Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Immersed in our Stories

Something shiny has distracted me from my intended post. 

Alas, at times, I too have toiled through the bog  to finish my WIP.

For me, to move forward in my story I need to step back, reread the last chapter, tweak a few sentences, perhaps whole paragraphs, slash a little, add something else, saturate my mind in the words.

New chapter/scene/sentence rarely flow from my brain to the keyboard with the golden hues of a sunrise. 

Maybe I need different coffee. 

Like an inchworm, I need to step back, no--immerse myself into the story.

Getting from point A to point Z in my manuscript involves more than hopping on the Autobahn until I exit at my destination. 

I need the scenic route. I like to feel, see, hear, and taste the the action.

The scenic route immerses my thoughts into the lives of my character. It focuses my attention in the wholeness of my story. I look back at the path and see flora, gaze to the sides and see animals, peek straight ahead and behold glistening rays through a canopy of oak branches.

Looking back at the flora (previous chapters or scenes), I eye mutinous weeds--twining, murderous vines around daisies or an obnoxious patch of sagebrush forcing sweet Williams to surrender their lives. The weeds can be adverbs, passive voice, awkward sentence structure, etc. The sagebrush can be rabbit trails or context errors like interchanging characters, events, and  locations.

Looking to the side (the point I left my work yesterday), I question if all is as it appears. The spot on the tree may be the eye of an elk, and the branches may be the antlers. What's hiding off to the side that could be used to raise suspense in this scene?

Looking ahead, the climax and end, I don't see the sun in all its spender. It's hampered by  branches to thick in some points to allow light. Still, a ray or two eek through other branches to give a  promised hope. Is this what I see with today's step?

I am immersed in my story and unable to stop the words from flowing into a new chapter or scene

This process doesn't take long. Sherlock Holmes is not invited. Simply rewind, call attention the footprints, and fix the obvious as a warm-up to today's writing. 

One day closer to finishing a book.  :)

Once again the Alley Cats have unawares presented a theme: Press forward to the end using your voice completely immersed in your story. Then send your treasure to an expert to be polished or to a contest for critique.

Do you take the scenic route, smell the roses, breathe the fresh air, or wallow in your character's lives at times? What are your struggles in your writing today? How can we support, encourage, enlighten, entertain, energize, applaud, and fortify you? 

Nature photos taken by Mary Vee in Glacier National Park. 
Autobahn photo courtesy of Desktop Nexus Abstract


Sherrinda said...

Beautifully done, Mary. Immersing myself is a must if I am going to really tell the story. I have to feel it, be in it, live it, in order to write it.

This is Spring Break, so I am loving the time to relax and recuperate from a stressful job. I need to make sure I don't waste the week though. I have hours to write and I need to take advantage of that! :) That is my prayer for the week!

Mary Vee said...

I'll pray for you too, Sherrinda. Laugh and cry with your characters this week :)

Keli Gwyn said...

Lovely imagery, Mary, and great photos. I'm a scenic writer. Like you a take a look at where I've been before forging ahead. Once I'm back in my story world, my eyes are focused on the horizon.

Kav said...

Love the imagery! I think I'm an all over the map kind of writer. LOL. Sometimes I need to look back before heading forward and other times I just leap in. The one thing I have learned though is to never take a short-cut!

My constant writing struggle is that I am a morning person but I have a day job. If I can write first thing in the morning absolutely nothing holds me back. My fingers fly over the keyboard, the ideas flow and my word count multiples. Alas, I'm usually writing in the evening (my least productive time) and I'm slow as molasses in January, my words are clumsy, I slip into tell not show and usually have to do major edits. It's soooooooo frustrating that I actually tried getting up at 3:30 a.m. so I could write before going to work. Yawn, that so didn't last.

Angie said...

When I have been away from my story for a while, I always find myself starting up again with is like I need to "set the stage" to get back into my characters' worlds...I can always go back and divvy up the scenic prose with dialogue and character interaction, but the best way for me to get back into writing is to start out with the setting.

Mary Vee said...

Love having kindred spirits:)

Mary Vee said...

Good point about no short cuts. Wow that can burn a manuscript.
I'm a morning person too...but I don't think 3:30 counts as morning either!!
Juggling family, work, and writing can be tricky.
I'm so glad you shared today:)

Mary Vee said...

The setting is a great place to start. It makes me think of an artist, shading the backdrop to give meaning and life to the focal point. Darks, lights, shadows, dim, brilliant, all as is needed to give breath to the canvass.
Thanks Angie

Pepper said...

Lovely post, Mary.
Did you type that? Or use your pen?

Pepper said...

Oh, btw, I LOVE the ride.
But I love having writing buddies along for the ride too. They encourage me to keep one eye on the scenery and one eye on the goal.
And occassionaly become back-seat drivers ;-)

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Mary, those pictures are beautiful! I got to take a little vacation with your post :) Thanks for that!

I love to visit with my characters and spend time in their lives with them awhile before I get to writing the next scene. It makes me feel closer to them, makes me remember what I've already put them through, and makes me excited about what's to come. Right now I'm trying to focus on editing, which is not as fun as plotting and writing. New characters keep sneaking into my mind, so I know I'm almost ready to move onto something new. Have a great day!

Mary Vee said...

Back at you Pepper :) The mighty key board has struck the pen..whoot whoot whoot...
It was sundown, you struck first, I had to respond with the last speck of sun.
Score even :)

Mary Vee said...

I love back-seat buddies. I sometimes need a shield to soften the red ink...but wow, they sure can improve my work. Sooooooo thankful for back-seat buddies!

Mary Vee said...


I love what you said in your comment: " It makes me feel closer to them, makes me remember what I've already put them through."


Meeting new character is exciting. Can't wait to hear about your new friends/villians.:)