree of imaginal or magical reality.  I have a toolbox in my mind, and it’s in the studio of my mind where I work to bring words out into the world.

My next step is to continue with the clustering and then to go back and look through HTTS lessons (and walkthroughs) – backtracking a bit to make up for having pushed GOTS to the background.

small steps are all I can manage for now

Oh heavens it’s been a long time between posts. That’s an indication of how much attention I’ve been able to give to GOTS over the past few months. The reason? I’ve moved to Germany!

That’s gone and stirred my imagination up with another story idea that I have promised to put in safekeeping until I finish GOTS. So, into a little wooden box painted with some sort of traditional design it goes… something like this maybe:

Meanwhile, I engaged in some symbolic shopping in order to give myself the sense of starting anew (my Muse likes new) even while I’m keeping my WIP from the past.  I am now in possession of an orange folder, a hardbound orange notebook (substantial enough that I give this project some credibility, inexpensive enough that the inner accountant doesn’t threaten to fire me), and some tiny little orange index card (who knew Germany was the land of All-Sizes-Index-Cards?)…  See that beautiful bridge up in my banner?  That’s the color and the meaningfulness to it all.

So I’m backtracking somewhat to remember where I was with this (to fit in my process that means I have to re-engage by re-writing some of my clusters and notes – somehow my hand MUST be involved in getting my mind to open up).  It’s going to be sporadic due to my simultaneously feeding and cleaning up after my family, trying to live in a house that’s unfurnished, setting up basic utilities (still no internet at home ’til Thursday) and working with repairmen who don’t speak English any better than I do German, and getting some part time copy editing work to make up for the huge initial expenses we’re dealing with, but BY GOLLY, I’ll have planned enough that I can take part in this year’s NaNoWriMo.

I’ve missed this.