Tuesday, February 9
Like Liz, my brain fuel also comes from where I write and with whom I brainstorm--and those long texting conversations that turn into phone calls between Liz and me are absolutely the best! Plus, when we do retreats or writing trips together, sitting around a hotel dining room with a bottle of wine between us and our laptops in front of us while we take apart plot or characters is treasured time for me. But I also get fueled by what my dear editor, Lani Diane Rich calls "absorbing narrative."
Movies are a fabulous way to absorb narrative and learn about story structure. The storyteller has roughly two hours to get the job done, so anything extraneous has to go. Some movies do this flawlessly, others—not so much. Before I started working with Lani, I’d never watched a movie with the intent of learning structure before, but it’s a fascinating experience. Sister PJ and Husband would tell you it’s a pain in the butt to watch movies with me now because I kept stopping the DVD player to turn to them and say, “See? See how they did that transition?” or “There, perfect! Look how they gave us all that information in the first five minutes of the film.” Last Christmas, within the first twenty minutes of Love Actually, I'd stopped the film about three times. PJ finally said, “Touch that remote again and I'll smack you! Shut up and watch the damn movie!"
While I'm in the Discovery phase of a book--that's the time that I'm working out story, figuring out plot, letting those characters talk to me--I read voraciously. I watch movies until my eyes water, I listen to music, I pay attention to conversations around me at airports and in line at the grocery store or the movies. Reading other people's stories fuels my creative energy and watching how plot develops in a really good, or even a really bad, film helps feed my writer fire. Not only do you learn from other people's work, but it can inspire your own writing and fill up your creative well.
So talk to me. How do you fuel your writerly brain?