Monday, March 28, 2011

No Thaw, But Spring

It's to be expected: As soon as I post about looking forward to spring, winter slides back into my life. And like a winter avalanche, it all begins with a single seemingly harmless snowflake.

The snowflake in this case is (almost) literal. The weather, previously so warm and sunny, today was gray and dreary as could be. It was chilly and uninviting, demanding that I stay indoors and bundled. I huddled down to my work and for today's inspirational movie though what could be better than "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe?" I never stop being enchanted by this movie. The wardrobe itself, Lucy's first journey into Narnia, and her meeting Mr. Tumnus. The eternal winter suited my situation perfectly, and pondering the loneliness of "always winter, never Christmas," I decided this was surely the perfect time to try a new (and aptly named) writing method.

I first heard about The Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson during last year's NaNoWriMo. Before NaNoWriMo, I would have labeled myself as "Pantser" rather than a "Planner," (that is, someone who writes wherever the creative muse takes her, rather than someone who plots and outlines before diving into a work) but with two rather disastrous NaNovels under my belt, I have decided perhaps it is time for change. NaNo not only helped me realize the importance of goals and rewards, but also that you must find what works best for you. And the only way to do that is to try many things!

The Snowflake Method worked almost immediately. What I mean by that is that at once it revealed the gaping holes in my plot and the sadly lacking qualities of my characters. Shocked, dismayed, I wondered what to do with this new discovery, and soon came to the conclusion that this was a good, nay, an excellent thing. Before having spilled nearly any blood or sweat into a first draft, I was given this glimpse into what the novel would have been had I plunged in blindly. Resolved, I have decided to start over from square one, rebuilding my characters and reworking the plot into something better.

The Snowflake Method isn't the only new tool in my writing arsenal. While I adore books about writing and the writing process, buying them can be a pricey indulgence, so I like to get them from my local library. (Plus, hey, any excuse to go to the library!) Recently I picked up 45 Master Characters by Victoria Schmidt. I feel like I've stumbled on gold. Her outlines for character and plot building are so simple and leave so much room for creativity. Through her outlines I realized that my characters' goals were so one dimensional, and that it was no wonder I disliked my antagonist: She lacked her own set of goals and needed a reason for being all her own. (Of course, now I need a copy of this book for my own so I can go mad with pencil marks, highlighters, and page tabs. So much for saving a few bucks using the library)

So armed with these two new tools, I felt it a good day for writing, and pushed myself to submit an entry to WOW! Women on Writing's Flash Fiction Contest. And knowing the importance of rewarding writing goals, I began scrolling through the iTunes store for some new music. Here, I happened upon Songs for Japan, an amazing collection of music, with all the proceeds going to the Red Cross in Japan for their tsunami relief efforts. The artist list is stunning. Where else would you find Lennon rubbing elbows with Lady GaGa, ADELE, Enya, Katy Perry, and so many more! And you won't believe the deal - 38 songs for $9.99. 38!!! An incredible deal for a worthy cause.

I started out today staring out the window, feeling betrayed that nature would send me such a day after the promise of warmth and sunshine. But the weather forced me to hunker down to my work. And through the work I tumbled from surprise and disappointment to resolve and strength and triumph. Rather than a betrayal, this last burst of winter brought with it many sweet surprises. And I am quite certain that once this cold spell ends, what will follow will be "...no thaw. This is spring!"

2 comments:

  1. I'm glad you found something that sparked your writer's spirit! There are so many writing projects out now. Its quite intimidating to me to think of trying even one, let alone more than that! Keep up the good work. I would've just gotten back under the covers on a cold grey day.

    By the way, I like your background. Its very cute.

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  2. I quite like it myself, though I cannot take credit for its creation. :)

    Projects are certainly popular these days, with photography projects, crafts projects, artistic projects, and many others, there are so many opportunities for one to attempt new creative endeavors!

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