Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Patterns/Maps/Plans (and the problems when you don't have one)

I've been feeling a little frantic lately. Halloween is approaching and I've been trying to figure out how to transform last year's bat costume into a dragon, for the girl critter. At least the wings are taken care of...but there's still a tail to construct and the pointy spikes along the spine to attach and part of me thinks it would probably be easier to start from scratch rather than trying to modify the old costume. Then I could go and buy a pattern and have someone else do the thinking part of how to craft it--all I'd have to do is follow the instructions. But the girl is rather attached to last year's costume (though won't be so easy going as to agree to be a bat again this year...) The boy critter wants to be an Ipod so that takes a big box and some time for him to trick it out--shouldn't be too big of a deal. But this week he also has his class Mythology Wax Museum and he chose to be Hermes, so we have to figure out how to make and stick some wings onto his sandals and on a hat, create a drapey toga thingy and a caduceus (thanks to the girl's reptile enthusiasm we have plenty of rubber snakes available).

I've also been preping like crazy for this year's NaNoWriMo. I'm working on a new (NEW!) novel and, though I'm hesitant to curse it, the prep has been going really well. I'm not letting myself write any of it until I've created a really detailed plot map, including a chapter synopsis and scene by scene summaries. I got lost in the narrative of the last book and realized that once I'd generated enough text for a three volume series (and it still wasn't finished...) that I really shouldn't have been writing without a map. Maybe someday I'll have the patience and distance to be able to go back and force a form on that text, but for now I'm going to let it sit and start with a completely different mindset. I'm pretty excited about November starting--I feel like a dog that's been kept on a tight leash and on Monday I get let off of it to romp and play and write all the scenes and chapters I've planned.

Of course I am a little worried about the necessary time commitment and the way everything else in our lives will go to hell.

Which brings me to my kitchen.  Maybe because my brain has been so preoccupied with stitching and plotting, I haven't had much energy left over for dinner planning. So instead of feeling free in the kitchen, for the past week or two, I've felt really stressed. The farm share ended recently and while I still have a big box of winter squash and bags of sweet and regular potatoes to work through, the rest of my produce is now of my own choosing. It should be liberating, right? I can cook whatever I want! But it's a different sort of thinking and I've been overwhelmed by the liberty, so there's been a lot of 5pm grouchiness where I dig through the fridge and/or freezer trying to figure out what sort of slop to heave on the table and pass off as dinner, while the critters subtly hint (by gnawing on my ankle) that they expect to be fed soon.

It's not going to get better once November 1st rolls around and I put food (even) lower on the priority list while I try to churn out the book. So, this weekend I'm going to take a little break from my Scrivener plot mapping frenzy to put together a meal plan along with a shopping list (so I don't find myself tearing through the crisper drawers looking for the cilantro I forgot to buy).  I'm thinking of getting really regimented for the month of November--making Monday Slow Cooker night, Tuesday Pasta night, Wednesday Mexican night, Thursday Stir-Fry night and Friday Pizza night. I'll probably feel a little annoyed with how repetitious and rigid this plan is (and I know it would drive me to despair if I had to do this forever), but hey, for the next month I'm going to keep reminding myself that prose, not food is the priority. If I can follow the map in my novel, I should be able to follow the plan in my menu.

And hopefully, stay sort of sane-ish.

1 comment:

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

I was wondering what happened to that novel, Kate! And you answered my question in this very post--I was wondering what metod you used for mapping out plot/chapters/scenes, and it's Scrivener, which just released a beta version for us Windows folk, hooray! I may even (gulp) join you next month.... Good luck, and don't forget the take-out!