Backwards Day

On this “Backwards Day” in northern Nevada, we’re floating away on the rivers and streams full of rain and snow melt. Yes, we live in a desert, but “Nevada” literally means “snow covered.” Those with common sense are either safe and/or volunteering their energies stem the tides of liquid destiny. Others with less sense are fording the waterways simply because they can, forgetting that it’s possible to drown in two inches of bath water. There’s way more than two inches outside.

Here inside the World-Wide Headquarters, The Bride (Cassidy Carson) and I are dry by engaging in our separate literary efforts. She drafting romance and I editing/writing a draft, which is breaking a personal rule of mine: write straight through to the end. The problem is I’m stuck at twenty-seven chapters, so I’m going “backwards” to see if I can break through this wall. One way or another, this WIP will get finished this week.

As we’re on writing styles, I am a pantser, someone who writes from the gut without a road map to the finish. This style rewards spontaneous creativity, but the two problems is sometimes I get lost in the woods and I forget key points, like character names (as noted last week). The best solution for me is to combine the pantser and plotter philosophy with a Google spreadsheet that outlines these key points.

The column headers are basic and self-explanatory: “Chapter,” “Title,” “Who First,” “Who Last,” “Age,” “Call Sign,” “Role/Relation,” “What (Scene),” “Where,” “When,” and “Details.” I started yesterday and it’s saved me from embarrassing errors. Even better, I’m forced to look at character links and such, which I’d do anyway, but another flavor of editing certainly helps.

Maybe I’ve overcomplicated a simple task, and this idea won’t fit every writer’s style, but we’re all in a battle of wits with the English language. We should use every weapon at our disposal.

For those of you with a technological spin, here’s the Storify’d livetweet from Saturday. Hope it helps.

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