Monday, February 3, 2014

Check Out My Notebooks...

Delayed yet again. I know, what else is new, right? My Sunday schedule was so wonky today. I went in to work an hour earlier than I normally do on Sundays, plus Hubby didn't leave work until after noon, and so I only had two hours to do anything with today. I also got out of work late, was exhausted, and so I practically passed out once the Super Bowl ended.

The plus side was that I had more than two hours of sitting in the dining area of the grocery store as I waited for Hubby to get out of work. I was able to participate in Ali's mini-challenge for the second week of Writers’ Huddle's 2014 Winter Writing Challenge. Second time to participate, actually. The mini-challenge? Get a notebook. Namely, to help focus your writing by having a journal, binder of loose-leaf paper, notebook, or mountain of post-its - which is what ChibiSunnie uses - that is focused on just one writing project.

I actually already had my writing organized like that. Although I prefer to just type everything - my handwriting is horrendous, my hand cramps up easily, and I can shift and file things easier on the computer - I have way too many writing projects bouncing around my head at the same time to NOT be organized.

I have an old college binder filled with folders that are each dedicated to either a different D&D character of mine, or a different D&D-based writing idea. I have one folder for my second-favorite character: Arianna Snow. I have one for my main character Amara, whom I want to eventually write a series of stories around. I have a folder for all the work I've been doing with world-building Amara's country of Kerizmar; which has become just one country within one continent upon Gyateara - you might recall that is the world I based my NaNo story on in 2012. I have a folder for a never-written Avatar: The Last Airbender/D&D crossover story. Finally, I have a folder to hold all of my past Vampire: The Masquerade character sheets.

I have another - even larger - binder set aside for all of my X-Future stuff. I have a folder for each of My Girls: Lia, Willow, Trish, and Crystal. The Willow folder is overflowing and the Crystal one is empty... sorry, chica. I have another folder for any thought that pops in to my head as a possible future plot device. I have since converted most of the folder's contents in to a "Writing Prompt" thread on the forum for any member - including myself - who can't figure out where to go next with their characters. One folder is for scenes that I free-write. Most of these have become part of my X-Future: Snippets collection. The last folder is for any story ideas I come up with that doesn't center on just one character. This mostly holds notes on the dynamics between characters or has notes on multiple characters on the same page.

The binders and folders help a lot when I get inspired and the only things I have available are random pieces of paper: napkins, paper towels, backs of expired coupons, backs of flyers, etc. The binders each also have a stack of loose-leaf paper in them, so I can easily write on that and then quickly file the page away in to the appropriate folder.

But that's not all!

I also have two really nifty clipboards. I'm definitely going to pick up more when I have the opportunity. These are the thick, plastic clipboards that open up in to a compartment.
Boy, do I stuff those things to the brim with notes! Although the above pictures are the sales pictures of the Saunders SlimMate storage clipboard, I do indeed have the blue and pink ones. The blue one is dedicated to even MORE world-building. A bunch of examples of fantasy maps - such as Middle Earth - as well as the current map of Kerizmar, and a bunch of info on the population of Kerizmar is stored in that clipboard. Further research/info on Gyateara as a whole is in that folder I mentioned earlier. The pink clipboard is where I store my notes on What Is Truly Meant To Be.

Oh, while I'm touching upon that. This past Thursday I received a note on DeviantArt which simply said: "do more hey arnold fics plz." I haven't touched WITMTB in about a year! For shame! I really should do more "Hey, Arnold!" stuff. Maybe all of this X-Future stuff created enough of a step-back that I can get re-inspired once I dive in to WITMTB. Likewise, perhaps working on the next chapter will give me enough of a break that I'll be refreshed enough to keep going with X-Future: The Second Generation Begins.

Anyway, I want to show you guys something:
That first picture has a page - front and back - that contains the start of the next chapter. Not skeletoned, but actually written out. It's a start, but it's better than nothing, right? The next picture has the contents of the clipboard emptied out; all of my notes on the story as a whole, on the chapter in particular, notes written along the margins of the lyrics of the song I'm working on, and a few timeline notes. The notebook I'm holding is where I write out the skeleton of each chapter before I move on to actually writing out the prose.

Side note: I'm actually listening to the song for the next WITMTB chapter as I write about getting back in to it. The song is set up on a randomized playlist. I guess The Fates want me to continue too.

