“You Using That Flamethrower?”: Borrowing Tools

English: Reciprocating saw

Looks like a laser gun instead of a saw. Pew pew! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe it’s the combination of meds that I’m on for a couple of Bodily Horrors*, but this seems like a great day to try re-outlining my novel.

Again. Actually, again again. I’ve already tried to re-outline this fucker a few times, using a couple of different methods. It is resisting me. I do not like this.

All the methods I’ve tried so far are tried and true. I’ve done them before, for more than one project, and they’ve worked. But not this time.

Open your eyes to my words, children, and let the truth of the creative life be written: sometimes the shit you always do with great results will stop working and you will have no fucking idea why. Why did it work for that project but not for this one? Why can’t I get my head around this? Why are you no longer working?

No. Idea.

But it is not the end. Oh no. If the old methods are no longer working—and I have the piles of scrap paper and half-finished notes to say that they’re not—then it’s time to find a new method.

Let this be the lesson of the day: if the tools that you usually use for the job aren’t working, then throw them back in the fucking toolbox and get something else. The hammer not working? Get the chisel. Or the Phillips head screwdriver. Or the reciprocating saw.

My new tool? Script-writing methods. My friend Kat was kind enough to bring me a stack of paper big enough to have been a giant redwood in a former life, all containing course notes and exercises from her screenwriting courses. It has colonized my coffee table and will not give it back. The only way to defeat it is by reading it. With a notebook and a stack of index cards.

I’ll be back with my findings next week. Until then: keep your stick on the ice.

*Hint: one of them is not ebola. So at least I’ve got that going for me.

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