Friday, November 9, 2007

Re-con Mission

I'm composting right now. Percolating. Tilling. Whatever you want to call it. Sorting through pages (and pages and pages) of notes from four years of keeping this project in the back of my mind. Now it's finally time to write the thing, and I'm overwhelmed by all the threads I'm trying to pull together. Not to mention notebooks.

Do you have any idea how many different notebooks I have to jot down ideas in? A little one for my handbag, one for my backpack, one (or six) by the bed, one under the couch, and a journal in the car. Keep in mind most of these are half-empty, randomly jotted with . . .whatever. The notebook are populated with mental riffraff, all trying to bring down the "Establishment"through sheer disorganization. If these notebooks are any indication of what's going on inside my brain, we're all in trouble. I have to go back through them and drag in for questioning all the rebels that may have info on my current WIP. So far they have tried to confuse me with conflicting plot points, character motivations and bits of scene that have no home. (I'd love to hear your composting stories. What do you all do in the pre-writing stage?)

I'm having fun, though. I'm turning into quite the interrogator.

The surprising thing was, interspersed throughout my recalcitrant ramblings, I found these little gems gathered from people I really need to be listening to. So here it is, the point of my post:

It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, but why he does it. -A.W. Tozer

What makes one story more "finished"--more "real" and "alive"-- than another is not a matter of adjectives per sentence, it is the accuracy and relevance of whatever description you do use.
-Monica Wood (Description)

The stories that astonish us, the characters that live forever in our memories--those are the result of rich imagination, perceptive observation, rigorous interrogation, and careful decision-making. When it comes to storytelling, invention is the mother of astonishment, delight and truth. -Orson Scott Card (Characters & Viewpoint)

When we see a natural style, we are quite amazed and delighted, because we expected to see an author and find a man. -Blaise Pascal

...What (we remember) would turn out itself to be a remembering. The books or the music in which we though the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them, and what came through them was longing. These things--the beauty, the memory of our own past--are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited. -C.S. Lewis (The Weight of Glory)

Feel free to share more wisdom in the comments section. I have plenty of room in my notebooks. :)


Betsy Ann said...

Whew, my brain is spinning! Great quotes and so deep! Thanks for sharing, Lori!! I love this. These are things worth reading over and over and let sink deep into our hearts.

And I'm sooo with you on the notebook thing! lol I keep one in my purse too and I find that I use it most often in movie theaters...something will spark there like in no other place. (except the shower of course. Bring on the dry erase board!! Lol)

Betsy Ann said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lori said...

I still think we could market in-shower dry-erase boards for writers. I mean, who WOULDN"T want one??

Lydia Trecroce Tsirozidis said...

Lots of food for thought there. Thanks, Lori. As if we needed more! JK ;)

I basically have 2 notebooks designated for composting: a pocket-sized one that fits in my handbag, and a big, green, divided-up thing, which, unfortunately, catches every other bit of non-writing info too.

I must confess, neither notebook really helps me when it comes time to sit down & write the story. I often find my precious insights to be nothing but junk. The good snippets of description and dialogue only come after I'm already immersed in writing the story.

The one notebook where I find I've written useful tidbits is the one I keep in my Bible for prayer requests and sermon notes. I do feel very guilty though for jotting down story-related ideas in church.

For this new wip, I'm finding it better to amass things in my head, and then get everything down on paper in an orderly fashion using Randy Ingermansson's Snowflake Technique. I'm a disorganized and undisciplined person, so this system seems to be just what I need. We'll see.

Leigh said...

I have to admit being a guilty one, too -- notebooks and journals everywhere, with ideas for stories or devotionals, notes from conference workshops, ideas for a speaking engagement, on and on and on. I am trying to do better with putting together a notebook when ideas for a particular story really start popping up so I can try to keep most of them together.

Love all your ponderings for the day -- and on a Friday, too! That's a lot for this tired brain LOL. One of my favorite quotes that applies to anything is from CS Lewis: "You're never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream." The dream starts when God plants the seed in my heart and it's up to me to compost it and see where God wants it to go.

When y'all find a dry erase board that the marker won't wash off of in the shower, be sure to let me know. :-)

Cathy West said...

I'm not at all organized. I don't use notes - well, that's a lie. For my last book I did because it was Vietnam and I did make a lot of notes. But usually I just wing it, write the thing, then go back and clean up the mess. :0)

Anonymous said...

Wow, Lori, great quotes! Lots of notebooks, too! LOL! I jot down notes, but I'm afraid I only look at them occasionally. Those things seem to stay clogged into my brain until I actually type them out on the computer. Oh, well, someday I plan to be more organized.

Thanks for sharing with us today.

Deb P.

jenness said...

I write notes on index cards, scraps of paper, backs of envelopes...and they clutter up every single one of my purses so they're not much help. But the act of writing helps me remember. And the stuff I do end up forgetting, I find much later when I actually clean out my purse. And that can be fun. :-) Organization? What's that? ha