Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Back on track. Sort of.

So life intruded and I fell off the schedule. Didn't take me long. To the five of you who read this blog, I apologize!

Ok. So Monday was Writing Tip day. (I missed Friday and Saturday of last week, too, but that'll just have to be missed until this week).

My writing tip for today is my most favorite part of the whole process and I carry it throughout the whole project. BRAINSTORMING! This is how I begin all of my books and it's the blueprint I use from start to finish.

Now yes, it tends to be a bit messy, but I pull from my brainstorm list and use it to make outlines and what I call the Next Time Notes, but more on that later. My brainstorm list has every little thought I ever conceived of for the book. There's no order to the list at all, just a massive compilation of thoughts and ideas.

Then, when I start to see how the structure will form, I make a general outline and pull from the brainstorm list, which is often several pages long. Then, as I write, I cross items off both my outline and the brainstorm list so I know what's been covered and what still needs to go in.

I think one of the reasons I like brainstorming so much is because at that point, the story is still perfect. It's this fantastic idea that has the potential to become something wonderful. I read somewhere that the finished product is never quite as perfect as we envision it, and that is so true for me, but I do the best I can and then let it go. It is what it is.

For each book I write, I have a notebook I keep with tabs for each section. Some of my sections include brainstorming, chapter outlines, general outline, research, running edit, and ICAs, (Individual Character Assessments). And although it's the most jumbled and formless, I like looking back over the brainstorming section because it's fun to see how an idea popped out of chaos and morphed into something organized. My notebooks become fun journals that I revisit every now and then.

Now then, Tuesday's post is supposed to be a Book I Enjoy. For today's book, I choose Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. Ah, the quintessential romantic book, I absolutely love the story and brooding hero. It's my favorite formula: governess and moody lord of the manor who is in desperate need of her healing hand. I like the way the mystery unfolds, layer by spooky layer, and the relationship evolves slowly and beautifully. The happy ending leaves me in such a good place that I invariable close the book with a sigh. Admittedly, I haven't read it for about 20 years, and now it makes me wonder if my perspective has changed at all. (For exampe, I read The Scarlet Letter in high school and was pretty irritated. I read it later at 30 and was absolutely OUTRAGED). Jane Eyre is on my local bookclub list to read, so I'll let you know if I have some weird issues with it now that I'm so much older and wiser.

At any rate, any particular thoughts on brainstorming or Jane Eyre would be welcome! What do you think?


Nicole's crazy Blog said...

I love Jane Eyre. I too reread it with my bookclub in UT after a long time had passed from my first reading and I loved it even more than the first time. I saw so much more in the characters, the plot, themes, and writing. There is a new masterpiece Theater version of the movie out that I caught on PBS too. The best rendition of the book ever! You can rent it on Netflix...but wait until after you read the book again!

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Thanks Nicole! I was just wondering which movie was the best. Amazon lists several. I'm glad you mentioned this one. I'll read the book again and then watch the movie.

Amy said...

Well, I just have to say thank you for your direction. I really appreciate your words on this blog. It has helped me with my writting! Thanks so much! I am with you on the Scarlett Letter book. I haven't ever read it again and with your review, will never read it again! I love to brainstorm, I sometimes think my whole life is a brainstorm, one day I will get it all organized and writen out so others can understand...

Nancy Campbell Allen said...

Amy, you should read the Scarlet Letter again, just to see what you think! I was amazed.

I'm so glad you're writing! That's half the battle. Maybe more than half.