The first thing I do, beyond my normal outline that I’ve created, is make chapter notes of what I plan to write next. These notes for the current chapter I’m writing and/or the next chapter are very detailed in the sense I understand the flow of the scene, but not to detailed that I basically have written out the story.
The second thing I do is visualize the scenes for the chapter whenever I have a moment to myself. I find driving in the car to and from work is a great time to do this visualization. Also, when I’m running during my gym time, I usually visualize the up and coming scenes. I’m an angry runner, which I find very helpful when I’m working on the point of view of the Werewolves, Minotaurs, or Startüm Ironwolf. I wonder sometimes what my fellow treadmill runners think of me when they look over and see my face set in a snarl as I work out some battle sequence. I mean, I see the looks I get at times when I’m really worked up on a scene, so I’m sure that my face reflects the rage of my characters at times. Thankfully I don’t care what people think of me at the gym, heh.
The last and most important thing I’ve learned to do, is simply to write it out when I feel stuck or not sure of the scene. Sometimes you just can’t see how it’s working until you’ve written everything down on paper. Normally this works out quite well for me and I don’t have to write out the scene again. This first writing doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to get your general thoughts down on paper. Once you have the general scene you can work at tweaking what you have to make it better. I’m doing that now to great effect.
The end scenes in Destiny are super complex. I really need to focus on all of the action going on, but to be honest I haven’t had much time to just sit and work on the scenes without interruption. There is so much going on between the fight scenes, the inter-relationships between the characters and Startüm. I just can’t catch everything going on the first time through, but that’s not a problem. The technique I’ve been using is to go ahead and write the scene the way I see it in my mind. Then while I’m busy throughout the day I think about everything going on in the scene. As I’m picturing everything I will realize there are additional points, characters and other things going on that if I were a reader I would want to have this additional information in the scene. I might or might not make notes throughout the day, but usually I’ll shoot a quick email to myself to remember what I just thought of (very helpful – you think you’ll remember the scene, but once you get home to write the idea is gone … so write it all down). The next time I sit down I tweak the scene filling in those parts I missed and extend the scene out further, repeating this process until it’s finished.
Anyway, I hope this is helpful for those of you struggling with your own stories. I see so many blog posts about people running into blocks about what to write next. Hopefully this advice helps. For me life is still full of excitement. Work is crossing over into my personal time yet again as I’m responsible for supporting another off-site conference in Wiesbaden, Germany. I’m supposed to head out on Sunday to prepare everything and then work the conference to its end on Thursday. Many of these conferences are just busy even after normal work hours, so I don’t expect I’ll be back into my hotel room until 1900 or 2000 hours. I probably won’t be able to actually sit down and begin writing until 2130 hours, but at least I should get some writing time in. In one way it’s cool to get out of the office, but on the flip side it still messes with my writing schedule.
On a more personal note. One of the things I greatly enjoy in Europe is the saunas. (A subject whose relevance comes from the hotel I'll be staying at having an European sauna.) Even though I enjoy the saunas here, the varying rules of appropriate dress between the American and the European sides can be somewhat confusing at times. (I partake in both kinds here due to my unique situation in country.) On the European side, clothing is NOT allowed in the sauna. You’ll see people coming up from the sauna and going to the hotel restaurant with only their bath robe on. Some people bring in a towel to cover themselves somewhat, but normally its “naked” event for everyone. The Europeans think it's unhealthy to wear clothing in a sauna and that might very well be true. After being in a sauna "European style", I have to say I prefer it. I'm sure that being from Florida helps to make me more comfortable around skin then it might be for Americans from other states. To be honest, I find it more difficult when I'm on base using the sauna. We Americans can be so funny when it comes to skin, even same-sex skin. On base a lot of people wear clothing, which I find very humorous in same-sexed faculties. Some people are fully dressed, some have a towel, while some are naked or just have their towel laying over bare-bits. I had a lady friend tell me how she was just sitting naked on the bench inside and a woman entered with her daughter and left when they saw her with only her towel laying across her lap. I’m married to a European, so between that and being raised in South Florida I just missing the point.
Anyway, I’ll write more next week. Again sorry for the sporadic posts, but hopefully in two weeks things will get back to being more normal.