World Building and Backstory
For one of those 'just because' gifts, my wife gave me this book. "Ideas". It's a wealth of horizontal lines. Every page contains these lines. There are no inspirational quotes, pictures of Midwestern farm motifs, or black and white close-ups of rocks in mossy brooks. In fact there's no 'fluff' of any kind. Just the clean and sterile lines. Lines without Distractions. It's like Doctors without Borders only less charitable.
I had never been one to take a simple notebook as a useful tool for mapping out stories and ideas. That is, I've never taken it seriously until now. There is something primal and raw about pen and paper that is lost entirely on the word processor. For one, I don't have the squiggly red line under all my many misspellings. The squiggly red line is the jarring death of the natural flow of the writing process. Every time it snakes onto the page, I stop, grab the mouse and right-click the word in order to correct the spelling error. We all do this. I can't think of many people with the self-discipline not to correct their mistakes right away. Yes, I could turn the damn thing off, but no, that would be far too much work. (You don't even want to know how many times I've had to stop and fix my spelling on this paragraph alone).
And unfortunately, or fortunately, I was not born a secretary and therefore do not possess the gift of perfect typing. My fingers stumble, and I will quite often 'fat finger' the keys.
These two little things take so much away from the process.
I've begun building the world of the Dream story in this book. I've started, naturally at the beginning, with the origin of the Dream. I can't say at this point if any of the work done in "Ideas" will end up in the actual novel. But the uninhibited process is allowing me turn these abstract, ever-changing ideas into a concrete foundation for the story. Every good fictional universe, even those involving magic or the supernatural are bound by rules. It helps to prevent a 'deus ex' ending and it gives the story credibility. Solid rules for the universe also help to not insult your reader's intelligence. Writing with pen and paper has helped me establish those rules and has given me tremendous freedom.
In other new: I'm on vacation for the week and I plan to 'blog' at least once a day. I can't promise each entry to be inspiring and life changing, But my hope is that if I can constantly keep writing, by the time work starts again I'll be in the habit of writing more often. The site does get a lot more traffic on days that new posts go up. I'm hoping to keep with this trend. I'm also hoping not to be boring. We'll see.