Monday, January 29, 2007

Collages redux

Remember the collage?

The one I was making so I could find my way inside Flynn and Sara's story? The one that had me scouring the internet and filching my friends' upscale lifestyle magazines so I could nail down Irish castles and such? Not to mention my vast collection of pictures of Flynn and my several versions of Sara and such?

I put it together and it is still hanging above my computer. I can stare at it now, even as I type (except at night I have to lean to the right because the light reflects off it and I can't see it unless I sit somewhat tilted). I still love it.

But I'm a little worried because the brother is on it. The dead brother. (I've got to give him a name. I can't keep referring to him as the dead brother).

He was going to be Callum, but he can't be Callum, because Callum is still alive and has a story in my head -- and while he's not going to be Flynn's dead brother anymore, I couldn't take everything away from him. And no, Jennifer Y., this is not another case of 'authorial control.' It's a case of Callum insisting that enough is enough, and give the dead guy another name, please. So I will. But first . . .

I keep seeing possibilities for what might have been and now they're not there anymore. I think that I might have to 'rewrite' the collage. And that sounds like more work than rewriting the book.

But now I realize that when I look up, I see what Flynn sees -- a world that no longer exists. A future he thought was possible -- and then was snatched away from him. It actually works pretty well. Sometimes.

But other times he's going to have to be looking at Sara and not at his brother, and when he does that he's got to be thinking life looks pretty damn good (at least when things are going well, he should think that. And at the moment he is still under the mistaken impression that they might be -- good, that is).

But of course, he's wrong. We wouldn't have a book if he wasn't.

So I think I might need a new collage to reflect that. A collage of Flynn's life as he gets to know Sara again. A collage of the two of them building a life together. A collage where we add bits and pieces as we go along to reflect the book?

I think this might work into part of the Q&A I'm going to be doing on the site next week. I will post a link as soon as I find out what it actually is.

From Monday to Friday, February 5-9, I'm going to be writing about and answering questions on "creating fictional worlds."

It started out as a Q&A about writing linked books and how one goes about making sure that everything makes sense. But even if you only write one book, things have to 'track.' They have to make sense. The world has to work.

And I think, perhaps, the collage has to work, too. It's giving me something to think about.

And I'm almost tempted to make one for Theo and Martha because Martha, being a muralist, is a very visual person. She would love the idea of doing a collage. It's what she does often in her murals. And, in fact that's sort of what her students end up doing on the walls of the theater. When I have time, I just might try it for Theo and Martha. I'm sure Ted will provide lots of pictures of himself and expect me to add a few 3-D dog treats for "realism."

But for now, I'm going to be gathering bits and pieces for the Flynn and Sara collage, 2nd edition as Flynn and Sara and I come to grips with their story.

When I started this I never thought my collages would need rewriting, too.


Blogger Michelle Styles said...

Interesting that this is happening to you.Ally Blakebl;ogged about the same recently. I suspect that it is just one of those things and how stories grow and develop.
I am looking forward to your Q&A btw.

30 January, 2007  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

Interesting that Ally said the same thing. Maybe it's in the air. But, yes, as I think about it, it is just how stories grow and develop. Things change. At least some of the elements stay the same. The hero and heroine at least haven't ditched each other!

I'm so glad you'll be dropping by the Q&A, Michelle! See you there.

30 January, 2007  
Blogger Jennifer Y. said...

Interesting post! I love the idea of creating a collage to reflect the story.

I am not a writer, but I still recall as a kid searching through sales ads, magazines, and catalogs and cutting out pictures of people. I would then arrange them into groups and "make families." They were pics of people (adults, kids, and babies...and the occassional animal) that I would name and imagine some kind of elaborate story for in my head, but I never wrote them down and I threw out the clippings years ago. I was an "interesting" kid I guess..I didn't play the same games most kids my age played. So it is fascinating to me to think that authors do the same thing...uses pictures to help them with their stories.

30 January, 2007  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...


When I was a kid we used to get these big fat Sears and Penneys catalogues and I can still remember cutting out pix from them! I don't remember putting them in family groups, but I suppose I might have done so.

I do remember doing the same thing when I was beginning to write books. I kept tearing out one particular guy and I tacked him on the kitchen cupboard (didn't have an office in those days) to keep an eye on while I was writing.

Later in another book I sent a copy of a pic of a different hero to the art department and said, "I want HIM!" and they got him -- and it was a truly excellent cover. He looks not unlike Theo, to be honest!

In many respects I'm not a particularly visual writer, but I do find that pix help because they ground me in a setting or with details when my brain is engaged in some other part of the process.

30 January, 2007  
Blogger Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Anne, I looked at the collage and the blonde looks like Sadie's character to me.....lovely, sweet and strong. Name suggestions for the about Mitch, Sean, Carter, Jeremy, Luke, Shane.....enough I know!

30 January, 2007  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

Marilyn, what do you know about Sadie that I don't know????? Gulp.

Thanks for the names suggestions for Flynn's dead brother. Sean might do. Something Irish definitely. And I'm unlikely to ever write a book about a Sean, so that might be just the ticket. Thank you!

30 January, 2007  
Blogger Marilyn Shoemaker said...

You know, for some reason I just think of Sadie as a blonde but then I look at your photos and she's not.......she to me from the little I read seems fit, organized, lovely, sensitive, petite and for some reason a blonde, don't ask me why but that's how I saw her.....(grin)!

10 February, 2007  

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