Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I'm a Writer, and I Have the Giant Story Board to Prove It

I'm a writer.  

There, I said it.  No qualifications, no stipulations, just fact.

I. Am. A. Writer.

Take THAT crappy little self-esteem.  Take THAT fear of someone calling me out as a wannabe.  Take THAT hideously negative voice in my head.  You three can just go to hell (and take all your similarly related friends with you).

Why this burst of confidence?  I made a purchase, and it arrived today.  I haven't taken it out of the rather large box yet, but that will be more of a formality than anything--checking to make sure it's in good shape and all that.  And then there's the whole hanging it part, which is going to definitely be a two person job, because CUMBERSOME, MUCH?

Oh, sorry.  It's a 4X6 bulletin board.  It's going to take up a majority of one of the walls in the dining room, which I'm now using as a writing spot.  I had to schedule a delivery time with some company called CEVA because the thing is so big.  Fortunately, cork boards aren't that heavy, even when they're rather large.

It's going to be my story board.  ("Stories" board?)

I've never had one before, mainly because I never really planned stories before.  I'd get an idea, write down notes, etc., but never really PLAN.

The irony of this is not lost on a former college teacher of Comp. 1 and 2--classes in which I pushed the organized approach to writing.  But those were academic papers; creative fiction doesn't need that sort of thing, right? RIGHT?

A while ago (3-4 weeks?) I was happily going about writing on my two works in progress in my usual manner: I'd write a scene whenever "inspiration" struck and then go along and try to fill in the gaps when I had to actually MAKE myself write.  I had vague notions of where things were going and figured I'd make it all fit as I went along.  I mean, they're just rough drafts, they're supposed to be full of all sorts of continuity errors and WTF WERE YOU THINKING moments.

The pieces were coming along-ish, but very ploddingly.  I decided that what I really wanted was to write something--namely a short story--polish it to perfection, and get started with the whole submitting and receiving rejections dance.  I wanted to begin my collection of concisely worded form letters (which could have exercised the truest concision by just printing "HELL NO") that I could take out and laugh at once someone finally said yes.  And I just really wanted to have something, anything almost, actually finished.

So I went to the old idea file (which safely resides in my dropbox folder; technological failure will not kill MY dreams) and picked one I could enjoy writing and one that wouldn't require a lot of real-world research.  (One of the books I'm writing is going to require maaaaaaaajor research due to my rabid desire for accurate depictions--or at least plausible ones.)

I checked over my notes and started writing, just letting the general idea flow through me and choose the direction of the story.

Unfortunately, that direction ended up being outward--as in the fucking short story turned from an iguana into Godzilla.  (It has yet to decimate Tokyo, but then it hasn't even been written yet.)  The story idea ballooned into a full-length novel idea.  My husband thought it was strange that the reason I was resting my forehead on the table and sighing was because I was in the midst of an unstoppable idea storm, but he didn't get how badly I'd wanted this to be a SIMPLE SHORT STORY.

The kicker was that I wasn't even sure this irradiated idea would work.  The creative part of my brain had just taken off running, paying no mind to the practical part it left dazed and confused on the curb.  And this story had so many different parts to it, and a complexity I didn't usually aim for, that I knew there was no way to just write my way through it.  I needed to know if the story was feasible BEFORE I started writing.

So the practical part, somehow, collared the creative part, fed it a valium, and was like "I'm taking over for the moment; you just have a nap . . . or a drool."  And I realized that tippity tapping bits and pieces on a laptop was not going to work for this one.  I needed a more tangible means of planning; I needed to storyboard.

Sadly, all I could find in the house was a 2x3 dry erase board.  I knew it wouldn't be big enough (not for this idea and certainly not for more than one novel's idea), and I really wanted the ease of reorganization a bulletin board would offer.  I decided to use the piddly little board anyway while hunting down a "real" storyboard--one I wouldn't have to tape my notecards to.

Turns out a nice, big REAL story board . . . isn't the cheapest thing.  I realized that if I bought that board, I'd be admitting who I really was, who I wanted to be, and what I wanted to do.  I'd be opening myself up to all the horrors writers (especially not published ANYWHERE ones) have to deal with.  I'd be . . . vulnerable *shudder.*

I tested the purchasing waters with my husband who, understandably, hedged a bit.  (Sadly, I'm one of those "fad" people.  I get all hyped up on something and buy all the trappings and a month later say paleo eating can kiss my ass, or admit that those exercise bands are collecting dust behind the living room toybox.)  I figured out I could purchase smaller bulletin boards, equal to the same area of the one big one, and get out of it cheaper.  Then I wouldn't have to request my husband spend a chunk of hard-earned money on another hobby.  Great compromise, right?

The universe was laughing at me when I attempted to place two boards on the wall, side by side, only to realize the cheap frames bowed in a manner that would negate any chance of a flush fit, regardless of the side used.  My OCD could not handle that.

I was going to have to return them and I was going to have to decide once and for all if I was a 2x3 white board hobbyist, or if I was a 4x6 cork board WRITER.

Thanks to the beginning of this post, you don't even have to guess what happened; you already know.

I'm a writer.  I'm a writer with three novels currently in the works.  I'm a writer who is going to stick with it because she really doesn't have any other choice.

And I'm a writer with a really big, bitchin' story board.


  1. As someone who recently started collecting rejection letters (2 down over the summer, more on the way I'm sure), I really wanna know where you found this big ol' storyboard.

    1. I found my storyboard where I find everything else, Amazon.com. Now I just have to actually hang it up . . .