Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Getting Visual

I've tackled a little art project this morning that I've been meaning to do for a while -- a collage for my 2nd book, "Sex on a Schedule". I think I'm about seven chapters in, give or take (I should know this, but this is an example of why I need the collage), but this book has been a little different than the last. When I wrote "Love and the Placebo Effect" I was a stay-at-home-mom. That isn't to say that I had loads and loads of free time, but I could multi-task. I was able to write while supervising my children.

This cover is almost as crappy as the original
cover for "Love and the Placebo Effect." But
that's another project.

My situation is a little different now, and has been for the last year and a half. I went back to work full-time. This means that I have only a few hours in the evening to do the things that I could stretch out over a whole day before: play with my kids, prepare meals, clean house, craft, and write. This has seriously put a cramp in my style. I wrote my first draft of "Love and the Placebo Effect" in six weeks, then spent a couple months revising. I was in the process of querying - that is, shopping for an agent - when I went back to work. I had started "Sex on a Schedule" and was really excited about it. I had a spunky new heroine with a bad case of hormones and a sexy, sarcastic hero with a southern drawl. (An editor would say, this is all backstory, get to the plot!)

Long story short, I have been writing in short spurts with long gaps in between. This causes me to forget where I am in the story and to lose the mood a bit. To help with remembering the story, I wrote out a detailed outline (something I didn't do with the first book until after it was done). But that doesn't always help me stay in the emotional space I need to occupy in order to continue writing. That's where the collage comes in.

I got the collage idea from Jennifer Crusie, my writing hero. She has a blog called Argh Ink with lots of interesting posts about writing. I recommend reading anything Jennifer Crusie writes - she's awesome. Anyhow, the idea behind the collage is that you put together lots of things that inspire you and remind you of your characters, plot, setting, etc. Your collage pieces could be bits of paper, pictures from magazines, color swatches, beads, whatever. You could go to Michaels and spend $50 or you could raid your junk drawer and magazine rack and see what you come up with. You know me, I raided my sewing room and paged through some magazines I got from work. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive, but it got the job done.

Not high art, but it'll do.

I've done a little section for the ex, the new love interest, and the heroine. Imagine a 30-year-old Daniel Craig with green eyes in one of those sexy fireman calendars. Imagine the brunette a little older and not so perfectly styled. The ex is "50 shades of beige" so don't bother to imagine him at all.

I plan to continue to add bits and pieces to the collage as I find them, but I'm hoping this does the job. I feel like I'm about ready to start writing again. I'm hoping to make some real progress this week, since I'm off work until next Monday. Wish me luck!

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