We’re in the middle of a series of guest blogs with Cindy Martinusen Coloma. Cindy emailed me today with a comment to go before her next blog entry:
I’d love to comment on so many of your great comments. It is quite fascinating how different writers write – I mean we’re already an odd breed of people.
My writer’s group discussed the puzzle and the snowflake last night, and someone said, “No one cares what method you use to create the novel. All that matters is the final manuscript.” And that’s absolutely correct.
Anyway, I’m leaving a day early before being on faculty with Randy at a writer’s conference (we’ll both be there Thursday). We’ll get to chat about this in person, and I’m looking forward to meeting some of you there as well. During the next few days we’ll finish up the last few steps of the Puzzle Method. But let me just say what a pleasure it’s been to be a guest blogger here.
Randy sez: I agree. The cinnamon rolls taste just as good, whether you planned it all out in advance or just flung it together. I’ll now yield the floor to Cindy for her next blog entry:
Hello, I’m your guest blogger, here to help those of you who start an outline and find yourself writing a great sentence, or launching into a scene two-thirds into the book, or creating a dialogue between characters that you don’t quite know yet. We’re calling it the Puzzle Method until a better title presents itself.
Step 4: STORY PIECES CONTINUED
* You get to return to the story fully now! With decisions made, the story and characters will guide the way. So continue writing in pieces, or sections – whatever part of writing works best for you. Always leave room for the story to surprise you. (Once I discovered a great new subplot near the end of the book and the deadline. I had to go back and weave it throughout the entire novel – but it added such tension! Be sure not to ignore these).
* IF you find yourself lost, read over your scenes and scene-pieces and find a place where the creativity flows. If inspiration doesn’t come, start at the beginning. Some days, work really is just that!
* DISCIPLINE HERE – Create daily work count or hour goals. At the start of a project, I might set a goal for 500 words a day or 2500 a week (for the first week or two). By the end of a project, it might be 3,000 words or more a day (that might also be because I’m behind and deadline is coming). Please remember, it’s exactly like starting an exercise program, you work up to it! And it’s better to meet your goal and surpass it, than continually fall short. So be realistic. My usual goal is 2,000 words when other projects and life aren’t at a competing stage with writing. Sometimes other things are more important. Set a 500 word a day or 2500 a week goal during such times and when at the start of a writing project.
* Put HEADINGS at the top of each scene or scene-portion or even an idea. Here are some examples from Orchid House:
MANALO WITH REBEL GROUP MUST GO TO MANILA (Idea)
–one of his men wants to watch Die Hard II, he’s a fan of Bruce Willis. Quotes Die Hard lines
FIRST NIGHT – EMMAN (Sentence with idea of what will happen)
From his place in the tree Emman dropped the yo-yo, let it “sleep,” then flicked his wrist to bring it back.
Emman on guard duty watching Hacienda Esperanza, plays with father’s yo-yo, and knows he’ll do a good job protecting the American woman who has just arrived. He’s angry at Bok who arrives because the younger, annoying tag-along was brave enough to greet the American woman, even touch her hands.
These headings will help you find them again, you know, when you rush out of the shower in your towel and want to add something to that scene with Emman.
* Put aside every bit of obsessive-compulsive disorder and make a writing mess in ONE document (I’ll let you use 3 at the most if you are very good – as in breaking it into three sections though this should actually come later on. But I know some of you super-organizers may not be able to go further if I don’t give some room here).
* REMEMBER THIS: trust yourself, trust the story being created, trust the twists and turns, trust the rabbit trails, and trust “What if?”
Oops, Randy might shut me down with these looong examples. I’ll try to simplify it tomorrow!
Randy sez: Nope, I don’t mind if you go a bit long. Thanks, Cindy! I need to go finish packing tonight because I’m flying out tomorrow. I’ll TRY to blog at the conference, but it can be tricky to do that, because it’s so much fun to be AT a conference that I forget to do my email and blog. Writers are the coolest people on the planet. That’s the real reason I love writing conferences.