I'm having a pretty good writing day. Still having it even though it's evening time, which is rare for me. I've slowed down, but I'm still going. I've put the actual rewrite on the novel aside in favour of doing an in-depth planning exercise for it before I begin again. It's not my usual way of working. I can be impatient to get to the actual writing part. So I tend to write until I get stuck, plot a little way ahead, cuss, slash, excise, add, revise, fret, panic, rinse, re-read, repeat.
But I'm finding this new way illuminating. Essentially, I've sketched out the wants/needs/obstacles of each significant character, and their own story arcs. Now I'm taking each line of story arc and interweaving it into one document, listed as much as possible in the order of the general events I've already established for the story. It's helping me deepen my characters and their motivations, which in turn leads to intriguing plotting possibilities. I've used a different colour of text or highlighting for each character, so I can see at a glance where I've used them. That's helping me see which characters I could stand to employ more.
It occurred to me this afternoon while walking back from my office that I could create a similar visual map for settings and motifs. Maybe I could apply the technique to teaching creative writing. If I had students map out the stories we study in this way, it might yield some useful ways of perceiving and talking about structure. I'd have to be careful not to let them start seeing the map as programmatic. It's more like a sorting mechanism that lets you see what you have so that you can then proceed to build something from it, choosing which building blocks to use and which not. Brilliance probably happens in the deviations from conformity, not in the unquestioning adherence to it.
And blah, blah. Time to return, in my own distractable way, to alternating novel fiddling with crocheting, cooking, laundry, television, cleaning, etc. If I finish the planning exercise tonight, maybe I can start writing again tomorrow morning.
Oh; on the walk home this afternoon, I also came up with a couple of paragraphs of something that might become a short story some day. When I got home, I recorded it in audio instead of writing it down. First time trying that, too. I felt oddly bashful speaking the raw, unrevised text aloud, even though there was no-one around to hear me. But seeing how painful it's become to bend my wrists (arthritis and trauma), audio might be a good approach to start developing.
Eye candy (Or, considering she's a mermaid, probably more eye salmiakki): I did some unpacking of boxes in my office up at the university today, and found this lovely, a gift from a friend of mine. I think her sister made it.
She seems to be made of hollow papier mache on a light wire frame, so she weighs next to nothing. I hung her from the ceiling in my office, to disconcert or delight my students, according to their temperaments.