All my life, while I was busy with grade school and high school and university and work and family there has always been a stream of consciousness separate from my daily life, an alternate universe with denizens and motives and intentions of their own. Usually, it all stayed in the back of my mind while I was concentrating on my daily activities. But in moments of downtime—when I was driving, or doing housework, or before I fell asleep—I would slip over to that other world and just pick up where I left off, as easily as flipping to a bookmarked page.
I have never outgrown it.
I starting serious writing in 2004, when I actively sat down at a key board and starting putting words down and sentences together. Ten years ago, I wrote my first CHAPTER ONE.
But I realized that I had been a writer long before that. I’ve been a writer just about my entire life, even though I’ve only been typing it out for the last ten years of it.
And that’s the true nature of writing: it’s 10% typing and 90% thinking.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I could hook an electrode-strapped harness to my head to capture all my brain stories, all that 90% that streams along through the back of my head when I can’t stop to write it down. So much of what happens in my brain stories is a once and done thing—a quick and perfect and devastating exchange of dialog, an emotionally-loaded look, an action sequence that would knock your socks right off—so much of it, executed perfectly, then lost.
That kills me. Even if I were to sit down as soon as I can and start banging out the scene, it never feels quite the same as it did during its inception. I feel like I lose little parts of myself every time that happens.
I bought a voice recorder last month so that when I’m driving to work, I can just let it roll and capture all the little story bits as they pop up. Talking it out is a lot different than thinking it out, so the process isn’t perfect—but it helps.
If only I had a brain-harness. An output jack in my frontal lobe, a USB port that I can plug into my computer and just hit DOWNLOAD. It would make for awkward sleeping, probably, and would definitely itch like a bugger but at least I wouldn’t have to worry about that wonderful 90% slipping away before it can be captured in black and white.
Or…and I’m just thinking out loud here…wifi. No wires. Just thinking and watching it type itself on the screen. Like Dragon Naturally Thinking. HOW COOL would that be?
At least for a hot minute. Because if there was tech for that, then there would be a hack, and people could go around wifi’ing your brain and stealing your thoughts and the next thing you know, you’ve wearing a tin foil hat and cowering in a bomb shelter.
Tin foil hats are NOT cool. So, wifi is out. (Haven’t ruled out the USB thing yet, though.)
Until the tech is available, I guess I settle for more analog solutions. Good old pen and paper, stuffed into every purse and pocket and even the pillow case. I'd hate to miss a single word of that 90%.
What about you? When it comes to your writing process, how do you capture your own 90%?
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Ash Krafton is a speculative fiction writer who, despite having a Time Turner under her couch and three different sonic screwdrivers in her purse, still encounters difficulty with time management. Visit Ash at www.ashkrafton.com for news on her urban fantasy series The Books of the Demimonde (Pink Narcissus Press) or stop by the Demimonde Blog at www.ash-krafton.blogspot.com . WOLF’S BANE (Demimonde #3) is forthcoming mid-2014.