From Vision to Story

As of today, I’ve arrived at the last chapter of my proof. While I was teaching my daughter about cell division,  it led me to  pose a question during my meditation. Soon afterwards, I received an intense vision. It ended up in Unison, and it further clarified an expositional scene that is tantamount to the series as a whole.

Writing this book has been a long and winding road, where many times I thought I was going to go off course. Nevertheless,  all things happen for a reason. I had to go through all these read-throughs, so I could write a scene that makes my story stronger. Writing a book has been compared to running in a marathon. That’s a fairly accurate comparison!

Choreographing A Scene

I had a very creative week. As with many of my story breakthroughs, it happened at the gym, while running on the treadmill. I knew when I posed my story question, by the time my workout was over, I’d have my answer, but not necessarily to the question I asked. When it comes to tapping into the right brain, scenes typically appear out of order. I view the first draft as a puzzle, except I have no idea how many pieces exist until after I write, “The End.”

I put on the dance music playlist on my Ipod, started running, and asked my right brain to  show me a strong climax for Forever Valley.  I’ve done this several times before but was shown answers to different parts of my story; however, several days ago, I got what I asked for.  When I left the gym, I ran to my car, got out a pen from the glove box and wrote out the climax, which also included the completion of the character arcs. Now that’s a productive run!

The three questions I ask before I begin the scene choreography:

What characters are in the scene?

Where are they?

What’s the scene goal?

To get the best possible scene, I have to envision it first. I do this by running through it in pictures.  There can be no trace of language for this to work. It’s like watching a silent movie, and I formulate no opinions or judgements during the transmission. That’s left brain banter, and it’s a big no no when engaged in right brain work. I continue observing until something pops out at me. Once that happens, I begin to analyze the scene, interpreting what and why it’s happening.

What do the characters say?

How do they react?

I continue the analysis until the language syncs with the visuals.  This works so well, I never fear writer’s block or running out of ideas. With a strong visual, it’s hard not to come up with a strong scene.  The difficulty—for me, at least—is finding the most accurate words to describe it. That takes a lot more effort from me than scene creation.

For anyone interested, here is my method of tapping into the right brain.

  • Find a place or situation where you can disappear into your story world.    Working out, running, walking, taking a bath and lying down listening to music are some ways I connect to my right brain.
  • Pose the three questions, but do it without expecting answer to the questions you asked. Expectations are like a roadblock to the right brain.  Get rid of them, and you’re right brain will throw out some amazing ideas for other scenes in  your story.
  • Place your characters in the proper setting and watch them react, without any hint of language or judgements. There is no such thing as a stupid idea in this exercise.  Unlike real life, stupid oftentimes leads to brilliance in the right brain. Just keep watching stupid until it evolves into a brilliant scene. Being able to tap into the right brain at will makes writing entertaining and fast. Please let me know if this works for you. I always love to hear successful writer stories.

Love and light,


Final Is Never Final When it Comes to Writing

It’s now November 2012, and I still haven’t published Unison. I was aiming for an October release, but after three read-throughs of my proof, I found places for improvement.  My fourth proof is to be my final,  as I’ll be now scanning for typos. I’m ready to say goodbye to this book and move on.  I had some issues with Create Space as they sent me a proof of my old file. I’ve been on the phone with them for the last couple of days, and I’m happy with the way the situation was handled. They’re dealing with a new system which led to some confusion. These things happen, and I’ll still use their service as the interior book design they did is beautiful.

I got my edit back from Jessie’s Song, and I’ve been busy this month making improvements to some excellent suggestions made by Erica Orloff of Editing For Authors. I can’t highly recommend them enough. Thanks to Erica’s attention to detail, I’ve been able to elevate both my novels. Even the smallest suggestions she made led to deeper insights. For Unison, I used only their proofreading service, but after all the time I spent cleaning up the inconsistencies, I found their comprehensive edit service to be invaluable and time-saving.  I’m using this for Jessie’s Song, and it does help speed up the process.

My experience with publishing, thus far, has shown me I need to slow down my production line because of the proofing process which takes much longer than editing. From uploading to publication, I’m seeing that I’ll need at least four months before my book goes live. If I can keep up that pace, I should be able to publish three books by next December. We’ll see!

Lessons Learned During The Proofing.

  • When you get your first proof, assume it’s not ready for publication. All the story problems you thought were solved, weren’t. Changed character names which you thought you cleaned up are still there.  Which leads me to..
  • Get a professional edit. Proofreading isn’t enough. No matter how thorough you think you’ve been, a good editor will definitely find something you’ve overlooked. As objective as I am about my writing, another set of eyes is even more so.
  • If, Like me, you opted for only a professional proofread, assume the second proof that comes to you, is still not finished. After cleaning up the first proof, more inconsistancies will stand out.
  • In the third proof,  the awkward sentences will stand out more. This was my toughest edit as I kept working on these trouble spots until they no longer stood out.
  • The fourth proof, will strictly be my looking for typos,  and I’ll have another reader helping out.

The proofing stage has been the most challenging for me. It makes writing the first draft seem easier. This brings me to my current manuscript, Forever Valley. I put it on hold until this Monday. By then, I’ll have Jessie’s Song back for another edit. Afterwards, I’ll upload it to Create Space and start the four-month process in December.

I’ve learned patience through this whole ordeal, and the invaluable service a good editor provides. I’m already noticing less stress with Jessie’s Song because of this. With time, also comes experience as well. I always keep that in the back of my mind. Through all these trials, I’ve become a better writer and publisher. Furthermore, by accepting that mistakes will be made, both by myself and those I work with, I’m able to keep a level head and enjoy my writing. This is what I love to do, and I don’t want to lose sight of that.

Love and light,