Friday, July 16, 2010

I've Been Solving a Puzzle

I apologize for my absence from Anita's Edge. The least I could have done is called and left message, at least let you know where I've been. I can be so inconsiderate at times. But, I've been busy.....


It's not a hundred piece puzzle or a five hundred piece puzzle. It  feels like someone opened up ten different puzzle boxes and spilled the pieces everywhere and I have to find every single puzzle piece. You know, the ones stuck between the cushions of the coach, the one the dog buried in the back yard (I don't have a dog...he's more of a metaphorical mutt), the piece your senile great aunt put in the freezer. Yes, I have to find every single, freakin' piece. Then I have to figure out which puzzle the piece belongs to.

By now, you've probably figure out that I'm not talking about a puzzle you buy at the toy section at Wal-Mart. Yes, this post is yet again about my manuscript. I know. I'm self indulgent.

Some people may call this process "outlining." But what I'm doing is more than outlining. It's more like I'm hosting a show of Unsolved Mysteries in my brain. As many of you know, I'm revising (more like rewriting) my manuscript, Product of an Illusion. But this time, I am being brutally honest with myself and I am leaving no stone unturned.

Step1: I took the advice of Agent Mary over at and initiated the painstaking process of writing 100 Declarative Sentences about each of my major and minor characters. This has truly been an eye opening experience and helped me solve problems in my plot, as well as discover new ideas to strengthen my story.

Step 2: Determined to not let massive amounts of work deter me from writing, I've started talking to myself in the car (I'm sure I look no weirder than people who sing in their car). I'm not writing, per say, but I vocally outline and work out character and plot problems. I record my musings on my iPhone. Later, when I have time, I listen to the recordings, type out the brilliant stuff, and fast forward through the bad.

Step 3: I'm not leaving any stone unturned. If a character does something in my book there has to be a motivation for his or her actions. Unfortunately, a character's motivations aren't always easy to read (like people in real life) so I've started a list of "unknowns." I have to turn every unknown into a known. I may not necessarily mention it in the story, but I have to know the whys, whens, and hows, since I'm the creator of my fictional world.

The puzzle-that-is-my-manuscript can be fun and exciting at times and then other times I want to flush the puzzle pieces down the toilet.

But, that's where I've been, pretending to be Sherlock Holmes in a way, hoping that one day, when this whole rewrite is figured out, I can look at my finished manuscript and say, "Elementary, my dear Watson. Elementary."*

*Although, Snopes disagrees that Sherlock Holmes ever said this line.

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