We finish up today, talking a little bit about tech, editing, and who Mom liked best. Spoiler alert: RB is sadly confused.
Ella: When you’re starting a new scene, how do you get into the scene? In my head, I’m always, say, parking the car, feeding the meter, walking down the street to the store before I can walk into the store and start the actual action of the scene. I know that stuff is crap and I’ll have to edit it out later, but I’ve given in on writing it for the sake of getting the scene started. I’m stuck, otherwise. How does it work for you?
RB: I see my character driving up to the house, parking the car, turning it off, getting out, grabbing her purse, closing the door, locking it, walking up to the house, but most of the time I leave that off. I see that happening in my head but just start with, “Callie knocked on the door.” And when Callie’s knocking on the door, I already have the other character’s reply and what will happen when she enters the house. For the most part. Unless Callie or the other character decide to deviate from the plan.
Ella: I can’t decide whether to groan because you’re showing me I’ve got so much to figure out still or be happy for the pointers . . .
RB: I think you should be happy. 🙂
Ella: Let’s talk tech. How many places do you have your book saved? How big would the disaster have to be before you lost the whole thing?
RB: I have my book saved in three spots. One on my computer’s hard drive, which I try to remember to update once a month. One on my flash drive, which I hopefully remember to update every couple months. And one on dropbox.com. If something ever happens to that online storage place I will curl up in a fetal position and sob uncontrollably.
Yeah… I should probably try to update the other two more often.
Ella: Umm, what does updating your hard drive mean? And the dropbox thing, you just go the website and sign up, right? I used to keep a paper copy that I printed off every day when I was done writing. I stopped because it’s impractical using Scrivener, but I still miss it. Do you do that at all? Yes, I’m a caveman. I like paper.
RB: Updating my hard drive means that I have my novels saved on the C:/ drive of my computer. Since I work mostly from dropbox, when I hit the save button after I’m finished writing for the day it will save to dropbox, not my C:/. Yes, dropbox is online and all you need to do is sign up. They give you so many bytes of space for free. It’s great! I can access my files from any computer with Internet access. I like paper copies, too. But I’ve started to go away from that because it’s just easier to edit on the computer as I’m reading as opposed to editing it on the paper and then making the corrections on the computer.
Ella: But the paper is the best part for the editing! After you’ve marked where things are gone amuck, you cut the paper and tape it to a new page and write the stuff that needs to go there on the taped-up page until you’ve got this glorious mess of a nearly-perfected manuscript that needs to be retyped!
Actually, thinking about it I can see where your way might be better. But not nearly as much arts-and-crafty fun.
RB: 🙂 You do like your arts and crafts. You got me into collages, remember.
Ella: Is this easier than it used to be? Remember when I was first nursing Nine and I said, Is it always this hard? And you said, It gets much easier at two months old? Okay, for the record, I just want to say that when you told me that I thought I might just die before the two months were up, but also . . . you were right. It was a piece of cake (with teeth) after the first two months. Is writing a novel something that gets easier over time? (Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes . . .)
RB: YES. It gets easier. The drafting of FR was hard. It was the first time I used such in-depth character charts/questions. For Callie’s story, characterizing was easier, but I used different plotting techniques. So that took a bit of time. With Luacs’s story, the character and plotting stage seemed to flow more smoothly than the two before. With each of these novels I’ve continuously tweaked the character and plotting techniques I’ve learned from writing sites and other authors. For now all of those techniques are spread out into multiple webpage print outs, two or three writer workshop notes, and hand written notes of my own. Soon I will combine them into one complete system which will make drafting even faster.
Writing seems to be the same for all three books. For me, starting the story is always the hardest part. I can stare at that first blank page for a long time before typing anything. I have good writing days where the words flow and pages add up well over my quota. I have days where Muse takes a vacation.
Truthfully I don’t want the writing part to get easier. The struggling days make the really, good days worth it.
Ella: I would pay people money—LOTS of it—to find me a way to streamline the writing process. Of course, you write FIVE TIMES FASTER than I do so maybe this is not such an issue for you.
RB: I don’t think I would want someone else to streamline the process for me. What works for one person doesn’t work for someone else. That’s why so many writing sites and authors give out different advice. What helps me hear characters may not be what you need to reach the same objective. It takes time and trial and error to figure out what you need. I had to teach myself that the prewriting phase is just as important as the writing phase. Use your prewriting phase to get to know your characters and your story. Research techniques that are used by your favorite authors and try them out. Maybe take a few prewriting classes. I did and they helped immensely.
Ella: Uh, I was actually talking about a magical-writing-fairy type thing there. I would pay them, but it is possible that being magical fairies they would demand my soul or my first-born child and that would end badly.
RB: Oh.. Well, yeah, you can’t trust fairies.
Ella: Mom always loved me more.
RB: *snickers* Mom just tells you that so your feelings don’t get hurt. She really loves me the best because I’m the baby of the family and she realized after she had me that she didn’t need anymore kids. I was—am—that perfect. 🙂
See? Sadly mistaken. But full of helpful and interesting information, so I won’t spoil her delusions. Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed it, too!