Character Sketch: Lucinda Brubaker

The character sketches were a collaborative effort; a rough road map to understanding our characters. As we continued to co-write Charlotte’s Journey, this was a way to keep the “shape”, or a baseline, of a character in mind; so we didn’t create two competing arcs as we wrote first drafts.

Lucinda is an interesting character to write. Though we do meet her early in the story, for the most part, she won’t be there. We only know this character through her pupil (as James says, “through memoir and imagination”). She’s the constant teacher and it’s her influence (as it affects Charlotte) that we truly see, yet through those lessons, we get to know her.

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CC.029.L.2 | Blue Steals A Pie

This was my first attempt at writing in Blue’s voice, and if I do say so myself, I think I completely missed the target (so completely I hit the bulls-eye three targets over). It’s also the first time I’ve ever tried to write a character that someone else first established. It was an interesting experience, and one that showed me I need a better process to internalize an external voice. After talking with James about it, I realized I needed to go back through the sections he wrote, paying close attention to Blue’s voice, to learn the nuances of it and how he speaks.

This whole section was intended mostly as a gag, i.e. Blue steals a pie, but as per my style, that wasn’t enough for me. I needed a deeper purpose, so that’s why I found Charlotte dealing with an internal struggle about she and her companions acting like thieves. We’ll see if it remains in the final cut, but it showed me something more about my writing process and need. Continue reading “CC.029.L.2 | Blue Steals A Pie”

Why Do I Like Storytelling?

Recently, my partner Candice asked me a question:

“Why do you like storytelling?”

That’s—a really good question. One I’m a little disappointed it’s taken me this long to reflect on. I think asking “why” is important to understand the heart/core/meaning of the things we do. If we don’t ask why, we don’t understand, and if we don’t understand something, then we have no control over it; no ability to improve. In the creative world that translates into an inability to create. Continue reading “Why Do I Like Storytelling?”

CC.008–009.L.2 | Lucinda Meets Magic

Writing this scene brought me head to head with the concept of “physical space”. When I started describing the tents that Charlotte was cutting through, I drew multiple maps trying to make it work (and in the end still didn’t quite get there). There’s definitely a Central Pillar post in there; James and I talked about the need to get away from the computer and physically move ourselves, just as our characters do. So fun times to come from that. Continue reading “CC.008–009.L.2 | Lucinda Meets Magic”

Character Sketch: Sandy (Lane)

The character sketches were a collaborative effort; a rough road map to understanding our characters. As we continued to co-write Charlotte’s Journey, this was a way to keep the “shape”, or a baseline, of a character in mind; so we didn’t create two competing arcs as we wrote first drafts.

Sandy is androgynous through terrifying reputation, and we’ve challenged ourselves to relate this without using any pronouns for…Sandy. It’s turned out to be kind of fun, and surprisingly, not as hard as we thought. Read Sandy’s character sketch closely and you’ll see what we mean…
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Reflection | PLAY 001: Longhand Jam in the Woods

A few weeks back I posed myself a challenge: on a trip into Algonquin Park, I would spend my morning writing ritual doing so longhand and compare it to my usual experience writing by keyboard. It was an experiment in response to an (on-going) conversation James and I have about the skill, and it was quite eye-opening—just not in any of the ways I planned. Continue reading “Reflection | PLAY 001: Longhand Jam in the Woods”

PLAY 001: Longhand Jam in the Woods

I had a conversation with James last night (well, by the time you’re reading this, it will have been many days ago, but let’s just agree that “recently” James and I spoke) about writing by hand.

James has already written on this topic on Adventures in Storytelling in his article, No, You’re Analog! A Writer’s Strategy. If you haven’t read it yet, you should—there’s some great stuff in there—but as part of it he looks at the reasons why, as a writer, he prefers writing first drafts by hand.

In the comments, I added my own thoughts on why I don’t write by hand (despite loving the sensation of analogue). My main argument is that my hand can’t keep up with my thoughts when I write longhand. I need the “speed” of a keyboard to keep my thoughts flowing freely (and clearly). James rebutted with a question, “If we were to time the difference in speed between longhand and keyboarding, would we actually find a difference?” He’s confident the answer would be negligible. Continue reading “PLAY 001: Longhand Jam in the Woods”

Why Does the Shaman Need the Fire?

“Writing is a dog’s life, but the only one worth living.”
— 
Gustave Flaubert

They descend upon the site, recalling last session’s twists and turns, some reenacting key moments, others content to smile like a conspirator before revealing their theories for tonight’s installment. They banter and question; probe and dissect. A tense excitement hangs in the air. Tonight promises to wrap up loose threads, and reveal the shadowy presence of the next arc. The group makes their way through the dark to the single glowing flame, barely more than a spark, that burns in the centre of the fire pit. Each has brought a log of wood, and the telling will only last as long as the wood burns—though its impact will linger on long into the night, the next day, and beyond.

As the group settles into the circle around the fire, the wood stacked within arms reach so as to not ruin the rhythm of the telling, the Storyteller appears silently from the darkness. There is no ruckus to proceed the Storyteller’s coming, no fanfare to follow. There is the fire; there is the circle. There is the Story. Continue reading “Why Does the Shaman Need the Fire?”

CC.007.L.2 | Charlotte & Raul at a party!

I really started having fun writing this section. Raul is, without a doubt, an absolute blast to write. I was proud of how the scene between Charlotte and Vilnius played out, too. Strangely (thought probably not that strange), I found I was completely off base with Charlotte. I misunderstood how she’d be feeling here, and only after a conversation with James did I start to see where I’d gone wrong (this is where Charlotte’s character sketch came in real handy to get back on track). She’s our main character—the narrative literally follows her around—so it makes sense I’d need more time to understand her since her presence fills so much. I’ll get there, though, and this is one step along the journey.
Continue reading “CC.007.L.2 | Charlotte & Raul at a party!”

Planning My Way To Q: a 3-Stage Experiment in the Creative Process

“I only write when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes at nine every morning.” — William Faulkner

I haven’t finished a story in… years. Articles, sure. But a full-fledged short story—not since before the end of my undergrad. Even my final creative writing project was handed in as a less than final draft. I would sit down with the beginning of the story and a picture of several neat scenes in my head. I’d muddle through from the start, hoping I’d stumble my way into a setup that would allow those scenes to happen. In other words, I’d have a clear image of scene-Q, I’d formulate a quick, barebones outline to get started, write the first line… And lose my way on scene-D, long before I got anywhere near Q. I could see the parts, but when it came to writing the prose, I struggled to get myself to the finish.

In short: my writing process was not working for me. Continue reading “Planning My Way To Q: a 3-Stage Experiment in the Creative Process”