Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Corralling Creativity for Cohesion

I've written about my "Cool Stuff That Never Happens" notebook where I keep all the strange scenarios that pop into my head when I should be doing something responsible. Its a creative boosting device I picked up years ago at a writing workshop.  If you're interested in the whole explanation including my reason behind "Killer Geisha's with Knife Fans," then take a look at the original post here.

So anyway, this notebook I have is chock full of the most outlandish plot twist, fight scenarios, and action sequence ideas I've ever had...and it keeps growing.  I don't edit my thoughts in this notebook. I don't talk myself out of things cause they're "too crazy" or "might have been done before." I give myself a TOTAL PASS in terms of what I write down. This is good. This is being creative.

The problem is that creativity has to be corralled in order to have cohesion.

Let me be clear here. I am not advocating stifling your creative juices. Not at all. What I am suggesting is once you have all these awesome ideas flitting around your noggin you have to actually pare them down to those that fit your story.

And that is why story blocking is so important.

I would love to have dirigible fights, killer automaton canines, and a spectacular fight atop a speeding train whilst dodging lighting whips...who wouldn't?

In fact, it is quite enticing to throw in everything just because I liked writing the scene and it turned out really, really cool. But you have to ask yourself a question...

Does it move the plot forward? Does it serve the reader to better immerse in the plot or character?

Blocking out your story, however you choose to go about it, is an essential tool in helping you tell the story you want to tell without going off in random directions and losing the reader's interest. Whether you are a Discovery writer or an Architect writer (Planner or Pantser) there has to be some sort of forethought and framework in order for your novel to have a clear sense of moving forward.

Make an outline of the basic points of your plot. Does your sequence serve the story or do you just like it?  How about you notecard/corkboard authors? Does your idea fit in the flow of your book?

From Snowflake method to good old scribbles in a notebook, have a planned plot. 

You can deviate from it if need be, just have a general idea.  I guarantee you will spend less time in frustrated editing at the back end if you keep yourself on track.

Until next time...Go Write! 
+Raquel Byrnes 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Situational Blindness or a Dufus?

Heading into the weeks before Valentine's Day, I am working on the romantic arc in my WIP only to get stuck before the sparks even begin to smolder.

Its always difficult, in the midst of tumult, to quiet your heart and mind long enough to see what is right in front of you. That sort of situational blindness has happened to me before in real life and I can totally understand how it can happen in the extreme situations of a fantasy novel.

The problem is...

Writing it in such a way that the heroine or hero do not appear to be clueless dufuses (yes, thats a word) that frustrate the reader with their obliviousness.

I remember reading a book and the love interest kept doing obvious things to help her in a dangerous situation and the heroine kept wondering seriously?

I also don't want to be so subtle that the reader is frustrated with the hero for not making his feelings clear enough.

Blerg!  So, as I overanalyze and obsess over every piece of dialogue and cryptic behavior I write...

I leave the question with you. What is your favorite instance of someone finally realizing the one they needed was in front of them the whole time?

Until next time...Go Write!

+Raquel Byrnes