The Three-Goddesses Chat: Book Collages

This is the sixth in a series of Three Goddess Chats, brought to you by Krissie (aka Anne Stuart and Kristina Douglas), Lucy (Lucy March aka Lani Diane Rich), and Jenny (Jenny Crusie), who meet in a chat-room called ThreeGoddesses to talk about everything. Most writers have discovery methods, techniques they use to brainstorm their stories and keep them in the world of the book. The Three Goddesses favor soundtracks and collage, and today’s topic is collage. (Click on the images to see them full size.)

Jenny: Collage is basically cutting and pasting your notes for the book in picture form. It’s a way to get past words, which we’re already using a lot of to write the book, and go to images and objects that evoke the tone and spirit of the book, the same way soundtracks do. In fact, collages with soundtracks can be lifesavers for novelists.

Lani: I’d never heard of collaging for books until Jenny talked about it. Jenny, when did you start collaging for your books?

Jenny: The first book collage was a fairly simple one for Bet Me, but that was after the book was done.

Lani: Why did you do it after it was done?

Jenny: I collaged for the copy edit which was a huge help in balancing all the stuff that was in there. I’d been looking at those words for so long I couldn’t see them any more (another reason you always need an editor) but doing the book in pictures helped me see the things I intuitively made bigger or smaller in the context of the story.

Lani: What made you think of collaging?

Jenny: I have no idea. I had a shadow box and I just started sticking things in it, trying to see the book. What was the first one you did?

Krissie: When I was about twenty I did a scrapbook of pictures that were evocative to me. Mixed words with photos and stuff. So that was what I thought of when I did my first book collage. I had this historical and I was having trouble getting into it so I cut out photos that made me think of the book. but it was much too literal. It ended up just pasting pretty pictures on poster board.

Jenny: Sometimes literal is good. Helps you remember what things look like in the story.

Krissie: But then I went to a seminar Jill Barnett did, and she used words as well. Which made a huge difference. My collages will be examples of collages that didn’t work, which I think is interesting.

Jenny: Well, your books work so your collages must.

Krissie: I did love the stuff we did for Fairy Tale Lies.

Jenny: I love your collages for Fairy Tale Lies:

Krissie: I think doing collages on scrapbook-size pages is easier for me.

Lani: For me, too. I struggle with the big posterboard.

Jenny: I’d never thought of it, but once I saw yours and Lani’s for Fairy Tale Lies, scrapbook pages seemed obvious. Although I need the big posterboard. But I think we collage for different effects. I need to see the book as a whole because I am not a good storyteller. You both seemed to be collaging for individual scenes, characters, details.

Lani: You said you need it for the big picture, which you lose. I need it for the smaller parts, like individual character collages, because I’m usually pulled way out to big picture, which is why I used scrapbook collage for A Little Night Magic:

Krissie: Jill Barnett uses those science project triptych boards. And the left side is the opening act, the middle is act two, and the right is the closing act. At least, that’s what I think she did.

Jenny: Alesia had a collage for a book in her Atlantis series that was just a box with about half a dozen things that were crucial to her story. It was simple and beautiful and all she had to do was look at it and go back to Atlantis.

Lani: My first collage was for The Fortune Quilt. I made what I call “The Magic Shelf.” Which sounds like I’m talking about boobs, but I’m not. I put up a shelf with a ribbon board, and put objects from the book on the shelf, and pictures and a map of the town on the ribbon board. It was really effective, and it’s how I found my way into collage. Worked way better than I thought it would; I was very skeptical at first about collage.

Jenny: That’s a good way to get started. Lots of flexibility, no craft time.

Krissie: Collage has yet to give me anything, but I’m less visual than you two. It’s fun to cut out pictures and it’s a good excuse to buy magazines but I haven’t made a connection. Except with Fairy Tale Lies. I think I have trouble claiming collage.

Lani: What I find from teaching my Discovery classes is that it’s the students who are skeptical about something – either collage or soundtrack – who end up getting the most out of it. Something about forcing yourself past a barrier that breaks things open, I think.

Jenny: I think when you’re afraid of a process, it’s because you subconsciously know its power. And visuals have a lot of power. They can really change a book.

Lani: Yeah, there’s something to pushing past that resistance.

Krissie: Maybe I hear mean art teachers in my head. It seems more like an assignment.

Jenny: Krissie, it may be because the story is so complete in your head that you don’t need collage. You really are a born storyteller. I’m not, so I really need collage. Detailed collage.

