Friday, April 09, 2010

In defense of Playtime

Someone asked me recently what to do when the words stop
coming in the middle of a book. Of course, since I've
been at this for a long time, I had a list of things
the person could do, starting with work on another
book. She gave me a "are you nuts" kind of look until
I explained that I seldom have fewer than three books
going at the same time.

'Why?' she asked.

Simple! I get bored easily. So I skip from one novel to
another, refreshed and ready to work on the different story.
I've given a lot of thought to why I get bored with a
particular story and I think I have the answer.

I'm a plotter. That means before I begin to write I have
done a lot of research and I've detailed the story, usually
with a time line. I take an artist's sketch pad, a big one and
draw a long time in the middle one sheet. Just above the top
of the line I list the story points for the POV character.
The bottom line is for the hero, or the heroine if the hero is
telling the story. The villain goes on the bottom as well.
I'll add secondary characters, depending on their relationship
to the characters, either to the top or bottom of that center

But, unfortunately, or for me, fortunately, I know the whole
story even before it's been written. So, yep, I get bored.
However, with the time line, the character sheets I do before
I begin to write, and all my research notes, I can skip from
one novel to another, without having to reread everything
I've written on the novel I'm about to work on.

However, the title of these thoughts is 'In defense of Playtime'.
When nothing seems to work and the words stop, as they sometimes
do, then I put the computer away, pack up my notes and go play.
That means reading or running over to Biloxi,MS, going out
for a meal, or sitting down to watch a movie.

Usually, after I've had a chance to relax, and have a complete
change, I'm ready to write again. So, yes, I'll will say loud
and clear, there is a time in every author's writing life when
she/he needs to play.

Watch for 'Battlesong' coming in August
from Champagne Books.

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