Working Wednesday, April 1, 2020

I know it’s April Fool’s Day, but I think Fate just pulled the ultimate trick on all of us with the virus, so I’m ignoring that. It is the first day of April, so YAY SPRING. Also I just found out there’s something called Viking knitting which does not require knitting needles, so I will obviously be looking into that. Also something called nailbinding which sounds brutal and Nordic. Lucet I already knew about, but still. Evidently there was a lot of crafting between bouts of pillaging. And I may doodle some manuscript illuminations on a specials menu, just to see how that goes.

And in other news, because I’m now obsessing on visuals, I went looking for retro diner fonts that could be used both on as the font for the diner (signs and menu heads) and as a title font, and found this list:

https://www.myfonts.com/foundry/Font_Diner/

And then lost an hour playing with fonts, which is one of my favorite things to do. (See bottom of post for some possibilities.)

Now I have to find a name for the diner. Something that sounds like a diner name but has some kind of meaning which is going to be hard because I have no idea what this story is really about. I just want the sign and the font for the visuals. And because I love playing with fonts, okay? It’s still work if I enjoy it.

So what are you working on now?

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Visual Stuff

When I wrote with Bob, he used to make me walk the terrain. We’d go to wherever the book was set and talk the story through while we walked around. The one I remember best was in the Carolinas, a big white house on a river, because I was saying things like, “Okay the gazebo for the wedding is over here, and there’ll be furniture on the front porch, maybe a swing, for that scene when the bridge goes in . . .” and Bob was saying things like “The bad guys will dock here and the scuba divers will attack the wedding from here . . .” (No, there was no scuba attack; Bob had a learning curve in writing romantic comedy, aka, nobody we like dies.). I dutifully tramped around after him through the Southern low country for Agnes and we spent one memorable October evening at an amusement park in Pennsylvania where people had chain saws for Wild Ride, but I finally had to admit that it was all worth it because he was right: walking the terrain helps a lot. (This may be why I do so many scenes in diners. I can sit the terrain.)

My version of walking the terrain is collage. Continue reading

Visual Discovery Drafting

Krissie and Toni and I talked about the future and the Monday Street books last weekend, and that sent me back to the VooDooPad wiki we’d set up for the entire world of that series.  I hadn’t been back there for three years, so a lot of it was out of date, including the diagrams.  And since in my story, Cat lives in the church, I went back in and redid the church diagram I’d done to show Toni the layout since her Keely was going to be moving through the different levels, too.   And just like that, I was back in the story and I remembered how important those visuals are to me.

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Book Done Yet?: Pick a Lane

Note: This weekly post is to keep me honest about working on the WiP. It’s going to be mostly me figuring things out and therefore probably not very interesting. Feel free to skip as I free-associate myself through to enlightenment.

So as part of my New Efficient Approach to Life (wait for the implosion, it should be here any minute), I am determined to pick one WIP and FINISH the damn thing. Which means I have to analyze what I have and see what I really want to write. (Okay, what I really want to write right now is my version of Lucifer but I know nothing about LA or the nightclub business, and the last thing I need is an eighth book in progress, so back to the WiPs). Below is my analysis of the seven manuscripts I have in progress, in no particular order. It’s pretty much a three part analysis: Do I have story? (protagonist/goal/antagonist/goal); How much do I have done? (word count); How do I feel about this book? (what do I love/what’s keeping me from working on it?). Continue reading

The Monday Street Collage: More Progress

Since I posted the beginning of the collage, I thought you might like to see the progress. Actually, I thought, “I need a blog post and I have a picture of the collage,” but seeing the progress is also a factor. Again, this is just visual note-taking to keep me in the book; nothing here is set in stone, it can all change, but the stuff that happens in my brain while I’m doing this is so valuable that I don’t care how much stuff I rip off and move around or how messy it is. Not an artwork, a visual notebook. And here’s where I am now . . . Continue reading

The Birth of a Collage

So Saturday night, I’ve been thinking about the story, and I feel the need to collage. I need to see the church and the tavern and the street, I need to get the tone and mood of the story down. It’s slippery. I want a fun world but not a farce. I want darkness but not dystopia and dread. I need a visual. So I take a nap and dream about building this collage and when I wake up, I haul all my boxes and bags that should be labeled “Wood Crap” out and start going through them. At 6AM, I have the major part of the collage built, just need the base and the back board and a lot of spray paint. I go to bed, get a solid six house of sleep, get up and make the base (a lousy job, but it’s collage not part of my house, so no worries) and the backing board (I love the way the first coat of spray paint mottles on wood, just like a night sky) and then put it all together, badly because I’m thinking about the story, not about what I’m building. By Sunday at five, I have the base structure of the collage built. After this, it’s paint and paper and found objects stuck on as I tell the story to myself and write it down, an ongoing visual notebook. It’ll take months to finish this and the story, but for right now, I have the start of my collage and the start of my book. Here’s the step by step version. Please ignore the mess that is my house and front walk. Thank you.

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Collaging Character

We’re talking about collage this week in the McD class, and one of the hardest things to get across is that collage is not illustration. While it’s perfectly fine to google for specific things in your story, what you’re really looking for is the look and feel of the narrative, and nowhere is that more important than in the characters.

It’s tempting to just pick one face to represent your character and leave it at that, but I’ve found that it’s too limiting, especially if you’re using an actor in a particular role. At that point, you’re really just using somebody else’s character, so I’ve found it’s easier to visualize my people if I choose multiple faces to represent them. For example, here’s Tennyson from “Cold Hearts:” Continue reading

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. Continue reading