Krissie: No, my story isn’t complete, but it tends to evolve organically. It just flows. I like the idea of Alesia’s.

Lani: You did really great with Fairy Tale Lies, Krissie. And you seemed to get a lot out of it.

Jenny: Yeah, you had fun with the FTL collage. You loved that intricate carriage sticker you got. And your pages were wonderful.

Krissie: Yes, I did.

Jenny: There was distinct vibe to the pages you did. The same with Lani’s ALNM pages. I think if you pinned all those pages to the wall, you’d have that big collage you’re afraid of.

Lani: I find that I need different things for different books. The scrapbook pages worked wonders for A Little Night Magic; I had a lot of fun with that. Plus, I love going to the paper aisle in the hobby store and just picking out what speaks to me about the book. So for me, sometimes I do it digitally, sometimes with a shelf and a ribbon board, sometimes with a full posterboard. It just kind of depends on the book. Same way my process will vary, so will the collage.

Jenny: Exactly. Whatever works visually to put you into the book.

Krissie: I met someone in NY (at Lani’s old chapter) who did scrapbook collages and then reduced them on her color copier so she could carry them around in a purse-sized notebook. For inspiration.

Jenny: Love that idea.

Lani: I used a digital collage for ALNM as my computer desktop for a while. There’s something about taking that time to focus on the book in a different way that works, too.

Krissie: I need to pull photos and pictures into Scrivener. I know it’s possible. That would be a start. I do have corkboard with evocative photos on it.

Lani: Scrivener’s great for that; and there are a number of places online where you can gather pictures together and the like. You can stretch the idea of “collage” until it’s something that works for you. Not everyone is the glue-and-ribbons type.

Jenny: I did both a digital and a cut-and-paste collage for MTT, and I loved the digital collage, it was beautiful, but it did absolutely nothing for me for the book.

Jenny: The cut and paste one, though, was exactly right, a huge help.

Krissie: Well, you’re an actual hands-on artist.

Jenny: I think the big thing is thinking in images and objects instead of in words. We associate words with work, so cut and paste is play.

Lani: Collage can be as simple as a corkboard. I find that I need it to get a visual sense of the world, which is usually where I’m lacking. It opens up a different layer of your creativity.

Jenny: I think a small corkboard may be the best way to get into collage. Just pin the stuff up. Or use Pinterest if you’re more digitally minded.

Krissie: I do like the corkboard. It’s less threatening. I think I have issues.

Jenny: LOL. Another set of issues. Hey, without our issues, we would not have become writers.

Krissie: So true.

Lani: You judge yourself too much, Krissie. Whatever works, do that, and don’t worry about how other people do it.

Krissie: Do I? maybe.

Jenny: Yes, you do.

Krissie: I think I want to get it right because I’m always looking for community. I want to share it.

Jenny: For me, it’s the world of the book. I can’t grasp the big picture without the collage, especially since I’m not a visual writer. Bob used to say that he couldn’t see the details, so he did spreadsheets, and I couldn’t see the big picture so I did collages like the one for Wild Ride that pulled all the little details I was obsessed with into one big whole. I’m wondering if people who need help on the details do scrapbook collages instead of big ones.

Lani: I find that soundtrack helps me connect with emotions and relationships, and collage helps me connect with a visual sense of the world. The style, the aesthetic.

Jenny: I agree. The two together give me a complete non-verbal picture of the story. I also find that collaging can help me see what I’m blind to in the text. I did this huge elaborate collage for You Again about eight years ago. Beautiful thing. The book was going nowhere.

Jenny When I went back to it last month, I took a good look at it and realized the heroine wasn’t front and center. I’d been all caught up in doing an Agatha Christie homage instead of starting where I always start, with the heroine. Once I made myself think about the heroine and paste her in the middle of the collage, everything else fell into place. It’s using different brain paths.

Krissie: I don’t know if I’m bad on the details. I’ll forget someone’s eye color, of course.

Lani: It helps me find things I didn’t know I was looking for. Flipping through magazines, or going through the paper crafts aisle and picking out the, “Yes!” helps me find what works. There’s that element of, “Oh, hi!” from flipping through things that might bring surprises that really helps me the most, because it’s stumbling across the stuff I didn’t know to look for. And then I realize, “Hey, that’s the book!”

