Bonjour, tout le monde!

It’s been a pretty good week for me vis-รก-vis creativity; I’ve been struggling with starting my novel yet again, and I’d been losing hope for it. However, I realised that what I was doing was struggling to fit an idea that I’d been working on since I had started uni to my current style and outlook on life. The story was simply about awesome technology in an awesome city which, while appealing, makes for an incredibly dull plot.

So what I did was revamp the characters, give up my sentimental hold on the plot and shook it up a bit without disturbing the overall flow, and approach the planning of the novel from a completely different angle. The important part (interestingly enough related to one of my dayjob tasks involving a bit of data modelling) was to consider not simply the overall flow of the plot, but to consider events, interested parties and people. By using these and branching off interesting, useful properties facts and sub-events from these, I was able to relate them to each other more organically, and even developed brand new items for the plot that now that I’ve realised it, make complete logical sense. Why didn’t I see them before, I ask myself!

Really, mind-maps are an invaluable tool. If you’re writing something, I highly recommend setting out relationships between characters, events and entities in this fashion. It allows your mind freer range to wander and build a convincing world without being forced. The real benefit is being able to step back and analyse your story from many different angles, free-form, almost like floating nodes in a 3D model.

The characters, I’ve fleshed out significantly as well. The heroine is no longer simply a smartass, she’s a neurotic, obsessive and self-obsessed woman on the edge of a breakdown as her self-doubt over her own abilities escalates with every case her department gets passed over for (I know, I know, but write what you know, eh?) Her best friend isn’t just a fun-loving party girl who suddenly develops a drinking problem: She may be bright and bubbly, but she hates conflict and avoids it whenever possible, even if it means getting blitzed out her face to duck the music. The gruff detective sidekick? Well, okay, he’s still a tough Brooklyn cop, but he gets to be much more protective of the main character which helps me to write his reactions now that I know what drives him.

I’ve also finally come up with a marketing campaign for my graphic design sideline. Just need to set aside some time for it, now! Y’know, what I need is that time-altering sand timer that Hermione had… Ooh, or Bernard’s Watch. Anyone remember Bernard’s Watch? Old skool, yo.

Tata for now!

M.