January 19th, 2012

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A Mole Boy Breakthrough!

I've been having this problem all week with feeling like it was a different day of the week than it actually was. Yesterday felt like Thursday all day, though I did go to choir instead of to ballet, so I seem to have kept it straight. I had a real breakthrough with the preschoolers, though. Mole Boy came out of his shell! Not only did he not cry at all, but he never went into his corner or his hiding place under the chairs and he participated in everything from the start. And then he spoke and interacted with people. Although we call it "choir" it's more of a general introduction to music, with some very basic music theory. We were playing a "concentration" game using various musical symbols (the clefs, different kinds of notes and rests, etc.). The little kids generally take a while to catch onto this game, not realizing that what you want to do is get a look at as many cards on the table as possible so that when you turn another one over, you'll have a better idea of where the match might be. Most of the kids keep turning over the cards that have already been turned over. But Mole Boy caught on right away and got really excited in coaching the others in where the matches were -- "No, it's over there! That one!" I feel like that was a major breakthrough. I don't know if I can take any credit other than in maybe creating and maintaining an environment where he eventually felt safe enough to relax, but it was still kind of cool to see the change from hiding and crying to leadership.

I didn't get much writing done, though I did plan the major showdown scene, and that then brought up some things that will need to be changed in previous scenes, so I decided to get a running start and go back through the previous 50 or so pages to fix those things and build to the new scene. I still have about 20 more pages to go through before I get to new stuff. Today I don't have any errands and have nothing on the to-do list other than writing. I also don't have to cook because I have tons of leftovers. I just have ballet class tonight. So I should get a good amount done if nothing distracts me.

I want to get this done so I can start digging into this mystery idea. I checked a bunch of "how to write mystery novels" books out of the library and will begin studying soon. However, I discovered that it's difficult to find school supplies when it's not August or September. Do you have to buy it all at the beginning of the year without restocking during the school year? I couldn't find a plain spiral notebook at Target -- the kind they have in packs of five for a dollar in August/September. They just had the fancy ones with stuff like various teen pop stars on the cover. I resorted to buying a binder so I can take my notes on notebook paper and then put them in the binder, but I really prefer spirals for this kind of work for the portability. I do my brainstorming on loose-leaf paper because I can rearrange it, but I like to put my research in spirals. I'll have to check one of the office supply stores.

Speaking of organizing material, have any of you writers out there tried Scrivener? It's software created by a novelist to organize research material, brainstorming type notes, character information, etc., and then link it all together with a manuscript. It looks like it would be a good way to keep details straight for something like a long-running (hopefully!) mystery series. But it also looks like it would allow for some truly epic procrastination. You could spend all day creating note cards and arranging them on the virtual cork board and then linking them and cross-referencing them with your research materials, and you'd feel like you'd done an entire day's work without adding a single word to the manuscript. Not that I can't do that sort of thing without technological help. Since I do better thinking and brainstorming away from the computer and writing by hand, it might result in a duplication of work, transferring handwritten notes to the computer, but then that added step might help synthesize free-form brainstorming into more concrete plot or character points that would then be a lot easier to keep track of. Then there's the fact that I'd have to use it on the new computer, but I write on the old computer. I guess I could always refer to the new computer as needed, but keep the distraction away while actually writing and then copy and paste my work into the new computer. Again, duplication of effort, but all the planning might speed up the productivity. They offer a free trial, so I may give it a shot and see if it fits my process, and then it's not very expensive software.

And now speaking of procrastination, it's time to get to work.