Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Confessions of a failed knitter

Little story: In middle school I drew a lot. Like, a lot. Most of my sketches were of women -- fairies and princesses and crazy 18th century gowns and hairdos -- and they were pretty okay for a kid. As I was drawing, I'd devise whole stories for these characters, and eventually I decided it was time for me to draw not just the character but the background too. I had it all in my mind, the way the castle and grounds should look. I even checked out some books at the library to see pictures of the sort of thing I had in my mind.

When I sat down with my pencil and sketchbook, I was ready to go. And blew it. Big time. I started over, and even a third time, with similar results. I just couldn't ever make the background match my character. It always looked too cartoony or too... something. Wrong.

That's how I am with "knitting in" scenes in stories. Yeah, I can write a scene out of order and make an attempt to write toward it, but almost every time I have to significantly change it because the scene I wrote out of order never quite matches the story as it feels by the time we get to that scene.

Years ago I took a writing class with Holly Lisle where she suggested writing the "candy bar" scenes to get started on a project. You know, those couple of scenes you just really, really can't wait to write and are compelled to sketch out long before the story gets to that point, just to "see" them on paper? After roughing them out, per her process, you'd put those scenes in order, fill in the blanks to get from one candy bar scene to the next, and *insert-miracle* poof, you'd have a complete story. Gotta say I love this process. It sounds so amazing, and I am super envious of folks who can make it work.

But I haven't been able to replicate it. I have a whole folder of candy bar scenes of books that went somewhere else. I still love those scenes, and they were great inspiration for developing and getting started with stories, but they never made it into the final books and will never be seen by anyone but me.

So, yeah. I can't knit, neither yarn nor story. But I admire those of you who can.