OLL Interns @ Mon, 2009-10-26 13:32
Every year, we here at NaNoWriMo Headquarters are astounded by the breadth of your creativity. Wrimos in DeKalb, Illinois spotlight one more way to get that novel-writing juice flowing! We're going to let them take it away:
Here in DeKalb, our Wrimos can be divided into two camps: the plotters versus the fliers (as in fly by the seat of the pants). Our plotters use software like yWriter, Scrivener, Excel and even program their own computers to run orbital calculations on their imaginary worlds. (We forgive you Apollo16.) Our fliers are looking for anything to write with including crayons on November 1st.
Because of this disparity of styles, we needed to come up with an activity where all could benefit and have fun. Two years ago, julieb8rib (A.K.A. Julie Spahn) suggested a Collage-o-rama based on an activity she had participated in at a conference hosted by Jenny Crusie. So last year, a small group of the DeKalb Wrimos met at our local library and collaged away. Here is an example of a finished collage from last year:
So how does one collage? First get scissors, glue sticks, poster board, and a recycle bin full of old magazines. Then supply food and drink and lots of space to spread out...and have everyone rip or cut out images and words that appeal to them and glue them onto a piece of poster board. That’s it!
This year, we had to relocate to a science lab room with nine large, flat tables to accommodate all eighteen participants. In a new twist, trie_squid set up a list on the chalkboard so that all eighteen sets of eyes could look for specific images that their fellow writers were seeking. Some of the images being called for included tentacles, watches, unhappy marriages, anything 1920’s, 40’s noir, tattoos and painfully handsome men who have an evil side.
So...why might you want to collage? Looks kinda girly to you? Well, the fliers found that after they had finished their collages, they could see main themes and plot elements literally popping out before them. Last year, Mary Kowalski (one of our Co-MLs) had no idea why she kept picking medical terms and scary pictures like hypodermics until it dawned on her that one of her main characters had a serious medical condition. This realization made the rest of her plot fall into place. Even our plotters found new nuances in the personalities of their characters and filled plot holes before they could develop into something serious.
As Apollo16 (A.K.A. Kathy Kitts our other Co-ML) explains, “You don’t have to be artsy, you just have to approach the activity with an open mind while thinking vaguely about your story. And if you are completely clueless, just go with images and words that appeal to you and your story will reveal itself to you.”
So how do the collages compare to the actual novels at the end of November? So far, they have been right on the money. Apollo16 describes her experience from last year, “I’m a plotter so I didn’t think a collage would do much for me but I was wrong. A character just appeared out of no where on my board and overthrew my original villain. And that is literally what happened in my novel.” This year, CheekyAmerican brought a framed corkboard instead of poster board. “I want to be able to hang my collage and look at it during the entire month... to help me focus.”
Therefore, we invite all our Wrimo colleagues to raid the recycle bin and create a collage for themselves. You might be pleasantly surprised at what your subconscious has to say about your NaNo-novel. Good luck and happy noveling!
How are you all planning for your November novels? Have you been to a regional event like this yet? Anybody going to attempt collaging? So many questions, we know, but we want to hear your answers!