Stages of Change

Came across a cool resource this week: stages of change. I think it is often used to understand people in counseling who want to change behaviors, particularly addictions, but I think it can be applicable to any character in a story who is going to change. The stages are: Pre-contemplation (they don’t know they need to change), Contemplation (realize they need to change but aren’t ready), Preparation (intending to take action soon, and maybe trying some small changes), Action (actively practicing new behaviors), and Maintenance (working to prevent relapse). And then, of course, there is Relapse, a feature of both of the last two stages. Very instructive.

Working Away from Home

My process is working very well. Each evening, I prep the next day by looking at my outline and making brief, point form notes on a slip of paper which I can keep in my motorcycle jacket pocket. If I write 2 scenes a day, that is about 2000 words, so makes for steady progress.

On the ride, I put on my microphone and get the recorder ready; I hit “record” when I have the scene (and what it has to accomplish, as per my notes) in mind. After two scenes I’m done my work for the day. I can usually finish in the morning, but not always.

Then, when we check into our hotel, or after supper, I transcribe my dictation to my iPad while the scene is still fresh. Road noise, a faulty microphone (I had to find a Source and buy a new one, mid-trip), technical glitches, and so-forth can cause the file to be difficult to transcribe.

The result is a terrible first draft, but then, aren’t all first drafts bad? I rather like doing revision, so I know I’ll get the right word for that phrase when I review. I also know there will be missing scenes, and so forth, but I’ll catch those on round 2 as well.

More Research

Came across a cool resource this week: stages of change. I think it is often used to understand people in counseling who want to change behaviors, particularly addictions, but I think it can be applicable to any character in a story who is going to change. The stages are: Pre-contemplation (they don’t know they need to change), Contemplation (realize they need to change but aren’t ready), Preparation (intending to take action soon, and maybe trying some small changes), Action (actively practicing new behaviors), and Maintenance (working to prevent relapse). And then, of course, there is Relapse, a feature of both of the last two stages. Very instructive.

Fun Research

The first few chapters of the book I’ll be writing this fall take place practically in my back yard: rural Alberta (albeit, 80 years ago), so I took a day this week to visit the Bar U Ranch Historical Site, the fort at Fort McLeod, and the Nanton Bomber Command Museum. About 200-300 kilometers of driving. Because it was mid-week the crowds were low (hot weather might have kept some away, too), so I got to talk to the docents 1:1 and ask my questions.

The down side was: they wanted to talk about rural Alberta in the previous century (1800s), which I guess is what most people are interested in and what they’ve been prepped for. But with patience and the right questions, I got stories about the docent’s uncle who grew up in that era. A little clue, like: “they didn’t like to be called ‘cowboys.’ They were ‘range hands'” is a perfect detail to add to my book!

But one of the best parts was being able to climb inside a Lancaster bomber. It was a new plane in 1942, when my book is set, and ferry crews were flying them from Toronto to Derry via Gander and Iceland. My character is not going to get to the war by becoming a nurse (all heroines do that!!). She’s going to hitch a ride on a Lancaster!

Jumping back in

The week off was great, but I am going on a trip another week from now, so it’s time to review what is written in my current WIP, where the plan says I should go, and what my research says I should change. Then I can make use of my time away, when I’ll be dictating from the back of a motorcycle rather than typing on a computer.

Taking Time Off

I love writing, but I am taking a brief break/holiday. My work got to my publisher, and I have more projects, but I am doing a bit of catch-up with housework and gardening, and I am taking a few days to paint nudes. Fun. I can listen to the radio at the same time and it is creative but uses the other half of my brain, so is very relaxing. I’ll probably be back at work on the next novel (or maybe a short story) in another week or so.

Grant Application In!

So, now that the novel is gone, I was able to catch up on some emails, house cleaning, gardening–all the thinks I’ve been neglecting. And, I sent in a grant application for my research trip in the fall. Catching up!

Publisher meeting

Met with my publisher yesterday, and things are going well. I hand the book in, in two weeks (no sweat) and have to do a bit of work on blurb and website content; he is checking on the cover and website, which should be up by September, at which time we announce the first book. We have tentative launch months for the first three books. Yay!