Sunday, November 6, 2011

A lifeless hair cut begins a path of clear vision in writing

Earlier this summer, I had to divorce my hairdresser/colorist of nearly 10 years. Why? His became too expensive. I am a woman on budget, I strongly believe in living within my means so, I set out on a quest, to find a colorist and stylist. The other day, I received a perfect technically correct haircut – great lines, every hair falls into perfectly into place…I don’t like it, at all. Why? It has no life to it. It doesn’t flirt, it doesn’t look like “me.” The results have let me in foul mood however, the stylist isn’t entirely to blame. I went into the salon with a half-assed vision and I did not bring pictures or other visual aids to help present my ideas.

This indecent reminds me of sitting down to write a novel with no vision. For some people the no vision process works very well however, for the rest of us writers, we need some direction. After all, there is a blank page waiting to be filled with wild whirling words!

I don't believe in "one correct pathway" to writing a novel. I believe the process is different for everyone. Over the years, I've taken ideas from other writers and applied them to my process. Most didn't work for me however the handful of tips I have kept, are beautiful!!! One of my favorite tool of the trade is creating a picture outline. (Like a storyboard, vision board or story map...all terms are correct - you pick whatever is best for your process...)

Here's what you do, plan one spending an hour...(trust me, you'll end up spending more but if you are pressed for time, 1 hour will do.)

Step 1 (Hunt and Gather - 5 minutes)

Head to the closet and grab all your old school supplies...
  • Yes, get out the scissors
  • glue stick
  •  a piece of foam core (or other LARGE paper, Moleskine, or even a white board)
  •  glitter sticks (my personal favorite)
  •  fortune cookie fortunes,
  • colored pencils, 
  • Markers, Mr. Sketch Markers (another favorite)
  • All the magazines you've been saving
  • Leaves or ticket stubs or anything else you can think of that might be a part of a story
  • Favorite pictures of actors that might play the part of your characters (or make up your own! Draw them out! Don't worry about being perfect, the pictures don't have to be, this is for you, your eyes only....)
  • Index Cards
Step 2 (Quick Plot - spend no more than 10 minutes on this section)
Take 3 index cards - write a sentence (or two) on what happens in the beginning, middle and end.
Take a few more cards write your main characters names, brief description of what they look like, what they are fighting for etc.

Step 3 (Assemble - 40 minutes)
Divide your paper in three sections, place index cards with the sentence for the beginning, middle, end on top of the respective positions. Take your elements from step 1 and visually create a story. Remember you can always change it....

Step 4 (Clean up & Post  - 5 minutes)
Post the picture up in your writing space. Refer to it, when writing....

This is a great exercise for really thinking about your story in different thought process. Again, experiment and discover what works for you!

Happy Writing!!!!

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