I've often been asked how I approach my storyline for my *Secrets Beyond Scymaria* series ... they wonder if there is an outline or notes of some sort that I draw from whilst I write. Honestly, until the first couple people asked this, I hadn't thought much about it.
I've tried all sorts of things, from a formal outline to simple notes. What I've found that works for me -- only because I have an outrageously poor memory -- is to have a notebook of the important things, such as characters' names, relationships to one another, description of their physical appearances and their quirks.
Some people use note cards. I use Celtx, which I know is antiquated -- everyone touts Scrivener. I did try it -- even paid for the app, but it was too time consuming to figure out. Since I was so far into my series it made no sense for me to try to transfer all the info from one program to another. It is a wee bit of a nuisance to go from one computer (my dinosaur, as I call it) to my newer laptop to keep track of who's doing what. Aside from that, it works perfectly fine for my needs. Otherwise, I'm what you call a seat-of-the-pants writer (or Panster).
"My" ideas are not totally mine alone -- I proudly confess, I write with inspiration from God. I can't explain it any other way. I might have a terrific idea and try to write it into the story, but my characters (aka God) have other ideas.
For example, when I first started out with this idea for the story -- *way* back in 1999, I figured my characters should be about eight or nine. Perfect age for adventures, right? All the storytelling and short stories I had done revolved around kids this age, or younger. Perfect. So dialog, and mannerisms were all written around this age concept.
I managed to write quite a few chapters, but all of a sudden, my characters were rebelling in what they were doing and how they were acting -- much more middle school than elementary school antics. I'd try to rewrite it back to the age-appropriate mannerisms and somehow the story would shift again.
It was then I realised I was not in control. It took me quite a while to rewrite the story to fit their new age. Once that was done, I continued writing -- with *my* ideas -- and the characters and I would keep butting heads. I wanted them to do something, but they would do something else. I'd rewrite (or try to loop it back) to what I wanted and they would mess with me again. It was like a game -- a game I kept losing.
Finally, I admitted defeat and allowed my characters to do what they needed to do to progress in the story.
Words finally flowed freely. It was wonderful. Sometimes, I'd be writing till 2-3 in the morning, then sleep in till the need to write hit again. Sometimes it would be several days before inspiration hit again. Occasionally, I try to interject my ideas. Most of the time, they say no. I've learned to acquiesce. There's no other way.
Right now, I'm working on (anguishing over) book four. It should have been done by the Spring of 2016. Here it is, Fall, 2016 and it's not done yet. I have a beginning ... and an end. And a gaping hole in between. I've not been feeling well, finally had surgery and am still in recovery mode and it's driving me crazy. I've had no desire to write, unable to focus on much of anything in my life. Would you call this writer's block? I've never experienced it in the past -- never ... so I think I'd say no. I've sat down and tried to force myself to write (even my weekly blog has been a challenge--the desire and focus isn't there) ... and realised that isn't going to cut it ... at least for me. I think it's more a result of the surgery and, thank God, the fog I've had is finally starting to clear. I found myself writing in a notebook I've been carrying for a while. And the story began pouring be out. It's a delight to have my characters back in my head, arguing over how I'm to tell the story.
I must admit -- I'm not sure how this current bit I've written will ultimately fit within that gaping hole in book four. It may be a whole new adventure for book five. Only time will tell.
At least I'm writing again. Thank God!
Book three, The Scymarian, is available for ereaders for $0.99 during our Hallowe'en Treats promotion. And check out previous blogs for other treats.