Jenny: Right. That “I need that” reaction. I saw a picture of a couch in an art magazine and tore it out for Maybe This Time, not knowing what it was about. Then it turned out to be Dennis’s couch, which is a major plot point. Trust the instinct.

Lani: It also gets me away from the blank page, see things from a different angle. It helps open everything up for me.

Krissie: What do you think of when you collage? Do you decide to do someone’s house? Or work on a character? I just pasted up pictures that made me think of the book. I’ve seen Barbara Samuel’s collages and you always know exactly what book they come from. Don’t know if she still does them.

Jenny: Krissie, the collage for You Again is a house because it’s a House Book. A bunch of people trapped in an old house and a murder takes place . . . they never get out of the house.

Krissie: I love your 3D collages. Maybe that would help me, trying 3D.

Lani: I’ve always wanted to do a map collage; a collage with a map of the town for the background. Still haven’t done that, but I want to. One of these books…
Jenny does an amazing amount of construction. I loved the one she did for Dogs & Goddesses. I don’t have that kind of dedication. Or patience.

Jenny: Oh, the step temple.

Jenny:Yeah. I get manic. Well, hypomanic here. OTOH, that’s how the books get written, manic stage, so the mania of the collages is just part of that. Three-D is fun for me because it gives me another dimension for emphasis. What’s closer? What’s background? But I’m kind of obsessive about collages, so don’t go by that.

Krissie: Yup. We need that obsessive, driven state of mind to get the books done. It’s hard to be a writer and be mentally balanced. It’s an unbalanced profession. I guess one needs to look for balance in the rest of one’s life.

Jenny: I know the next half dozen books I’m going to be doing, so as I find stuff that chimes for that book, I put it in a box. And then at some point I make the foam core background and keep that around, too. So I have barely started collage boards for Fairy Tale Lies, for Stealing Nadine and Haunting Alice, for Rosie and Clare, and for the next three Liz books. Another reason why my office is so damn cluttered. Stinking collages.

Krissie: Are Rosie and Clare the writers?

Jenny: Right. The epistolary novel with Gaffney. So for Liz, I have four board backgrounds done all at the same time with the same pattern but in different colors, to symbolize the books and how Liz’s world changes. But this time I glued her smack in the middle on all of them. I do finally learn.

Krissie: That makes a lot of sense. My pictures are just random. I need to grab my placeholder and plop him and her in the middle and work my way out from that

Jenny: I think putting the protag in the middle takes care of a lot of things. The protag in the middle says “Everything else comes from this” and you arrange the rest of your story around her/him. Helps keep your focus.

Krissie: I think I’ll collage my Spanish book.

Jenny: Oooh, Spanish images will be so vivid. Did we lose Lani?

Lani: I’m here! Just fiddling in Pandora still.

Jenny: So music is much more your thing than collage (g)? I always feel as though I’m forcing collage on you two. “No, really, VISUALS.” And you just want to listen to music.

Lani: I’ve always worked better with soundtrack than collage, but I think I need collage more, so I make myself do it. I always enjoy it when I’m in it, but it doesn’t come as naturally to me.

Krissie: I think it’s a good thing to open myself up to. It taps other parts of my brain. I like it. I really like the very obvious idea of putting my place holder in the center.

Lani: I teach collage because I think it’s really important. I just understand all the people who say, “Oh, god, I’m gonna suck at this.”

Jenny: And I have to push myself to music. That’s interesting.

Krissie: You do? Have to push yourself to music?

Lani: I think people naturally gravitate one way or the other. Pushing yourself on the one you’re not as natural with helps a lot.

Jenny: I think that’s the bad-art-teacher effect. “I have no talent, I’m no artist.” Yet people who aren’t musicians choose music and assemble mix tapes and playlists which is just music collage.

Krissie: Well, I’m basically a music person. I play instruments, I used to sing, I spent my life going to concerts and working to support that habit. I’m an aural person.

Jenny: I’m visual. The way stuff looks is crucial to me. My first degree was in art.

Lani: I’m neither a musician nor an artist, but I respond to the emotion in music more than the visual side of things.

Krissie: Yes, mixtapes (and playlists) are music collage. I never thought of it that way.

Jenny: I can go for weeks without listening to music. I know, it’s sad.

Lani: No, it’s just you. Nothing wrong with being who you are.

Krissie: What about when you drive? That now my main place for music. Because I don’t like talking over music. I should use my iPod more when I’md doing dishes etc.