Alright, well, now that you know how I organize my writing, how about we go full circle back to how I participated in Ali's mini-challenge twice this week. The first time was using the X-Future binder at the laundromat this Thursday. I wrote the entire 1.5hrs I was there; working on what Willow would do next on the forum.

You guessed it, yet ANOTHER really big catalyst happened involving Devon. So I had to get in to Willow's head. Even she had no clue what to do; how to process everything. It was interesting to just free-write in order to get her raw emotions out in a fluid movement. We were both sort of surprised with the result. It wouldn't be the only time. I'll get to that in a moment.

The second time I used the notebook idea was - as mentioned - while waiting for Hubby to get out of work. I was sitting with nothing better to do for over two hours; thankfully I thought ahead.

Not only do I have the two binders and the two clipboards, but I also have six notebooks. Well, I have a LOT more than just six notebooks - I have a full bookshelf's worth - but I have six that are solely dedicated to just one thing.
The green notebook is for all things Lia. The blue is for Willow. Trish is in the red notebook. The gray one with the dragon is for Gyateara and all things D&D campaign related. The blue and gold one is set aside for Amara. That last blue patterned one is just a catch-all notebook.

That last one is what I had on me Sunday. One page had notes for this blog post. Then I wrote two more where I delved in to a few structure questions I had about Gyateara - namely the two drastically different god pantheons. Granted, the same can be said about Earth's religions. The key difference is that in Fable, Legend of Zelda, and D&D - all games that Gyateara's world building is based off of - the gods aren't religion; they're fact. There are actual relics of the gods. There's proof of their existence. There are no "atheist" D&D characters, just ones that refuse to bow/pray to any of the gods - whom they acknowledge at least exist.

If the gods are just as real as any other entity in Gyateara, why are there different pantheons? I think I have that key question figured out, but this post is already getting long, so I'll save that for next week perhaps.

So now let's backtrack once more to the other time that Willow and I were stunned by the result of a free-write. The Bard's birthday was Saturday, and while Ronoxym was over to celebrate we broke off and he told me about this story he had been concocting in his head while at work. The story consisted of Devon trying to explain himself to Willow. Late Saturday he sent me the beginning of the story via forum PM. I love it. I'm excited to see how he plans on ending it. However, it might be a while since I think I threw him off his game.

See, I read through it once and was like "wow" but some of Willow's lines felt off. Her voice wasn't quite right. Willow herself was like "that's close, but not exactly how I'd react..." Curious, I decided to go back through his story and break off where Willow told me "that's not right". My ending was completely different to the later half of his story. Let me remind you that he cut off half-way, and so it was the second quarter of the story that I derailed.

Originally I just assumed that a few lines would be changed, but Willow completely flipped the script. There was a LOT more emotional anguish than intended or expected. I guess I should just pick up my crown as the Emotional Anguish Queen. I sent my free-write back to Ronoxym to see what he thought. He enjoyed it. I wasn't expecting him to take my version as a "rewrite", but it got him rethinking his story. So, now I'm not sure if the second half of his story that I'll eventually get will be what he originally had in mind, somehow works of what I wrote, or some hybrid of the two.

Perhaps once he's done I'll be able to talk him in to allowing me to post it as an X-Future: Snippet either under his name or as a collab. I'll keep you posted in that.

I've been doing a lot of collaborative effort in writing straight-up prose lately. First the above example between me and Ronoxym. Then there's the great way that Hubby, Phfylburt - Lincoln/Kinney's player - and I play off each other when coming up with plot ideas for X-Future. I don't know, it just makes me want to jump ship on the forum and just start up an X-Future-based webcomic with these guys. We still would need an artist though since between the four of us we MIGHT be able to draw a couple of stick figures...

I feel like that's my future. I feel it in my gut. You know how a lot of authors say that you should practice your art frequently, but you may not become famous until you get a story that takes hold and lets you it needs to be told? Maybe X-Future is at least the stepping-stone for that - being a collab effort and all.

I just picturing that in the next ten years or so we'll have a webcomic based on the X-Future story thus far and the universe; maybe even considered a canonical universe by Marvel! How awesome would that be!? And it would all be thanks to Hubby's idea to start the forum and Netflix having the rights to X-Men: Evolution to spark everything in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. Its okay. I think I finally figured it out, now I'm just waiting for Devon to tell me how it all goes down.

    And Its going down.

    going down. $%#&. now ive gotten Ke$ha stuck in my head again...