“Dig this: The so-called “writing life” is basically sitting on your ass.”—Stephen King, from a recent Washington Post article.
Yup. That’s what I’m doing right now. Sitting. It is a gloriously beautiful autumn day out, and no doubt I’ll get dressed and go take a walk soon with Lucky, but right now I’m at the desk, struggling to put down words for a proposal. Which also explains why I’m blogging. I need a short break. Ah, procrastination! I love thee.
My take on writing a proposal? I don’t really have one. What I did last night is go through the few characters I am 80% certain I want in the story, and simply jotted down notes about them. Basic stuff: who are they, what do they want, blah, blah, blah. I only did that much because I’ve been having trouble developing the story. Sometimes characters and plot flow, sometimes not. What I’ve found really helpful, though, and what got me moving again, is my bubble game of free association. Basically, it looks like this:
The best thing is to just write and let the story unfold. Free association happens naturally—your mind builds all the connections you need if you can just let go long enough to put the words down and not be afraid of what comes out. Cut the critic. Just write.
Unfortunately, when my inner critic rears its ugly head, I have to free associate in other ways. So I do the above, with a big sheet of paper and a big fat pen. It’s a good way of freeing up my thoughts when I start thinking too much and freeze myself up in a story. I just plop a character or a theme or a problem in the middle and write down the first things that come to mind, connecting them with lines where I think there should be an association. I build connections. Sometimes it gives me inspiration. Sometimes not. But it is useful.
I did not always need to do this, but methods evolve.
I listened to this mix while writing my latest novella, which is about a demon hunter. Kind of. I should probably put together a new mix for my next Dirk & Steele. Can anyone recommend some good fiddlers? Ashly MacIssac springs to mind, but no one else.