How to Draw your SSM

May 10, 2013

No, not that SSM. After a few false starts, I’m finally making progress on my new Holly Lisle ‘How to Think Sideways’ lessons. I asked my family for this course for Christmas, and my sister’s side came through, paying for my first eight lessons! Thanks, sis.

I remember I took a stab at lesson one back in February sometime, downloading the worksheets before going off to Williams for a write-in with Elizabeth and Nixy, and I got through at least one exercise that day, the shadow room, which is a lot of fun. I think I did my first visual clustering exercise back in February, or maybe squeezed it into May when I was sick and tired of editing. But my attempts to get some Thinking Sideways done during April were completely squeezed out by Camp Nano. (Getting to 50k in a month is never as easy as I think it’ll be.)

But I’ve been going a little gangbusters on HTTS since May started, finishing lesson 1 in a few days, (where you’re introduced to four fearsome villains of the mind: Safe, Perfect, Victim, and Feel–doing battle with each in an introductory exercise.) On Sunday afternoon,  I touched based with Elizabeth about her own experiences with the first few lessons in the course, and read through lesson 2. The next day, I started the lesson 2 homework: a giant six-page cluster of free association that Holly calls a Sweet Spot Map, or SSM for short.

DSCF8067 (Small)

My first SSM is almost complete now. There’s a starting ‘node’ on each of the pages: Things I love, things I fear, things that make me shiver, and so on. From these six starting places, you just let your brain free-wheel and draw your own things to connect, creating a big cluster of things, names, and concepts that make sense in your own inscrutable brain. It’s a lot of fun.

I’m not quite sure what I do with this map now. That’s in lesson 3. 🙂

 

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Short story revision process is underway!

December 8, 2012

Okay, I finally got started on my modified revision process for ‘The Storm Mirror’ this morning, and I think it’s working out pretty well so far. I’ve finished the lesson 1 exercises, more or less – I didn’t want to go through the Despair worksheet the same way, so instead I just took my printed pages and marked them with highlights in different colors to represent the different parts of Despair – Green for the ‘Keeper stuff’ that I really like, Orange for broken elements that need to get cut or fixed, blue for worldbuilding issues, and purple for character issues.

I decided to either mark character/worldbuilding positives in green or ignore them, because I didn’t have enough extra colors to keep them all straight, and using the same colors for positive and negative elements seemed like a recipe for trouble when I wasn’t doing the full worksheet. Yellow was supposed to be the ‘So boring I skip over it’ color, but I’m pleased that I didn’t need to use that once. 😉

I also did the third target worksheet for Lesson 1, where you imagine your ideal story and put your finger on the three biggest changes you need to make – they lined up rather neatly ind the end, middle, and beginning of the story respectively (but they’re not the WHOLE end, middle, or beginning.)

I’ve decided that for reasons of time I’m going to pick and choose which lessons I’m doing with Storm Mirror, so lesson 2 is a skip – I’m happy with the characters, don’t think I need to do much work with them. Step 3 is the scene inventory, and hopefully I can get some more work done on that this evening before I turn in.

Onward!


My new voyage of learning to revise…

December 1, 2011

Now that November is over, I’m going to start concentrating on revising somewhat – not revising the writing I was just doing for Nano, though. At the moment, what I’m excited about rewriting “Won’t somebody think of the Children.”

And so – I put my money where my fingers are and registered for the Holly Lisle How to Revise your Novel course this evening. It sounds like there’ll be a lot of hard work going through the Holly Lisle plan, but I’ve heard good things about it too. I’ll be sure to tell you what I think about the course as I make my way through it over the coming months.

The first lesson appears to be about figuring out what sort of story you want your book to tell, which sounds like a good place to start. There are worksheets to fill out about what you were inspired by before you started writing, (I’m glad I found an archived Nanowrimo forums thread where Hamilton people were discussing “What I’m writing this year”,) and evaluating what your novel turned into as you wrote it and what you think it could become.

The lessons are sent out one per week, and I’m hoping that I can more or less stick to that schedule. Wish me luck.

If you did Nanowrimo – what are your plans for learning and revising over the next eleven months?


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