Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Forays In Fiction: Hanging in There


Sorta. About like this baby kitteh.

This is the promised weekly report on how I've maintained my commitment to continue working with my NaNo novel, Mobile Hopes.

The essence of the report is that I've continued to 'handle' the novel's files--the WhizFolder for Mobile Hopes. Mostly the research and notes sections. Primarily dumping in and rearranging and organizing links to relevant materials online. One of the pressing goals at the end of NaNo was to clean up the mess I made of the files because that was the principle factor in my shying away from the last three NaNo novels after their Novembers were over. As I reported before, I got the story scenes and character topics organized the first week.

Then I got sick, and there were family Holiday events followed by a major room reorganization this Wednesday. I did manage to stay in nearly daily contact with the files. But haven't worked with the story elements since the end of NaNo.

I have continued to think about them and daydream them which means the story is staying alive for me.

Here is a question to ponder. Why is it that every time I find words, phrases, dialog worth writing down streaming through my mind I am nowhere near the implements for getting it down? I'm at the dinner table or washing dishes; I'm standing on the bed with twitching thigh muscles, lifting down a box of books off a high shelf, sweat dripping in my eyes; I'm in the back seat of the car riding home from wherever after dark, and can't even access my booklight and notebook in my purse because there is no elbow room; I'm walking home from the library pulling a bag of books behind me; I'm busy sorting and finding new homes for a mountain of stuff on the bed with my laptop being near the bottom and powered off and all the paper notebooks and writing implements are also in separate boxes at the bottom of the pile since they were the first things that got moved from their old homes.

I've noticed this phenomenon often. I remember it was a frustrating part of every day when I worked in the pear packing sheds in the early eighties. I would get these brilliant thoughts and ideas, snippets of dialog etc while completely unfree to record them and they would flee the minute the machines shut down at break time or end of workday. Unless I put some effort into memorizing a few of the best.

This is what I did that mid-NaNo night when I was teetering on the edge of giving up and left the laptop in the wee hours to go out on the porch and bounce on my mini-tramp. While out there I was suddenly possessed by the voice of one of my characters and her words were pouring into my head. I didn't want to quit my tramp work and I didn't want to loose those lines so I began repeating several of them, attaching each to their own emotionally charged mental image. After thirty minutes I returned to my laptop workstation and spent the next three hours letting Gerta ramble.

That was the breakthrough that made continuing with and then winning NaNo possible. Gerta's ramble was so successful I applied that technique to some other characters. But, though word count was generated, the unique spark that was in Gerta's ramble never took over in any of the others. It might as well have been my own voice talking for and about them. Which is why I never posted any snippets of them as I did of Gerta.

Which leaves me wondering if there was something about that thirty minutes on the tramp. Was it just the break from sitting penned in front of the keyboard? Or was it the physical exertion? The motion? The rhythm? Or am I just grasping at magic straws with no more influence than rabbit's feet?

1 tell me a story:

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