Thursday, July 29, 2010
Post 7: Resurfaced
Been a bit lax on my writing hours since Jill’s Bang the Keys seminar as far as actual core writing of My Story, but have spent a bunch of time getting down some necessary plot and story elements. One of the things I most enjoyed about Jill’s class, aside from spending time around smart talented writers eager to learn, and soaking up Jill’s obvious passion for writing and teaching, were the timed writing exercises she directed. The two that impacted me the most, were a guided meditation where we visualized our performance of our just set Six Month goal, and where we structured the plot of our story to match that of an existing published story.
In the first case, she led us on a mindfulness meditation where we focused on our breath to find a nice calm spot. I found a nice calm spot. Then she suggested the prompt of visualizing the pages of a day calendar flying off in old fashioned movie style, including our major, and micro, goals in the sequence of pages. The image that immediately came to me was of printed pages of Resonant Frequency stacking up in a loose leaf binder as the calendar pages flew off. Since then I’ve added the image of the calendar pages flying off and becoming the pages of RF in the note book. True, this is only visualization, and it’s much easier to see the pages, than write the pages, but the instantaneous appearance of the image, was empowering. My relaxed meditative self, has confidence in me.
For the second exercise, I chose Fight Club, which in many ways is very close to the plot/theme of RF. I do intend to redo the exercise with a significantly different structured story, but this one had it’s own utility. As I rearranged the structure to match the tension filled placing the end first of Fight Club (Jack/Tyler with a gun shoved in his mouth), and then work through my the story end first and working back to finish what was presented first. A couple things popped out: a) It would be a very derivative and expected way to tell the story, and not for me b) it got me thinking about what I could do to provide a better hook in the opening of the first chapter. The thought faded and didn’t resurface until I found myself spilling out a “prelude’ to the first chapter with an amazing hook that also adds a bit of back-story. It’s simply a rather dramatic episode that occurs, a year to the day, before we meet Carl, in his unique, but somewhat subdued form in Chapter 1.
Another, realization came from reading How to Write a Damn Good Novel Using the Power of Myth (and no it's not THAT James Frey.) Along with a couple needed reminders on plot structure, it also dawned on me that I don’t need to create a Hero’s Journey for Carl, he will create it inside his delusional bubble, which is a hell of a lot easier than me arranging reality into the Hero’s journey.
Actually got some of the "prelude" written at one of the few picnic table by The Falls below the observation platform where good ole Alexander Hamilton keeps watch. The statue, always makes me both proud of the history of The Falls and Paterson, and sad that more people don't take advantage of this special and unique destination. Hamilton, looks quite lonely frozen there up, literally, on a pedestal, turning green and, if I were him, dreaming of his vision of building a city around the power of falling water.