Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Forays in Fiction: Tangled Yarns

Tangled Yarnz!1!  it b mai birfday?
moar funny pictures

Almost skipped doing Friday Forays at all this week because I'm waaaaaaaay behind in NaNo still and frustrated beyond words. Besides today was my birthday and I celebrated by doing loads of laundry including the bedding and breaking out our winter wear and running some of it through the wash and the rest through the dryer and then having to find new easy to get at homes for all that bulky stuff in this tiny room that is our bedroom, our entertainment center, our library and our offices.

I'm sure that doesn't sound like a normal birthday celebration but I needed to take advantage of Ed's folks being out of town for two days to have hours and hours of use of the machines and room to spread the mess into the living room--piles and piles of blankets, sweaters, sweats, jackets, coats, scarves, gloves, long-sleeved shirts, wool socks and long johns. Plus the fact is that I relish the chance to move about the house without the fear of colliding with other moving bodies or feeling my every move under observation or of leaving evidence of my passing through a room behind.

I also spent several short sessions and one nearly full hour on the mini-tramp which I was able to have indoors around the clock. And while on the tramp and while handling laundry I did a lot of musing about my story world and trying to talk myself down from the feeling that I've got a hopeless mess of tangled time-lines, story lines, plot lines, character arcs etc etc etc. Trying to forestall the urge to start fussing with the tangled mass of threads and picking at them and separating them out and making tidy little skeins. Oh, and the research too. Because if I go there, fretting with the minutia whether story threads or fact checking or organizing the WhizFolder files, I'm essentially abandoning NaNo. No way to get normal NaNo word count while doing any of that let alone the catchup quantity I now need. I'm at least a week behind as it is.

Then to add to my angst, Oprah interviewed Stephanie Meyer today and I learned that she began writing the Twilight saga in 2003 after one vivid dream that gave her the characters of Ed and Bella standing in a rain forest clearing. She wrote that scene, which is now in chapter 13 and then wrote to the end of the first novel, Twilight, and then came back and wrote from the beginning to that scene. She was a stay at home Mom with three pre-schoolers--5, 3 and 1. Six years later she has four books published and two movies.

I know it can be counter-productive to compare ourselves among ourselves. But I can't help wondering if I'm as dedicated to the proposition of being a storyteller as I've been claiming. The first of the stories now in my FOS story world was begun when I was in 9th grade in 1973. The story that established the story world and then enfolded most stores begun before and after was begun when I was in college in 1985.

One of the things that stood out in stark contrast between mine and Stephanie's work-habits is that she kept her story project a secret from all but a select few. Even her husband was out of the loop. Maybe I'm doing too much talking about writing (including right here in my Friday Forays) and talking about my stories instead of doing the writing work itself. And that's exactly what NaNo is supposed to give me. The time and place and right to write for as many hours of the day as I want for 30 straight days.

Another stark contrast (and somewhat related to the first) is that those few who knew were also her rough draft readers who, with a combination of encouragement with their eager demand for the next pages and their constructive suggestions when something wasn't working right, kept her confidence and determination unflagging. I don't have that.

And yet another contrast: I've lived those same six years without the hindrances Stephanie had--no kids, no household to run (and no outside job besides.) Based on the evidence of how I actually use my time, any observer would be justified in telling my stories and characters, 'Sorry, but she's just not that into you.'

One of the things I do have in common with Stephanie is that the seed of every one of my stories that went beyond one scene or 1000 words originated in a vivid dream. Sometimes that dream was a single haunting image and others were complex plotted stories. One of the things I've been doing for a couple years now is not recording those dreams when they occur because I felt so overwhelmed by all the WIP I already had going. I've been wondering for awhile now if that was a mistake. If that was as much as telling my muses to get lost?

Well, when I saw that picture on I immediately realized what I need to make it thru the last half of NaNo. I need to squelch the urge to tidy up the threads of my yarns and cultivate the attitude of the cat--the joy of playing among the tangled threads and dare I, can I say it? Toss the cat a few more skeins!

0 tell me a story:

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