Monday, September 10, 2007

Tools of the Trade

Over with the Witchy Chicks, we were talking about audio/visual aids and what helps each of us in the writing process. It got me to thinking. Is it somehow wrong that I haven't often delved too deeply into the hows and the whys of writing? I'm not wearing blinders, honest. It's just that sometimes it seems as though by dissecting the process in a mad {heh} attempt to understand it more fully, I might strip some of the magick away . . . and I like to keep that intact, thankyouverymuch.

I can tell you I don't use pictures of people to inspire a character. The character always comes to me first, and in writing this series at least, they have come to me fully blown. Some readers have been suggesting various actors, most quite suitable indeed, that they envision in certain roles, and if that deepens their reading experience, I'm all for it . . . but as for me, it's not something I do often.

Music is always very important to me... although rarely while writing. I most often use music in between writing sessions, though not always to keep me in the Stony Mill world. Oftentimes the music I choose is simply to relax me, or to cater to the latest whim for atmosphere that I crave.

Atmosphere. This is the biggie for me. Atmosphere speaks to me, and it can come in so many different forms. I will often select movies for my DVD collection by the atmosphere in the film. Even if the film wasn't the best, its atmosphere will speak to me in some way. Music can give me atmosphere, but again, I don't often use it while writing -- I find it too involving. Something about the way my brain is wired makes me focus on the music itself rather than the story in front of me. Atmosphere can be found in anything, in any circumstance, if one keeps one's eyes open to it. It's the skirl of dried leaves sweeping down an empty street; the gathering of a bevy of vultures in a single tall tree that overlooks an entire neighborhood; the way a road cutting through a pair of cornfields can seem claustrophobic toward the end of summer; the sound of the wind whispering through said cornfields just before harvest. And now we're approaching autumn, my favorite time of year . . . and so appropriate for my writing. So many lovely and evocative images that propel and inspire my mind on its wild travails.

Atmosphere. I couldn't write without it.

Love to all,

Mad {madly!}

1 comment:

Laura Stamps said...

Oh, my! I've never thought about this either. Hmmm. When I write poetry, nature is my primary visual aid, because I am a spiritual nature poet. However, I have to say I use no visual aids for writing fiction. Isn't that odd? It all comes from my mind. That must be because I am also an Empath and Psychic, so my mind is the tool I use to access other realms of the spirit every day, using my third eye to see and hear. This mystical realm is as familiar to me as the Earth realm.

Anyway, back to how I write my novels (grin). I just set the scene in my mind, the characters begin to move around, and do interesting things and say interesting things, and I scramble after them taking notes. Then I do lots of editing, and more amazing things happen. That's basically it.

I do have some quirks though. Having started out in this business as a poet, I write the first draft of each novel chapter in a notebook by hand, then transfer everything to the computer, and go from there for editing. I also write first drafts in a prone position, in bed, surrounded by my 6 housecats. I don't know if that counts as a visual aid? Probably not. I think it's just a scientific fact that my imagination functions better when my body is relaxing in a prone position. Once again, nothing complex, just simple stuff. Thoreau would have love me (grin)!