Thursday, April 27, 2006

First Edition

Chapter 1, New Digs

Thanks to Dawn at Dreamscape for bringing my vision for the new Chapterhouse to the screen. Isn't it gorgeous? She did a great job, all while mothering three kids and about to deliver her fourth any day now! At first, I was going to switch to WordPress because I mistakenly thought it would be easier to use than Blogger. Not! For Dawn to be able to get into the WordPress template, I would have had to subscribe to a web-hosting site for a monthly fee, whereas she could dink with Blogger's template for free. The only disadvantage was that I would not have WordPress's "Category" feature. The feature just wasn't worth it to me, so I'm staying with Blogger. If you're trying to find something on my blog, please just use the "Search" feature.

Chapter 2, Save "the Internets"

It's so gratifying to have your support, my blogbuds. Even though many of us will never meet in person, we are still a close-bit bunch. And speaking of the Blogosphere, did you know that Congress just voted to throw out the Net Neutrality portion of the proposed Internet Bill? This is so outrageous that I urge you to go to this site, Save the Internet, and read "How This Affects You." If you have a computer and if you ever go online, like you are now reading this, you will be affected by the omission of Net Neutrality. Then, go to this site, FreePress, and send an email to your representatives in both houses. The email is already addressed and written for you (you can change or add to it, if you wish); all you have to do is provide your name and address and hit "Send."

Chapter 3, Writing

I haven't done any writing for a week and a half, but I'm not going to worry about it. The last time I stopped writing for a while, I was approaching the Midpoint of my WIP (that's "Work in Progress" for us cool writer-types), and I just. couldn't. write. it. After a couple of weeks fretting about it, some specific ideas percolated up to the surface of Consciousness, and I did probably my best writing ever. Now, I'm looking at that long stretch leading up to the Third Turning Point and the end of Act II. Just as before, with the Midpoint, I've written a few scenes, and have the rest story-boarded, but … something else must be percolating.

Having the scenes storyboarded in advance makes writing a lot easier for me, especially since I'm working on a mystery story. It's the technique screenwriters use, but I'm finding it works great for novel-writing, too. I wish I'd known about it for my first one. I'm using sticky notes for the scenes, which I then put in my Moleskine notebook. Scenes to be written go on yellow stickies, and the ones already written are put on any color except yellow. Using sticky notes allows me to rearrange scenes as the novel progresses.

It's not quite as easy as it sounds. In the method I'm using, I'm not writing actual scenes on those yellow stickies, but notes to tell me what should happen next. The real scenes go on the non-yellow stickies, complete with the locale, the conflict, and the emotional arc. Here's how it works in real life: I congratulate myself because I don't have the specter of an infinite number of blank pages ahead of me. Nor do I have a constrictive (seeming) outline to work from (which is what I did the first time.) No, I have it all figured out. Pages of yellow sticky notes are my map, my very fluid plan, for writing this thing. So. Start. Go. Then I take a closer look at those notes. One says, "Danny's findings re: Tammy." Another says, "Arraignment." A third is, "More Brandye's Story." Oh. I still have to write this thing, don't I?

Decisions must be made beforehand, though. It's already been decided that Danny will present these findings at a meeting. Now I need to decide things like, where will the meeting take place? Who will be there? What conflict(s) occur? What's the tone? How detailed should this be? For that matter, what about the next scene, the Arraignment? Do I want to put Gino back in the courtroom for this one? Hmm. Probably not, because the bail hearing was covered almost gavel-to-gavel. Maybe the Arraignment should just be referred to, but how, exactly? It could be a conversation between Gino and Brandye, perhaps, since more of her story needs to come in now, anyway. Except that Gino and Brandye are on the outs now, so that needs to be resolved. Maybe it's during the resolution that the arraignment comes up? No, wait - Brandye comes to the meeting where Danny reports his findings, and then Gino and Brandye get back together and talk about the arraignment. Except that the arraignment can't take place until 48 hours after the indictments were served. And so forth. This is how it works for us cool storyboarding types.

So, I'm content to do busywork in the meantime. Besides, I'm enjoying the heck out of Dr. Phil and Oprah.

Part of the busywork involves going back to the beginning of the WIP and italicizing Gino's internal dialogue. I thought I could get away with not italicizing it, following the advice in one of my mystery-writing books, but in my writers' group, everyone said that the unitalicized internal dialogue made it look like I was switching POVs ("Point of View" for those of us in cool writers' groups) all over the place. I had to concede they were right. It is confusing. In fact, it confused me at first because I kept thinking I had a POV problem, when all it was, really, was a problem with how to present internal dialogue. For a very good discussion of this, visit Ron's writing blog. He's a member of the writers' group I'm in. While visiting, you could also click on the link to his other blog, The Horse Spoon Trick. You won't be disappointed. It's always fun to find a new blog you like, isn't it?

The End

I hope you like the new look here at Chapterhouse. Lemme know whatcha think! (And please remember the Net Neutrality provision - we must have it.)