Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Stark White and Naked - Yikes!

Stark white - glow in the dark.  Isn't that one of the tricks of Halloween - white sheets glowing in the darkness, ghosts reaching quivering hands to frighten little kids.  I know, you're not all into Halloween but it's my thing.  And yes, sheets well positioned may be rough forms of scary fun but they can be effective.

Footprints in the snow
White sheets - brings me to the topic of this post.  Yes, in a round about fashion.  I'm talking about paper not snow, like the only picture I had, but kind of comparable.  Blank paper without even a footprint, a smudge - nothing.  Now I've never been scared of a blank page - in fact they're one of my favourite things.  At least so I thought until this morning.  I discovered something then - blank pages are great if you're just free-form writing.  They're really crappy if you just want to get a start on a novel and not choke on the third page, mid paragraph because you have no idea where to go next.  A blank page can throw a long shadow.

Where was this story going and how many ideas could I incorporate into one story before it became a mish-mash of nothingness or how few before it began going circular mid-stream?

I needed direction - an outline, some logic to coral all the creativeness that was spinning quickly into nowhere.  So I moved to the synopsis.  Did I mention I loathe the synopsis.  Yes, loathe - there is no better word for how I feel about that short little condensed version of a story.  But you know, I've learned that if I skip right over my "beginning hebejeebies", a synopsis can be an awesome thing.  Okay, maybe not awesome, but along with an outline - a big help.

So I went there, to hebejeebie land with a different page, a new tactic, and looked again at another blank page.  Problem was there was still a problem.  I had a house and nothing else, not even a character name.  Yes, you didn't read wrong - a house can be a character, how much of one in this particular story... well even if I make it a female house, I sense that cannot be construed as either romance or woman's fiction.  And that folks, is what I write.  So I suspect the house will only be a small supporting role.  I'm sure not sure if I'll ever want to write about a house, not as a primary character anyway.  That's been done before, mostly in the world of horror - and done well.  No this was a story about people, about a woman.  A woman - now I'm getting somewhere.

So now I need a name - so off to the baby name section of the internet.  Unfortunately, the first one I hit on was something about "The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Naming."  No, that wasn't what I typed in, it's what came up and the names - well they were names that were slightly unusual, they weren't who my character is.  Not that she isn't unusual but I sense she likes to work with her hands and not strictly her head.  Aha - a personality is finally beginning to emerge.  I left that site, checked out another - found a name and went back to the blank page.  This time success.  I began to type - single spaced, just to prove I wasn't yet serious.  Serious means using the correct font and double spacing.  I considered using a chalkboard print but that might be poking the fates so I stuck to publishing industry standard and voila.  One and one-half single spaced pages later I had a story, a character, and a rough-hewn synopsis that would make the writing industry cringe.

I'm pleased with the name of my character.  I think it suits her and I sense she might be happy with it.  I'd mention it here but with only hours into the whole project everything is subject to change.  Onward Christian Soldiers - okay, just onward one little writer sitting on her couch pecking away in the early hours of the morning.

And that's the journey of one story.  The beginnings anyway.  They're all different.

How do you begin a new project - an organized fashion or from every angle possible?



Anonymous said...

I just thought I would leave a comment to let you how much of a nice read this actually was.

Ryshia Kennie said...

Thanks - it's always good to know someone is out there reading. Come by again.