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Monday, January 31, 2011

It's Like a Movie

I said that procrastination is what got me to this point*. That’s not entirely true. It’s really what I did while procrastinating that helped.

See, while I was obsessing over agent blogs and stalking following writer blogs I was also daydreaming. Once I had my idea—not the craptastic one I originally came up with, mind you—I let it play in my head like I was remembering a good movie.

Over the course of the 11 months I procrastinated (and again when I got stuck on a scene), I got to know my characters. I saw my favorite scenes and how they reacted. I dwelled on what might happen next.

Warning: You might consider me insane for what I’m about to say. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but I’d appreciate it if you don’t call the authorities. With my complexion, straightjackets wash me out.

I’d run through scenes while showering, while washing my hands, while folding laundry. I’d take a nap, throw on some music, and let the story play.

And then I wrote it all down. I wouldn’t say it was an outline (because such an outline would have gotten an F in the high school I went to). But it was a map of sorts. 

This applies mid-draft, too.

It’s easy, when stuck, to force the words. I can’t think of a reason she’d go to that house but, gosh dern it, she needs to be there so that’s what happens next. Usually those are the places in the manuscript beta readers leave marks like this:


And no on wants a big fat HUH!?!? in the comments. So step back and let the scene play out in your mind. Watch the “movie” and then watch it again. Watch it until you’re unstuck.

For me, the notes I took while daydreaming were scattered. But they helped me get my mind around the plot, the arc, who these people in my head were.

And now I’m positive, after that comment, you’ll have me committed.

 Do you ever daydream with your story?

*A completed manuscript. A totally flawed, piece of crap first draft, but you get where I'm going with this.

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