Follow the secret lives of Moonlighters Carrie Hinkel-Gill and Margay Leah Justice.
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Monday, April 13, 2009

Blank Canvas

Good morning/afternoon/evening everyone!

I'm the unpublished portion of the trio, so I hope you'll follow along with me in my journey to become published. I guarantee it will be an exciting ride!

Today is a great day for me. I feel like it is truly my first step forward in my journey. That may sound corny to some of you, but in some ways I feel it's very true. While I would be visited by my characters from time to time, it wasn't until this last week that I have been able to eat, sleep and drink my stories. It seems that everyday some new idea pops into my head, where before it might have been once a week and in some cases, once a month. It's as if my head has finally cleared and the gates of inspiration have opened so far as to the point of flooding! It's a terrifying and awesome experience! Now, I just have to figure out how to fit my life into my writing schedule.....

I suppose this would be a good time to tell you a little bit about myself. Instead of offering you the laundry list that is my academic career, I'll provide you with some insight into how I go from a blank page to the finished product. I've always considered myself a conceptual thinker because when I sit down to write anything, be it a creative blog or a story or even an analysis of someone else's work, I'm not always sure what I am going to write about or what direction I will be heading in. It might seem like a dreadful habit, but it's the complete truth and has been utterly successful for me in both my technical and creative pieces.

Much like any painter, I start with a blank canvas, dump the colors onto the palette (data into my brain), let it stew for a bit and see what nuggets float to the top. If writing a technical or analytical piece, I have to let the nuggets stew a little longer because I need to see how the nuggets fit together before I can effectively start writing. If it's a creative piece, finding the right nugget is more important than direction because that can change once the characters are conceived, so I just take a nugget and use it to add some color to my canvas. Sometimes, the nugget is exactly the right one I need to complete the intended picture, but most times that first nugget proves to be the start of something entirely different, so on to the next nugget and a clean canvas.

For example, I had originally found inspiration for this blog entry in the form of the BBC America's televised competition for the next Joseph in Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End Production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Any Dream Will Do, that originally aired in the U.K. in 2007, but is being aired as new programming now.

The exact nature of the inspiration wasn't clear to me when I first started typing. Originally, I thought I was just going to talk about the different aspects of the show, but as the blog post took on a life of it's own, I realized that the topic of the show itself wasn't meant for this forum. What I did discover is that it was meant to be the first brush stroke on a different canvas and that this particular canvas had a different story to tell. How did I know that? I didn't, at least not until I got to the fourth paragraph.

This brings me to one of my writing philosophies, "sometimes you have to write a lot of junk (words) before you find exactly what you're looking for but just because you don't need something you've written now, doesn't mean you won't need it in the future." For this purpose, I save everything I cut from articles and blog posts because I never know when I'll have a use for it. It's also the main reason I always carry a writing notebook with me because you never know what you'll find, when you'll find or how important it will be until after you've written it.

So, that's what I hope we can discuss a little bit today, what inspires that first brush stroke, that first sentence for you? How long after you start writing that you realize what you started with isn't connected to the story you're going to tell but merely a pathway to it? How often does that initial bit of writing get used elsewhere?

Thanks for hanging out with me today, I look forward to hearing about your experiences!

If you'd like to read more on what I have to say about Any Dream Will Do, please check out Carrie's World Blog.

Oh, and don't forget to check back in tomorrow for a Keta Diablo!

Have a great day and I hope you find as much mayhem as you can handle today!


9 Moonbeams (comments):

Keri Ford said...

Carrie, I save everything, too. I have saved scenes that I've cut and will NEVER fit in back in that story. But then never really know, do you?

The blog is LOVELY! Good luck.

Gracen Miller said...

Hi, Carrie. I save everything I cut too. Sometimes it works back into the story and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes it works itself into a totally separate story. *shrugs* You just never know.

As for that beginning step of a story, my Chapter 1's rarely stay in the final product. It's usually either rewritten or I pick up with Chapter 2.

I can't say any one thing inspires a story in me. Sometimes I feel like Dr. House because the craziest thing will inspire this elaborate story and the two never seem related. *laughs* But seriously, all it takes is a word, or a picture or a song, not much of anything really to inspire a story. And since I'm a pantser, I have never written from an outline, although I'm finding outlines are a great way to keep me focused, but if I need to go off the track, that's fine too. But while I'm a pantser, I still usually basically know what will happen at the ending. It's not set in stone and can change.

I'm notorious for writing scenes that will happen much later in the book. I just don't always know what happens between the two scenes. I've never had any problem getting there though.

Great blog, I'm sure I forgot something, but I'll respond again if I think of it.

BTW, I'm technically NOT the 2nd poster, so the 2nd poster prize is still up for grabs!!

Carrie said...

Thanks Keri!

Congratulations, by the way, for being the first one to comment today because you won the Golden Cyber Kiss from me and my fellow Moonlighters!

Sierra Wolfe said...

Hi Carrie! Great post today! Can't wait to follow you on your way to publication. You will definitely get there!

I hate to admit it, but I rarely save anything I cut. I usually figure if I cut it, it's for a reason. There have been times I wished I had saved something, but I've found that I can usually recreate it from memory. A lot of times, the second version is better than the first one I wrote. That's not always the case, but usually. Of course, this is my own experience, so I'm sure it's different for others.

Carrie said...

Thanks Sierra and congratulations for winning the Cyber Cookie Kiss!


Sheila Deeth said...

I save everything, then wonder where I've put it, then tidy up my computer, then wonder again. Sometimes I even come across something I've forgotten and reuse it in a completely different way.

Nice to meet you.

Carrie said...

Thanks Shelia and it's nice to meet you too!

Yes, I have lost some saved stuff on occasion, but now I have one WORD doc per story/series and keep everything organized that way. It helps a lot!

Margay Leah Justice said...

Hey, Carrie, sorry I didn't comment earlier. I was overwhelmed by a project that I needed to finish. Ah, the life of the writer! I used to save everything, but that got to be very cumbersome, so I went through a period where I threw out whatever didn't make the grade. Now, I save some things that I think I might want to re-insert somewhere else in a particular story, but if it doesn't make it in, it eventually gets tossed.


Sierra Wolfe said...

Woohoo! I love chocolate. :D