I think in pictures. Sure, you say, so do you, right? Well, I haven’t ever met anyone quite like me, which is understandable considering the variety and wonder of life on this planet. For me, it’s like having a flashcard with a picture for every word you have ever learned and ordering those flashcards in order to create sentences that have meaning. Every word out of my mouth is accompanied by a flash of a picture in my head. Some of those flashcards have other flashcards associated with them (think a word association game). Sometimes, those associations are not always apparent. Sometimes, the pictures on the flashcard have nothing to do with the meaning of the word itself. For example, the word Flabberghasted in my head brings up a picture of a boy in my high school drama class named Jason. Why? Because Jason once told me it was his favorite word. Whatever the picture for that word was before that conversation with Jason, it was permanently replaced by his face.
So why am I even talking about this. Well, because this has been a supremely useful earning tool for me. In college, I would take notes so that I didn’t have to ever look at them again. The information on the note page was associated with the picture of the page in my head. I didn’t need to look at it again because the neural pathways to the information started with the picture of the page it was on. As for my writing, this tool has become indispensable to me. I never used it on purpose for creative writing, but when I started writing Kissing Demons, it became a tool I honed into a skill. I tell other writers that I don’t use outlives, but the truth is, I just don’t have to write them down.
I form a picture in my head of where my book begins, and then I form a new picture for each new scene and I map the outline in picture in my head. For Falling Angels, I did this several years ago, when I first started writing it, but I lost that copy of FA and I didn’t pick it up again until late last year. The map of the story was in my head from the first draft, and I thought it was enough, but it hasn’t been.
So, today I am meditating. I am forming pictures and re-outlining my story. I know how it ends, but I have to get there and I need to remap Ambrose’s journey. I like doing this, but it takes time and practice. Once I’m done, my story–my book–will be ready to be finished. I said I would get it out in June, and I fully expect to stick to that deadline. I even have an editor lined up thanks to Veronica Del Rosa.
I finally decided on a name for my Dragonswan short: Long for Freedom. It will be the prequel to a full length PNR novel called Long for Justice (Margaret and VanCamp). The next two novels in the series will be Long for Peace (Maggie and I haven’t figured out a name yet) and Long for Love (Gretchen and Long).