Jenny: If I remember my iPod, I listen, thanks to that thingy Krissie gave me that plugs it into the stereo.

Krissie: Get satelllie radio. No, don’t. It’s expensive (unless your car is already equipped).

Jenny: It was funny, I updated my iPod and somehow lost all my playlists and ended up listening to songs in alphabetical order. It was remarkably energizing.

Krissie: Get a new ipod, fill it and keep it in the car.

Jenny: It’s so old that it wouldn’t hold my entire catalog and when I tried to update it to put my playlists on, things went wonky.

Lani: Just don’t start the car with the iPod connected to the power. I can kill it.

Krissie: Really? Good to know.

Lani: These are the things you learn while working at the Apple store. 🙂

Jenny: Oh. I’ve always done that. I think my old iPod is so low tech, it doesn’t even notice the car. So COLLAGE.

Krissie: Okay, back to collage.

Jenny: This is really my thing, isn’t it? I dragged you into this.

Krissie: No, no. You didn’t get me started. Barbara and Jill did.

Jenny: I meant I dragged you into this chat. I’m torn between “follow your instincts and if you don’t want to do it, don’t” and “if you’re resisting it that much, you really should do it.”

Lani: No, it’s good. I think we’re all on the spectrum. You’re a natural with collage, and you make beautiful ones.

Krissie: I love the idea. It’s kind of like trying to have an orgasm (you knew I’d bring sex in, didn’t you?)

Jenny: Paper orgasms.

Krissie: You’d have paper orgasms, Crusie. I most definitely have music orgasms. TMI.

Lani: I’m a little resistant, but I push past it, and am a collage proselytizer. I make my students do collage, and the ones who resist the most get the most out of it, so I usually encourage people to try, especially if they think they’re going to hate it.

Krissie: I keep trying too hard and it’s always just out of reach. I’m someone who’d really ought to do it.

Jenny: So the next time you’re here, Krissie, we work on Fairy Tale Lies and collage again? Or are you guys finished with the collage work on that?

Krissie: Oh, hell no. I’ve got lots more collage work to do on it.

Lani: I can collage again. I need to revisit the material.

Krissie: Uh, is mine here? Or do you guys have it?

Lani: I have it, I think.

Jenny: I don’t. But I have pictures of your pages.

Krissie: Because god knows where it is. But I’m cleaning, I’m cleaning. The bedroom first. I’m making progress.

Lani: Wait a minute…

Krissie: It’ll turn up. It’s in a scrapbook, right?

Jenny: Ah. The big one I started is upstairs, but I don’t know where the scrapbook pages went. Oh, and I set up a Fairy Tale Lies wiki. Did you get the link? No idea if it’s going to be any help or not, but now you have everything on it that I had. I can put pictures of the collages in there so you can see them any time.

Krissie: I hate to tell you but I’m gonna collage tonight. It’s calling me.

Jenny: YAY! Krissie collages! That makes me happy.

Krissie: The Wiki looked incredibly cool. I wish my books were laid out like that. With that kind of outline I could sail through it. Or so it seems.

Jenny: You could probably collage an outline. You can definitely collage acts, I did that for an old version of You Again.

Lani: I have my pages, but not Krissie’s. I thought Krissie took her pages home with her?

Krissie: Yes, I probably did. I’m cleaning — they’ll turn up. I just haven’t seen them.

Jenny: I thought she did, too, but I can’t remember. Worse comes to worse, we collage again.

Krissie: And maybe discover something new. That happens when I occasionally lose pages. I rewrite and something even richer comes up. I loved those pages but maybe they were a rough draft.

Jenny: Exactly. Because we’re different people now than we were then. I’m really seeing that with the You Again collage, changing a lot of things, adding a lot of new stuff. Whereas Liz’s collage? Pretty much finished. Just put down the glue and finish the book, Crusie.

Lani: I have to collage again, anyway. It’s been a long time, and I need to reconnect with the material.

Jenny: I learn so much when I’m collaging. There’s so much discovery in the process.

Lani: There really is. It’s a great way to build up the energy to write.

Jenny: The bottom line for me is that I need both collage and soundtrack to nail the book for me outside the written word because I get so bogged down in words, editing and rewriting and trying to find the story, but with sound and pictures, it’s easy. It makes it play again.

Krissie: So Collage R Us.

Jenny: Collage R definitely us.

Krissie: I may want foamcore board. Or scrapbook pages. Who knows.

