Ginormous Whiteboard – Update


This isn’t the update I envisioned.
But in the spirit of full disclosure
here’s what happens when you
(and by that I mean Zippy and me)
try loading a 5 1/2 ft x 4 ft piece of tileboard
into the back of a Prius.

Fortunately, it’s an inexpensive material.


Ginormous Whiteboard Envy


I’m at just over 200 pages of this first draft.
Wrote 1000 words every day for 71 days.
And am just now thinking I know the story.

Don’t laugh.

But as I wrote notes the last couple days
trying to find my way out of the wilderness
I kept thinking
"I wish I had a huge whiteboard"
one large enough to pace in front of
and step back to look at
in order to see the big picture.

Guess what?
All sorts of kind people have posted
DIY directions for making your own ginormous whiteboard.

I hope to be back soon with photos and helpful links!


New Project, New Notebook

Bad lighting and big shadows can’t obscure this recommendation.
THE POCKET MUSE: ideas & inspirations for writing By Monica Wood
is a fine little book.  Filled with black and white photos and quotes
and story starters and snippets of genius such as

There is a special throne in heaven
for poets, who labor in obscurity.
The rest of us harbor an unexpressed
hope for fame and glory.
You might be tempted to write
for a market.  You might be tempted
to ride the crest of a trend.
That kind of writing is about as stable
and fulfilling as day trading.
Write what moves you.  Write what
interests you.  Write what frightens
you.  Write what thrills you.  Take a
cue from the poets, bless their
underfunded little hearts.

Two days ago I happened upon a name that resonated with me.
I wasn’t sure what to do with that name.
I pulled out THE POCKET MUSE and started turning pages.
I found what I needed.
My new project has a new notebook.
I’m excited again.


Visualize This

Last night I printed out the final twelve pages of my ms and read them again.  I felt cold dread.  Something was off.  So I went outside and hooped without music as I talked aloud (to myself and the occasional finch or robin) about my story.  And I realized I needed to use highlighters to, well, highlight the different plot and character interactions in those pages to get a handle on the situation.

Today I highlighted and wrote on sticky notes and scribbled in margins and crossed out paragraphs and basically had a good ol’ time ripping those pages apart.  The cold dread has now warmed to a tentative optimism. 

I wanted to post a photo of my efforts because it felt good to make that kind of progress but also because the results were rather colorful and festive.

Alas, I cannot locate my camera.  Perhaps Zippy took it to British Columbia. 

If you’d like to humor me, close your eyes and visualize yellow, pink, orange, green, and blue lines scattered with pale yellow sticky notes and illegible blue ballpoint scribbles.

Oohs and aahs optional.


Me and My Notebook

I know it sounds crazy but I’ve never used a spiral notebook for a writing project.  Each book has come out differently: the first was handwritten with a fountain pen on legal pads without any outlining or character sketches that I can remember (which might account for the blithering, blathering, circuitous route I followed before finally calling it finished); the second was outlined in part on a dry erase board and then written longhand and via word processing; the third and fourth were born through notes jotted notes here and there, some in a composition book divided into sections for PLOT and CHARACTER and DIALOGUE, others on loose leaf paper clumped together on a clipboard before getting transferred to a computer file. 

Even though I haven’t finished revising the fourth book and even though I usually don’t move onto a new project until I’ve completed the old (at least a draft), this time I’m doing just that.  I hope it doesn’t mean the death of Book Four but regardless, I’ve been swept away by a new idea ALL of which I’m scribbling in my blue notebook.  Willy nilly.  I’m dating stuff as I write it and do have full pages set aside for character notes but mostly I’m just letting it rip.

Right now I’m having great fun.  And that’s my main concern these days.


Talking to Myself

I just completed a painful set of revisions on Chapter Sixteen and wanted to highlight my writing buddy, the voice-activated recorder. I wasn’t looking forward to those revisions because while there was a lot right about that chapter, much had to change. Not only basic plot points but some nuance. It was going to get ugly.

Then I got out my voice recorder and just talked for ten minutes as I sorted out my plan of attack.

I’ve always had to talk through plotting or characterization problems but what I finally realized was that because I can’t write when I’m talking aloud, I often lose pieces of the puzzle. Talking wasn’t enough if I couldn’t retain everything. So I bought this handy gadget that catches every um, sigh, and epiphany. For those of you who are like me and must talk out loud to unravel your stories, I highly recommend a voice recorder.

I’ve even stopped cringing at the sound of my voice.