“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

― Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

I feel like that about stories sometimes. I get flung willy nilly into the middle of the story – it’s happening all around me and it’s all I can do to scramble around playing catch up. Trying to get the words all down before the swarm bursts into a thousand separate parts again.

Some days that works better than others.

I have to use different strategies in my writing depending on what else is going on and where I’m at that day, week, hour or minute. I haven’t found any consistent “process” works for me. Yet. I still hang on to the belief that will change. You know, once I hit that milestone of the 10th novel, or 20th I’ll start doing things the same way every time (because that’s how the rest of my life has worked?!?!?). Okay, not so likely. But for some reason I’m still clinging to the possibility. In the meantime, I try all kinds of different strategies to drag the stories out of my head and onto the page. Often these attempts line up with NaNo related events.

Santa-Baby-CoverThis time around, I decided to try something a little different, and actually make the cover of the stories before the stories themselves are even outlined. I was only going to do this for one short story that I’m going to work on for NaNoCamp, working title is Santa Baby, but I got caught up in the exercise and ended up doing many, many different ones.

And for whatever reason, it’s working really well for me. The ideas are flowing, bonds between stories are forming and language is gelling. For the first time (in a long time) I feel ready to get the words to the page.

Are you doing NaNoCamp? If so, what does your process look like for getting the stories out of your head and into the world?


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