Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Dummy's Dummy

I'm revising a picture book that I've probably revised 692 times already. It has lots of moving parts, so to speak. Characters doing things. Things doing things. I can't really elaborate (although I would love to blab on and on about it!)

Anyway, I have the scenes and most of the dialogue. It's the order that I keep messing around with. I need to get the build up right. I want the tension in the story to keep going up like a mountainside until the climax and boom! wrap it up with that satisfying ending. I have never written a story before where the scenes feel so interchangeable as they do in this one, and I was getting a little sick of writing the same things down and cutting and pasting and all of that moving around until I came up with a good way to play with my pages.

It's stupidly simple but I'm procrastinating on revisions so humor me.

I took some sheets of paper, folded them, and tore them into fourths. (You could get all fancy and measure and cut them if you like. You could even use those snazzy scissors with the shaped edges. Oooh la la.--I can enable procrastination like a boss!)

Picture books are generally 32 pages so I am using 15 pieces of paper, looking at each as a two page spread, leaving a couple of pages for title, pub info, and such.

I hand wrote each page's words on a separate piece of paper. (Picture books are short, so you can make all your words fit. You could also actually just use bigger pieces of paper but I like ripping paper and I'm lazy so that's the way I'm doing it.) This can take some time but it also helps you go through your words again and see if they are working. Plus it helps with procrastination you find your way to your vision if you write things really fancy and draw little pictures to go with it.

Done? *makes cookies
How about now? *watches an episode of Regular Show
Now? *checks watch
Ahem. *eats cookies...lots of cookies.

Okay... finally. You did it! Now you can move your pages around easily. 
You can also crumple them up and rewrite something but it's not a big deal because it's just on a little piece of paper! Amazing, I tell ya! And environmentally friendly--sort of. I'm calling it the dummy's dummy.

Okay kids, have fun with my *cough cough* brilliant idea. I've gotta go back to figuring this story out. I think I may try the throw it up in the air and see how it pans out when it lands method.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Enjoying the Earth

My cabin in the woods in Shasta.
So, I took a break. A vacation even! I drove from Washington State to California and back armed with only my iphone. No laptop, just a tiny little screen to check in on things with. Dana and Lisha took care of all the Sub It Club business while I was gone. (Love those girls!) I preset all the social media posts for the business pages I manage. With the exception of a few things I pretty much got a break from the online world. And I didn't suffer from withdrawal!

Monterey Bay, at the end of the street where I used to live.
Of course there was stuff I *should* have been doing. Blogging this. Checking in on that. Facebooking. Tweeting. And revising. Yes, I really should have been revising.

But I didn't do anything besides a few quick checkins and picture postings. And It was good. Sometimes you just need a break. I hung out. Saw stuff. Did stuff. But most of all I didn't worry about what I might be missing online.

As writers, especially writers trying to break in, it can be easy to can get caught up in the mission of needing to stay on top of things. Knowing what the market wants. What agent is looking for what. What new contests are open. The list can go on and on. Honestly, it is great to be informed but you can't know everything. Sometimes a break can help you see things with a fresh perspective. And a break from the screen can be a rare commodity these days, but you can do it! Get out of your usual life, enjoy the beauty(and even the ugliness) that surrounds you, and be reminded of the other things there are out there in the world. Whether you do this by just taking a walk in a new part of your neighborhood or by going on a little vacation, it's good to get out of your usual zone. It can also make you really long to get back to those revisions!