W.O.L.F. Sector
Worlds Of Lesbian Fiction

News Archive for April 2012

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Avoidance Behavior Can Be Useful

Written by Kodi Wolf at 12:36 PM

My computer has been having issues, so I finally broke down and got a new one. I was hesitant (I hate disruptions to my routine, especially when it comes to something I use every day for just about everything), but my wife reminded me my last computer was 4 years old (ancient by technology standards) and could completely crap out on me at any time, so I agreed.

Most of the issues I was having with the old computer have been solved by the new one (after a couple weeks of troubleshooting non-related issues), so overall it's been a good change. Unfortunately, there's still a ton of stuff on the old computer that needs to be transferred and set up on the new one. And as always, when I'm faced with stuff that freaks me out, I do my best to avoid it until I can't, so it's been slow-going.

Anyway, I've at least gotten my essential programs, like Word and my Web site software, set up on the new computer, as well as my story files transferred, so that's allowed me to really indulge my avoidance behavior regarding having to deal with installing and troubleshooting programs on the new computer. Instead of getting that stuff set up, I've been working on organizing my story notes, which desperately need it.

For one of my stories, The Kindari Saga, I literally had a file called "Notes_to be sorted," which I finally emptied a few days ago by creating about a dozen new files for each character or subject the notes were about.

Of course, there's still another file simply called "Notes" that I've realized needs to be broken down into more individual files, so I'll actually have a shot at finding the info I need when I go looking for it (there's nothing more derailing to the muse than to spend half an hour looking for something you know you wrote down several months ago about what you're currently working on, but not be able to figure out which file you stashed it in). Then there's the file called "SeriesBits" that contains scenes and dialogue and plot ideas for the whole series of books, which are completely out of order and need to be grouped by time and/or character.

And of course, I need to do the same for the rest of my stories.

I'm also trying to get all the handwritten notes I made while my computers were out of commission for those two weeks of troubleshooting into the new computer where I'll be able to find and use them. Right now, they're scattered across several notebooks, which isn't very helpful. The other day, I was flipping through one of them and came across some stuff I'd completely forgotten about, so I definitely need to get this stuff catalogued.

It's also been exciting to go back over some of my older notes and pair them up with my newer ideas and see things really come together. When my notes were all over the place, it was difficult to see the connections. It's also easy to forget how far I've already progressed with a story when I just see a few files ambiguously labeled as "Notes" versus seeing over 40 files with character names and concepts and universe details.

It's sort of like how I put a jigsaw puzzle together. The first thing I do is pour out all the pieces on the table. Then, as I go through and flip each piece right-side-up, I set aside the border pieces. I also start to try to group the pieces by color. For a mountain scene, I separate the blue sky pieces from the white cloudy pieces, and the brown mountain pieces from the tan ground pieces, and the green tree pieces from the multi-colored flower pieces. Once all the pieces have been flipped upright, I put the border together to create the frame, and then I start on a particular group of pieces and see what I can put together. If I run into a dead end, I switch to another group. Eventually, I have sections of the puzzle that are large enough to start placing inside the frame, possibly even connecting them to the border or each other. It's only at the end, usually with monochromatic pieces like blue sky or water, that I have to break down and start trying to match the shape of the puzzle piece to another one.

Well, with organizing my notes, it's the same thing. Instead of being faced with a pile of what looks like unrelated bits, I'm building my frame, separating the pieces into like piles, and starting to see where the connections are between larger and larger sections. The more pieces I can fit together, the clearer the picture gets, and the easier it is to write the story.

So that's what I'm working on today. Wish me luck. :)