Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Today is a Think Day.

A day when I mostly wander around the house straightening up, dusting, piddling, while the chapter I'm writing and bits of the story spool off the movie reel in my head.

Some writers only hear their stories. Others only hear them. I do both. In my head, my books are Cecil B. De Mille productions with casts of thousand and Dolby stereo soundtracks. I even fill in background music. When I'm in my car a song will come on the radio and I'll think, "Ooh! That would sound so cool playing in the background in Chapter 5, while Lily and Harry are peeling potatoes." Or whatever they're doing.

Songs inspire montages of scenes that flip through my brain like a slide show. So on Think Days I play a lot of music. Today's choice: After Hours by John Pizzarelli. Light, jazzy, playful. Good mood music for romantic comedy.

Some writers listen to music while they write. I don't because I can't hear the voices in my head. The voices of my characters, not the voices from the mother ship. I hear those when I'm not writing. The ideal office space for me would be a mausoleum.

While I'm thinking I'll make notes: snippets of conversation, some of the montage scenes that come through with the music. If I'm in the kitchen I'll grab a scratchpad if I can find one, hopefully a pen that writes. These loose-leaf notes I'll glue or Scotch tape into the notebook I keep for each book. An 8 1/2 x 11 hardcover journal, spiral bound so it lays flat on my desk. I haunt the bargain books in Barnes and Noble and buy them on sale.

Last night my husband Michael opened the fridge and said: "I can see the bulb." Sometimes he says: "I'm getting an echo." That means it's time to buy food. So sometime today I'll make a grocery list on that scratchpad, with the pen that hopefully still writes, and make a trek to Price Chopper.

I'll play the radio and hear more songs. I keep a notebook in my car in case Elton John or The Foo Fighters give me a hot idea. Usually the notebook is on the floor of the backseat. I have no idea how it gets there. Once I found it in the trunk. That still stumps me.

By the end of the day I'll have lots of notes and new ideas, which tomorrow I'll turn into dialogue between Lily and Harry or maybe some introspection on her part, or his, or maybe both. We'll see.

Till then -- do you know what Foo Fighters are? Where the term originated? What it means? If you do, here's your chance to show off. Leave a comment.

If you don't, I'll tell you tomorrow.

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