Jenny: You should live closer, I have a cabinet of foam core. I buy in bulk.

Lani: It’s great to be able to throw yourself into something creative, too. Gets those juices flowing.

Krissie: Yup. I’ll just play.

Jenny: That’s the key. Just think about your story and play, go by instinct. It’s all about instinct. And glue.

Lucy March’s A Little Night Magic will be out from St. Martin’s Press on January 31, 2012.

Kristina Douglas’s Raziel and Demon are out now;Warrior will be out in April 2012.

Jenny Crusie’s You Again and Lavender’s Blue will be out from St. Martin’s Press a year after she finishes them; when is anybody’s guess.

23 thoughts on “The Three-Goddesses Chat: Book Collages

  1. Thank you all so much. I love seeing the collages, and reading your thoughts. The fall after the Cherry Con my Nano group was looking for an idea to have a kick-off party, and I suggested a Collage-o-rama. The group really enjoyed it, and it became a tradition.

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  2. Great ideas! I’ve never used collage, and it never occurred to me to use scrapbook pages, but after seeing your examples, I can totally see doing this. And to whomever included pictures of Javier Bardem… thank you. 🙂

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  3. I always collage. Thanks to you, Jenny. I love it and couldn’t think of writing a story without one. Of course mine look like kindergarten cut and paste projects compared to your graduate level stuff. ; )

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  4. Since I didn’t put much emphasis yet on neither collage nor soundtrack (I just collect a couple of pictures to see what my main characters look like, and I know whether they are more Metallica or more Michael Bolton, but that’s usually it), I just glanced over your chats. But I got stuck when I saw Jenny describing herself as not being a storyteller.

    Now I just realized a few days ago that my writing had hit a snag because I wasn’t telling stories anymore, I was lost in conflict and plot and construction topics. After I found that out, I could return to writing, and I managed to turn out quite a few pages since then. But now my question is: if you’re not a storyteller, what are you? I’m always amazed by your story, it’s smart and tight and logical and funny and understandable (things I sometimes miss with other writers) – so how does that come about if you’re not a storyteller from the beginning?

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    1. Rewrites.

      If you’re a storyteller, you still rewrite, but it takes you much less time to put the truck draft on the page because you need to tell this story you have. I have ideas and characters but no sense of story. So I start out writing stuff I hear in my head and I keep going until I have enough that’s it’s going to be a book but there’s no story there, just people talking to each other, so I stop and figure out the conflict box and find an antagonist and then go back and rewrite what I’ve got and then I’ve got the kernal of story but I’ve lost the push of the first writing when I was just writing what I wanted (which wasn’t story and wasn’t publishable). Then I have to recapture what it was that drew me to the story because the analysis has thrown me out of all that flow, and that changes the story again and I write until I realize I’m hopelessly lost, and I have to stop and re-analyze because otherwise I’m going to go completely off the rails (which is how the first pass at You Again was rejected: completely disorganized story). And this goes on and on and on, maybe for two years.

      Krissie, on the other hand, knows story in her bones, so she sits down and writes the story. Then she revises. Then she’s done. She never has to find her story because it comes to her as story, as a whole thing. She still has to work hard to shape it, she’s an extremely hard worker, but she starts with what I spend a year trying to find. Which is why some day, I’ll quit writing fiction when it just gets too damn hard, but Krissie will be writing from the grave. She can’t stop, it’s what she was born to do.

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      1. Thanks for explaining this in so much detail. Sounds complicated, but I guess I understand what you mean. And I suppose I’m a storyteller then, because I think I could never walk that long and winding road without knowing the map in my head.

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  5. Collage College. With Jenny and Lani as faculty and Krissie as visiting. Professor.

    I like to collage things that I like. I’ve been doing it since high school – mainly beacuse I didn’t like posters as they were, so my favourite famous people were cut out of magazines and stuck on one large piece of board.

    Right now, my collages are things that I’d like to do and see (and maybe even be) and bits cut from home decor mags with rooms that I’d love to have in my house one day.

    In recent years I’ve adapted them to my diaries. I get an A5 diary, cover it with paper of a colour that appeals to me and the stick a few pictures on front and back of places I want to go to. Still not sure what to do for this year. Cover it with last year’s calendar pic of the Colosseum – which I’d love to see for real one day. Or 3 or 4 pics of various destinations. I like bright but serene beach scenes to contrast with night views of a city. So am not sure at all.

    P.s. The hovering share box is gone. Thanks.

