Every writer has a different way of attacking a project. I like to write scenes by hand in a cafe first. I follow Natalie Goldberg’s strategy that she shared in her book, WRITING DOWN THE BONES. This is my shortened adaptation of her technique. I go to a local coffee shop like the Main Street Beanery in Zeeland and buy a mocha. That is how I rent one of their tables for a few hours. As much as I love my laptop, it stays home because it holds too many distractions with Wi-fi and so on. Then I begin to write following Goldberg’s instruction to keep the hand moving at all times. That’s when my characters start talking to each other. While I’ll fine tune these conversations as I bring together what I call a semi-polished rough draft, the basic flow of the dialogue usually stays in.
When possible, I like typing these scribbled scenes into the computer on the same day that I’ve written them. That’s when I can all the internal editor to say some of the things that I suppressed during the writing session. These scenes are mostly dialogue at this point although there will be some fragments of action and description. I can almost guarantee that I won’t have a single transition. I find them enormously difficult to write.
After writing my script, I put my inner cinematographer to work. She’s one of the weakest links on my project’s design team, so I help her along with photos and films. For this latest project, I’ve also been watching Jane Austen’s PERSUASION, which is set in a similar time period. I hope to rent AMADEUS someday because that really fits the setting for this fantasy: late 18th century Vienna. I worked in details about the thick glass and the floorplans of townhouses. And here’s where I follow the advice of Sharon Darrow, who suggested in a lecture that writers choose details that the character responds to. She also recommended not expecting too much too soon from a draft. I try to take that to heart. Unfortunately for my productivity levels, I usually have to bring things to a certain level in order to know what my character has thought and experienced before I move on. And that point is what I call the semi-polished rough draft.
I already have quite a bit of dialogue written already for Chapter 4 from a cafe session. Now it’s time to build the scenes and pound out a few effective transitions that will get Katrin from point A to point F after stops at points B, C, D and E.