Getting to Know You

Lately, the bulk of my writing has been exploratory, an effort to understand things better rather than to move forward with the storyline.  As part of the revision process, I drew up a list of side characters who appear in the first draft but whom I don’t know very well.  I sat down and wrote their back stories.  It was a good exercise: entertaining, relaxing, and ultimately illuminating.  During this exercise, two characters who served identical purposes became one character, and her internal life became clear to me, and then she just sort of slipped into the foreground of the story and said, “I’m here now, and I’m staying.”  And so I started the revision process again, to establish her more clearly, because now she’ll be closer to the center of the action.  I’ve now written the first chapter of the second book for the third time. 

The other writing I’ve been doing lately has felt a lot like writing fanfic, though it’s all within Tyme.  To clear up some muddy character motivations for myself, I’ve written some short stories; scenes that don’t take place within the actual books, but that lead to important character decisions.  Most of these scenes have been at least somewhat romantic in nature, so that’s been fun, and again, really relaxing.  I enjoy knowing that I’m writing something that doesn’t have to “perform” in any way, for anyone other than me.

I’ve also been doing a lot of mental work that doesn’t feel like work (although right now it does, because I am stuck and need to take a long walk and get myself unstuck).  Most of the mental work happens either when I’m walking and talking, or when I’m driving and listening to music.  Driving and listening to music might be my favorite way to think.  I see the stories happen in my head, like music video montages.  I can’t actually write to music – it gets in the way.  But prewriting, it opens up my brain and provides an emotional underscore, and things just spring to life that way.  I got so excited the other day, listening to Radioactive, because I suddenly saw an action sequence in the final book playing out, in my head, and it was awesome.  I love stuff like that.

My son is clambering all over me now, making it very difficult to type.  “Take a snuggle with me.  Watch Mama type!  Take a tiny rest on Mama.”  Time to put work away, for now, and enjoy some Saturday snuggles.  Who knows?  Maybe the snuggles will help me come unstuck.  Either way, I win.


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