Well. The delightful Anne Michaud (a fellow City of Hell contributor and all round Gothic beauty) invited me to join in with this blog hop and, as it was something I’ve never had opportunity to share before, I leapt at the chance.
In this here blog, therefore, I shall be giving a sneaking peek not only into the manic and somewhat disorganised method in my writing madness but also into the very stuff of my demented note-taking and idea wrangling. So I’ll be detailing a little about my writing methods and sprinkling in a dash of pictureriffic flair with various snaps of my notebooks and novel files. Exciting stuff!
I hope you have your pills, your handwriting interpreters and your smelling salts… this could get messy.
Chaos. That’s how everything starts. Pure anarchy. I’ll have a name, or names… perhaps a world or the bare beginnings of one. A framework if you will. Or I’ll have the same in the way of an idea.
Never anything concrete at this point. Nothing really specific. Just scraps. Those scraps will stay in my head, co-mingling with random mental effluence. Marinating in brain fluid as it were. Mixing with the various crud lazily floating my conscious and subconscious mind.
Then, perhaps, a couple of these marinating story protozoa will form tenuous connections. Bridges. Thin veins or umbilicus. They will begin to spark. To propagate. To breed. To produce word spawn.
At this point I’m scribbling words down. Sentences. Sometimes scraps of prose that come to me. The framework as it builds. Bones and bits of flesh… possibly some slabs of muscle here and there, a scrap of skin.
For this part, I use the multifarious notepads I have crawling around various hidey-holes in my bag, on my desk, stuffed into drawers. Basically wherever I can find one when the urge to germinate strikes.
I don’t have a fetish for them like some by the way. I buy whatever’s cheapest. I mean, come on… check out my handwriting. I’m not going to waste cold hard cash when I’m just going to scrawl all over that shit like an inebriated centipede on acid. That would be ridiculous 😛
Stories will stay in the notebooks, gradually growing like spidery mould across the pages: snippets, idea links, theme notions, character traits, full blown prose nuggets, they’ll all fit in there somewhere. Never neatly. I don’t do neat. And not exhaustively either… I do most of my working out on the page when writing.
Novels are different animals though. They tend to spread through the air like viruses. Landing, growing out of control. Invading whole files on several notebooks, reams of A4 paper, on hand-scrawled maps and printed research and envelopes, anything my hand can grab when something new pops to mind. Those end up in plastic files, as you’d imagine, stuffed to brimming, in severe danger of popping their clasps and spilling papery entrails all over the shop.
All that effort though and you’d be surprised how little of it I actually use. It’s more that the physical effort of scrawling things down helps my brain to shove raw story materials into the right quantum dynamic for energy to become mass blah blah when I set down to the serious business of building living, breathing flesh over the matrix of the framework.
Last but not least (and not pictured because frankly there’s no room) are what I call my ‘visual notebooks’. It’s a relatively new thing I started last year during NaNoWriMo to help spark me as I trundled along. I’ll source a ton of pictures and type up notes/compile research material, whack it all in a file under the project name and use that as my reference instead. Just a reference, nothing more, the same as I use my notepads etc. It’s fun, it’s very dynamic and I’ve found it to be a good way of cultivating brain bacteria into story-worlds.
And there you have me. A bit haphazard, more than a little incomprehensible on the handwriting side and a whole heaping forest-worth of paper consumption… trees hate me. A shame really, as I’m rather fond of trees.
So, now you’ve been traumatised by the sheer horror of my handwriting you can go and relieve the awful mental scars by visiting the other participants in this enlightening and entertaining blog hop:
Danielle La Paglia: http://daniellelapaglia.wordpress.com/
Anne Michaud: http://annecmichaud.wordpress.com/
Marianne Su: http://mariannesu.com/blog/
Victoria D Griesdoorn: http://www.vdgriesdoorn.com/
J.A. Campbell: http://writerjacampbell.wordpress.com/
Tammy Crosby: http://tammywrites.wordpress.com/
Maria Kelly: http://mariakellyauthor.com/
Chrissey Harrison: http://chrisseysgreatescape.wordpress.com/
Natalie Westgate: http://nataliewestgate.com
Tony Noland: http://www.tonynoland.com/
Larry Kollar: http://farmanor.blogspot.com/
Thanks for reading. Please do comment… it feeds the ravening beasts in my attic. And also for any ‘cut and paste’ artists out there who think, ‘Ooooh, I can translate this horrendous handwriting and use this idea’, the answer is, ‘No, you can’t’… unless of course you want to meet the lesser spotted attic beast… as it’s gnawing at your carotid 😛
Have a nice day!