Monday, September 22, 2014

Transferring Brain to Page

I'm at another "stump" in the editing process of the novel.

I've made good progress and was feeling confident. It was shaping up nicely and parts coming together. Then I decided to finish breaking up the all-in-one document into chapter and scene pieces in Scrivener to continue working the revision and rewrites. That was much easier to navigate when I was working on the chapters to submit for the upcoming writers' retreat and it seemed like it was time to get it easier to work on than in one giant document.

In that process, which necessarily included skimming chapters as I transferred them to the separate sections, I found several more disconnects in the story. More questions came up. Questions about the characters. About some impossible plot points which need to be addressed and some changed. Places where the story doesn't work as written or where there is significant information to be added which will enhance the story. The lack of physicality of characters. And so on. Editing types of observations.

And, again, I was reminded that - perhaps - working from an outline of some kind would probably make the process easier. The editing process. But, again, it's not the way I write. Or hasn't been the way I've been writing.

I tried to create an outline from what I have. I started a text document in Scrivener - as an addendum to the main work in the file, so it wouldn't be printed with the compilation. I started it in a TXT document; no good. I tried it in Word, with a little more functionality and formatting, but it was too overwhelming and frustrating and was not going to be helpful.

Then I realized that what I needed was more of a "mind mapping" approach. There are three main threads in the novel. They all come together, overlap, are related - eventually. But within each of them there needs to be continuity and each grouping has some strengths and weaknesses. So I thought that the mind mapping format might work to clean up the sections and give space to work with the novel as a whole.

That started the search for mind mapping software. Everything else is digital, so why not mind mapping! I had looked at a couple of programs a couple or several years ago, so I went on an internet search. Some are free. Some are java applications. Some are online; some are downloadable. Some have free trials and videos. I searched. And played.

After I bit I felt I wasn't getting anywhere and I had something else I needed to map out. I have a number of theatrical and writing obligations coming up, and workshops, and was having a hard time visualizing everything. So I decided to get out a piece of poster board - I have a small stock of poster board and other similar foundations for creating collages. I decided to section it into a year -  a rough, by hand, division not going for exactitude, but for separation by month. Then I wrote in the obligations, including a few tentative things with unknown start dates/end dates/ scope of commitment.

In my way - left over from years of working as stage manager - I also added symbols for the different types of events. Then I added a color for groups of types, for a quick glance overview of the activities to come. There is room left over to add activities and notes if needed.

That poster now hangs beside my desk.

As I looked at my theater, performance, workshop, and special event "poster," I realized that what I need to do with the novel is mind mapping - by hand. For the same reasons, to be able to add and draw lines and circles and arrows. To squeeze in something here and there. To literally get my hands on it and feel and see where the novel has gone, is going, what it needs. To know the story in my body. To make that knowledge visible.

It was very late (or very early, depending on your perspective) when I had this realization, so I have not made that insight a reality. Yet. I will.

Yes, mind to hand to paper. This will work.

Note: all of the "mind mapping" images are from online websites with software to share or try - except for this last one, which was hand drawn by the author of an article on the uses and benefits of mind mapping. A couple of the software programs come close - in appearance - to hand mind mapping. But, for me, it's the physical quality of the process, as well - not just the finished product.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

On Creativity - Austin Kleon's Note

This note is from Austin Kleon's 9/5/14 newsletter, "Notes to Self."

I want to give it a space all its own.

Except to say, "Yes. This."

(Well, except the extroverted part. Though I have to channel my more extroverted friends and mentors at times. I'm working on number seven.)


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

In the Midst of Creativity

This has been a busy time. Is still a busy time

And it has been a good time. And a busy time.

It is also a time when I am reminded - or when my knowledge is reinforced - that creativity begets creativity. Our house is buzzing with it and more keeps coming our way. It is not more than we can handle - no - it is just more. There is a flow and flux which is working. I do know that some of it is due to work we've been doing for several years, building to this point. It has not been overnight; no; I know.

New opportunties. New inquiries. Some situations work out, some go away, some are not the right fit. But more comes.

Creative energy in abundance. And life is good. And still busy.

My partner has been working on her second book. Next week they are flying her out for a a photo shoot, where she will be demonstrating the processes she teaches and guides and describes in the book. She has also been working on examples and supplies for the art classes she will be teacher later this month. And working on her own art.

I have been editing a novel and researching places to submit shorter pieces. I interpreted a Shakespeare in the Park production in Bend - and there was much around that event which was good and inspiring.  I also started a new theatrical interpreting training/study group. For the study group, we interpreted an exciting set of one acts by Sam Shepard and that entire process was inspiring and rewarding and filled my creative cup several times over. I have also had a lot of other movement in creative energy related to theatre; more details will be coming about that later. And I did get the opening of the novel revised to fit the specifications to submit to the facilitator of the writing retreat I will be attending in October.

Creativity is present and active. We are busy, but a good busy, not more than we can handle. Excitement, energy, and remembering to breathe and allow time for rest.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Leaves on the Ground

It's funny how quickly the air changes. Yes, I know, it really wasn't quick, it changes all the time, it's only my noticing that changes. 

First it's hot and it's dry and it's summer and each molecule is warmed by the sun, each particle on my skin feels like summer and hot.
Then it doesn't.
Like that.

Like - hey, it's September, welcome. 

It is darker earlier. I did notice that several weeks ago. When the other interpreter and I were preparing for the interpreted performance of Twelfth Night in Bend. On Fridays and Saturdays we went to different wineries to see the play. Same show, different location, different days.
And over those three weekends, the footlights came on a little earlier in the play than they had the week before. So I noticed the light shifting.
Then the fourth week, in Bend, the lights came on at intermission.

I see that our temperatures are headed back up for this weekend. And that's good. My tomatoes could use a few more days of heat, they are already slowing their production.
I haven't had enough of the sweet, round, deliciousness. Each day when I pick the golden orange and red cherry tomatoes, half of them make it to the house. And I remember, again, why I don't eat fresh tomatoes very often at other times of the year. It is hard to find a tomato - cherry or full-size - at other times which taste as good as the ones I planted and tended and picked. And popped right into my mouth direct from the vine.

So the air. Now. There are still waves and layers of warm. But the cooler bits are present as well. 

Heat layers warmth and dry puffs mix with molecules of wetter composition. I can smell it. I feel it on my skin.

The calendar tells me it is still summer.

The leaves already beginning to fall tell me it is the edge of autumn.

My skin says, stay present with whatever it is. 

Cool warm sun cloud water.