Today I’m ecstatic to have my RWAus twin on my blog – a MASSIVE welcome to Desire author, Rachel Bailey. We’re twins because people actually mistake us for the same person – we often get each other’s emails, more often Rachel gets mine cos she’s far more famous than I am – and sometimes people who have known us for years, discover we’re actually two different people. Seriously… it happens that much that we’re thinking of getting t-shirts printed for conferences. Something along the lines of ”If you’ve read Rachel Johns, you’ll LOVE Rachel Bailey” and vice versa. Aside from our first names being the same, my ”real” name is VERY similar to Bailey and well… you get the idea.
Rachel’s chatting today about something I LOVE the idea of but have never actually managed to embrace properly so I’m hoping for some tips.
Over to you Rach…
Invitingyour right brain out to play
Popular psychology hasa theory that our left brains are the place where most logical thinkinghappens, where we do our arithmetic, store the grammar rules and generally berational. The theory goes on to say that our right brains are where ourcreativity resides, our imagination and intuition, and where we synthesisethings.
You may already have agood relationship with your right brain, but my left brain usually jumps inbefore my right brain gets a chance to say much. So when I’m plotting a story,I have a couple of techniques I use to coax my right brain into playing withus.
One of those iscollage.
Sometimes when I’mrushing to plot a book, I consider skipping this step, but things always goeasier for me later with the story when I’ve taken the time.
I generally start by flippingthrough magazines. There’s a stack in my office cupboard kept for just thispurpose. I’m looking for the obvious: someone who might look like my hero orheroine (I also browse the internet for these) and settings that might occur inthe book. But I’m also looking for anything that may *feel* right. It might bea bottle of red wine, or a posy of wildflowers, or a word, or a bluebackground. After a while the random images start to form a pattern. Or not.But, put with the things my left brain chooses, they always add up to an overviewof the feeling of the story.
Then I’ll go to a craftstore / craft section of a department store and scour for anything that feelsright on their shelves. For a future book I’m planning I bought silver andpurple felt stick on butterflies. They’re so pretty, and although I don’t thinkthere are any butterflies in the story (or maybe there will be?) it’s probablygoing to be a metaphor for my heroine’s journey. Sometimes an image or anobject I find will start my brain thinking about a whole new thread to thestory – those moments are gold.
The background to thecollage is important to me too. For Million-DollarAmnesia Scandal, I stuck pieces of red and brown paper in a chequeredpattern before adding on the pictures on top – the colours felt right. For What Happens in Charleston… I used thickblack cardboard and sprayed it with gold hairspray to give it a glitter effect.(Probably my favourite collage background so far!)
The act of creating thecollage is really useful to me in getting the plot together in my head andfinding threads and aspects to the story I otherwise may have missed. Butthat’s only one purpose.
After I’ve finished acollage, I hang it above my computer while I write the book and it becomes anongoing inspiration. When I first sit down in the mornings, I look up at thecollage and fall into the story again – especially important if I’ve just beenworking on edits for another story and need to ‘feel’ this one again.
Also, when I have thosemoments where I wonder about what comes next, instead of gazing out the window(which would be sure to distract me), I gaze at the collage. Looking at thepicture I’ve chosen for him pasted beside the picture of the heroine surroundedby all the colours and metaphors for their journey, I can almost hear themtalking (or not talking as the case may be) and I know where the story needs togo. It’s like the collage becomes my muse.
Everyone’s brain worksdifferently, so using collages may not help you at all – it might just wasteyour time – but it might be worth a try in case it does add something to yourplotting experience!
So tell me, have youever used a collage when writing? Was it useful or just a waste of time? I’dlove to hear about your experiences!
(Bythe way, I haven’t posted any photos of my collages here because I’m surethey’d have images that are copyright to the photographer and I need to respectthat.)
WOW Rachel, some of those collages sound AMAZING!!! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your collaging process with us Rachel. Do be sure to share your collage-ing experiences as Rachel said 🙂
Here’s the blurb:
Money has always given Matthew Kincaid whatever he wanted. Yet now his son needs something even his millions can’t buy. The widower’s sole recourse is the surrogate who gave birth to his child – for she is also the boy’s true biological mother.
Susannah Parrish needs no prodding to offer her assistance – a child’s life is at stake. But to their mutual surprise, the minute she’s back in Charleston and residing in Matthew’s home, passion consumes them. Is this a relationship doomed by deception? Or is it the one chance at a love they both secretly crave?