Walking 2 miles before I write. I've gotten in the habit of walking as deep into the woods or desert as I can get (well, 2 miles) and finding a place to sit and getting lost in my story. I gently nudge myself in the first mile, figuring out which character is talking and what the general thrust is, and then I try to let my subconscious suggest specific detail over the next mile, then I sit down and just got lost.
For as long as it takes.
Sometimes, about halfway through a scene I have to get up and stretch, pace up and down the trail, or break off twigs from trees (yes, that's a thing. It's like popping bubble wrap, very soothing.) I talk to myself if I must, I wait for the next cluster of specific images or words.
By then, the creative juices are flowing and on my walk back I usually can add some detail, or do some minor editing.
So far in "Takeover" I haven't written anything that I didn't think was authentic. I've taken days off when nothing came, which is unusual for me. Usually I force it, and sure enough I'll get some good stuff, but this time I want everything to feel as natural as possible.
I'm not sure this is the best process. It ties everything to my ability to get out in nature. This winter, for instance, I was stuck in the house for almost 3 months, and this summer I've had to wait until 8:00 at night, when the sun isn't blasting, to go for my walk. Lately, I've been challenging that, going ahead and walking in the full heat of the day, just making sure I've got lemonade with me and letting myself sweat.
I can write at home, but it just seems harder to get going and I can't quite concentrate as deeply.
I've had the idea for some time of driving up into the Ochoco Mountains, thinking I could get there in 45 minutes and thinking it might be cooler up there. I have a 45 minute loop from Bend to Redmond that includes my old path that was most conducive to writing, so 45 minutes seems like a lot but I've done it before. (I've found a bunch of places between 10 and 15 minutes from my house.)
Took an hour to get to the first forest service road. An hour is a long way to go to get some privacy. It was nice--big firs and ponderosa, a different feel from the desert, and a lot more private that if i went west toward Sisters to get into their ponderosa forests. It was just as hot if not hotter, so much for that idea.
The chapter came out well. The scenes work as long as I get into the voice of the character. That's what I'm most concentrating on. Getting that voice down. Everything else follows.
It's nice to have the plot in my head up to the last bit. The last 20% of the book will be mostly action. I'm confident in my ability to work out the plot details of that. So the book between 20K words and 50K words are the real meat and feeling of the book, and the toughest to write, and I'm about halfway through those.
I may actually drink some wine over the next week or two to try to loosen up some emotions for the really dramatic chapters. I'm a little leery of that. But I think I'll experiment.
I really want these chapters to hit hard. I really want the readers to feel something. I could write those chapters as usual, no problem.
I need to reach for something deeper, if I can.
2 days ago