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  6. And thanks for explaining the whole story teller thing. It sounds like you write to give the voices in your head a platform. I should do that 😉

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  7. GGW Jenny that comment you wrote makes me feel so much better about my writing. I write exactly like that. I have characters and relationships in my head and I write lots of dialog naturally. The story has to be dragged out of me like when they used to pull wisdom teeth with pliers.
    Glad it’s not just me.
    My end result is never half as good as yours, though.

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  8. I’ve been one of those resistant to collages — for no better reason than laziness, I think, so your talk convinced me I have to actually try one. This was another great chat — though I have to admit, I hit the collage with the images of Richard Armitage and my brain just sort of froze for a while. I’m pretty sure that if I made a collage with Armitage in his glory, I’d be happy but I’m not sure I’d be inspired to fantasize on the page, exactly.

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  9. Thank you, guys, that was eye-opening.

    Jenny, isn’t Lavender’s Blue a mystery? I know collages are personal and for the creator only, but that said, I’m not seeing any peril or mystery. Maybe the askew car and the black flower? I see characters, community, a wedding, potential relationships, beauty queen, symbolic bears and food. I get the impression something is going on beneath the surface, but I would not guess a murder mystery. Am I completely off base on genre? I’m only trying to be helpful, because I know you are struggling with this book.

    If my comment isn’t helpful, please just disregard. The creativity here is so inspiring. I really appreciate the spirit of sharing.

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    1. The murder happens halfway through the book, so this is the world of the book. But you’re right, it’s not about the murder, which it would be if the book opened with a body. It’s about this community imploding from its secrets. And halfway through, the implosion takes out one of the characters.

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  10. Can I say that I’m sitting here with my jaw on the floor? It completely explains some of the things floating around in my head. I’ve had characters (and their relationships with each other) for a story in my head along with setting for the longest time but I’ve been resistant to putting them down on paper. I always laugh and say “I’m going to write a book someday” but it’s never felt like it was time if that makes any sense at all (like the story’s not “cooked” enough to take out of the oven). Now I know it’s because I’m a little unsure where they are going– I don’t really have a plot. I take that back– I have a plot but I’m not sure enough on it yet to definitively say where it’s going. That makes me crazy. I need to know where it’s going! Am I being a total control freak over this? Actually, I think it’s just time to start writing and seeing where it all goes…

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  11. I especially like how collage teaches you to listen to your gut. Trust your instincts. See what makes you say “Yes!” and go with it. I find that after a collaging session, that spirit carries over into my writing, and living.

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  12. Such a simple thing: put your protagonist in the middle. But it was like a little blossom of enlightenment . . . going to try it, and maybe a little collage, too.

    As for the soundtracks, I love music, but when I write, I can’t stand to have it on. During my first NaNo, I had a completely unrelated Fleetwood Mac song running in my head and couldn’t turn it off. No other songs really surfaced, and I just can’t imagine making a soundtrack . . . well, maybe a couple of bicycle songs for my second NaNo, which I am procrastinating about right now. What Lani says strikes me, too. I think I’ll try and figure out a playlist, and then just keep adding to it as the muse strikes.

    I really love hearing the difference between a storyteller and a . . . purveyor of details? I have great snippets, and I always thought I was more suited for the economically disastrous short-story market, but over the years of listening in here, I’m starting to think I can do a novel — but it’s going to be a lot of work. Basically, I’ll take the month’s work of NaNo, redact it down to little cards, and write it again from scratch. This time, though, I’ll know pretty much where I’m going . . . . But my pinch-penny soul just hates “throwing out” all that work. (Yeah, yeah, I know, kill your darlings.)

    Thanks for these two chats, guys!

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  13. Jenny, at what stage do you start your collage? And do you build it as you write, adding in new stuff you discover in the writing or do you make it after the rough draft? I tend to do mine after the first act, but then I build the whole thing all at once and it never changes. I’m secretly thinking it might be good to build as I go.

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    1. Now I start them before I start the book. But I’ve started them late before, too. It really doesn’t matter, whenever feels right to you.

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  14. Thanks. I studied my latest one, and even though I now know the story better (rough draft is almost completed) there really isn’t any picture that doesn’t fit despite the story taking one unexpected diversion.

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  15. Love this discussion. I have a question about the Maybe This Time collage (the physical one, rather than the digital one). I see a head shot of Bob Newhart near the center top. Is that a visual for Dennis?

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