Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ideas and Plots

I think I've found a plot! It took doing a little more research and coming at the problem sideways. Instead of focusing on the specific subject area I'm dealing with, I thought of situations in history that were similar or parallel to what I'm doing and then thinking of ways that might compare to what I'm working with. The result was an idea that I now need to build on. Meanwhile, I've realized that I'm not as clear as I'd like to be about one of my main characters, so that will take some development time. I don't want to shortchange him just because I've kind of fallen for another of the main characters. This will be a day spent on the sofa with a notebook.

I think this is my favorite part of the writing process. It's storytelling in my head, when everything's possible and I haven't committed to anything. I can make up all kinds of scenarios and watch them play out mentally without having to find the words to describe them. This is the pure "making up stories" part of writing. The hard part comes in putting it into words and making those words interesting while making sure the story really works. In the dream/idea stage, it can be as random as I want, and I can skip the parts I don't know about yet. I think that's why there are a lot of people who say they have an idea for a book and who can even tell you about that idea in great detail and at great length (I get that a lot at conventions), but there are relatively few people who actually write and finish the book. That's also why writers tend to roll their eyes and laugh inwardly when people approach them and say they have a great idea for a book -- they'll tell the writer the idea, the writer will write it, and they'll split the money. Ideas are easy. They're everywhere. Even developing and playing with the idea is easy. Writing the book is the hard part.

Ballet starts again tonight. I took the summer session off since I was doing three days a week of physical therapy most of the summer. I've tried to keep up with the ballet exercises over the summer, so I hope I'm not in too much pain after tonight. They generally start over from the beginning in the first class of the session, just to get a sense of where everyone is. I'm still taking the beginner class because I like the teacher and the other students and because I'm pretty sure I'm not ready for the next level. I've had that teacher as a sub, and he and I kind of clash (I called him the Ballet Nazi). He really seems to pick on me, treating me like a student he sees potential in, so he's going to push hard to make me live up to that potential. But since I'm relatively new at ballet at my age, it's not like I'm going to go anywhere with it. I'm just doing this for fun, and putting on all that pressure makes it not fun. I still have to think too hard about what I'm doing at the beginning level to be able to move to the next level where you're expected to do things instinctively and remember complicated combinations. That class is mostly people who grew up taking ballet, not people who started as adults.

And then I have one more week before choir starts again. The next week, school starts. Not that it affects me, but even as an adult, there's a sense of fresh starts and new beginnings at back-to-school time. Plus, you can get great deals on school/office supplies. I need to re-stock on spiral notebooks and notebook paper.

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