by Lucy Marsden
I should be exasperated and cranky by this point.
It’s been catch-as-catch-can with my writing over the last two weeks: sickness, work emergencies, childcare juggling, etc., and that usually means a disconnect from my characters and my story that creates huge inertia once I’m finally able to sit down and write again. Teeth-gnashing for days until I re-establish the flow of the scene I’m working on has historically been guaranteed.
But not this time. This time, I’ve been able to finagle enough ongoing connection to my WIP so that even if I’m not actively writing the way I want to be, I’m still IN my story and feel as though I’m moving forward with it. Here, in no particular order, are my sanity savers:
Everything I know about collaging for a WIP I learned from author Jenny Crusie. When I can’t write (for whatever reason), I can still look for images, textures, colors, lyrics, and text that “taste” like the story in my head, and that enhance my experience and understanding of it. Once the collage is made, looking at it brings me back to the world of my book.
Certain songs are for the vibe of particular characters, others are for the feel of certain scenes. Currently, I’m listening to a playlist called “Wizards and Time Lords” featuring a lot of Murray Gold’s work from Doctor Who Season 5. So good, and again, immediately evocative of the feel of my book.
Kick-Ass Movies and TV Shows
Sometimes, even if I’m too frazzled to concentrate on my story, I can switch gears and keep my writing skills primed by looking at how other writers have handled plot, character, pacing, and dialogue. Game of Thrones has been amazing, Doctor Who Season 5 I’ve already alluded to, and I just found the first two seasons of Moonlighting at Target for $9.99 (Score!). Quite the smorgasbord, but it’s keeping me engaged and invigorated about telling stories, and that’s the main thing.
I’ve mentioned them before, but they are so worth mentioning again. The Popcorn Dialogues and Storywonk Daily are my two favorite places to go to listen to passionate, articulate discussions about storytelling. Jenny Crusie, Lucy March, and Alastair Stephens are currently studying episodes of Burn Notice, Life, In Plain Sight, and Leverage over at Pop D as the foundation for discussions about writing community. Lucy and Alastair keep the story-love coming over at the aptly-named Storywonk site, too: world-building, genre conventions, dealing with reader responses to your work, interviews with folks like Anne Stuart and NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty--all this and more is available. I listen in the car during my commute; it’s just one more way to pull Story into my day and stay connected.
So what about you? How do you stay connected to storytelling in general and your story in particular under less-than-auspicious circumstances?