Tag Archive: Rubik’s Cube



As you all know, for the past couple of months, I was pulled away from my writing by all the demands of my classes at the California State University of Monterey Bay.  But now all of that is over, until next semester begins late next month/early February when it all starts up again… possibly, things may change before then.  I’m up for a couple of job interviews which could change everything.

In any case, you’d think I would be eager to jump back into my writing right?  Yes and no.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still in love with writing, but trying to awaken my muse has been hard.  Being away from my writing for so long left me drained emotionally and mentally on the creative front.  Plus there’s been other things I had to deal with which also got pushed aside thanks to all the schoolwork.

Luckily a lot of that is done and I have more time to get back to writing, only I found I was stuck staring at “The Door” and not being able to do anything with it.

(NOTE: This is NOT the final design for the bookcover…  I’m still working on it)

Now before anyone mentions plotting, let me explain that I’ve always known where the final confrontation was going to take place and who’d be there.  I could clearly see each of the characters who needed to be there having their own special moment.  I even knew why they were there, but I couldn’t figure out what they’d be doing DURING the fight.  Most of the scenes I was picturing were aftermath moments, or pauses when the action moved elsewhere, so they had to be on hand.  But what were they doing while the action was happening was puzzling me.

I tried turning it over again and again in my mind only to realize I was once more dealing with a mental version of my old nemesis the Rubik’s Cube.  Only this time it was more intimidating than ever before…

I began to feel like I’d never solve this problem.  Again and again I’d start thinking I had the solution, because I could see the goal in the distance.  I’d even make good progress towards getting there, but then I’d find myself hitting another wall.  It was like wandering through the most frustrating maze I’d ever encountered.

Then yesterday, the breakthrough finally hit me.  I needed to work on the final battle FIRST and then let the rest of the story follow.  I had to place every character I wanted into that scene and find out for myself what they could/would/and finally did in that climactic moment.  Only then could I justify to myself as well as the reader, why they needed to be in this story in the first place.

Now normally I don’t usually work this way.  I’ve always used a loose outline, like in this case, and knew where I was going and led the characters to that moment.  Plus, I still needed to see what that final confrontation was going to look like for myself.

Immediately, I looked back at my own works “The Bridge” and “The Ship” and re-read the final battle scenes for each of them.  I quickly realized I had a tendency to go for some pretty impressive battles, that seemed almost impossible for any person to win.  But that’s always been my philosophy in writing.  The more daunting the odds, the more impressive the heroes are for overcoming them.

I would have to go big for this third installment, but not just in size.  I had to deliver something new and special for the readers.  I’d given them glimpses into some of the Para-Earths where my previous antagonists came from.  This time I needed to show the readers WHY some of these being needed to be kept out of our world!

At that moment, I knew what I needed to do… it was time to open “The Door” and let the nightmares from one of those other places come through.   With a threat of this magnitude in mind, I now know exactly how important it will be to have “All hands on deck”, as well as how to utilize each and every character in that scene.

So there you have it folks, once again I say “There is no one specific to write a story”.   We each may have our own special methods of writing, but sometimes even those techniques may not always be enough.  There will be days when we need to discover and add new tools to our already impressive arsenal.

I’m very eager and excited to get back to the story now.  I know that working that final confrontation is going to make how I continue to write certain characters in earlier sections of the book much easier. I already knew their motivations for the most part, but I suspect I’ll have better insight into their personalities because I’ll have a more clear idea of just how far their willing to go for their ultimate goals.

Remember everyone, stories can take many paths.  But in the end its the writer to must choose or forge the right one that will best serve the purpose in the end.

Until next time, take care and keep writing.

Writing and Rubik’s Cubes…


Okay fellow writers, here’s a question for you all.  How many of  you find yourselves working and reworking a scene because something just isn’t right?  In your mind, you know what you’d like to happen, but something just doesn’t seem to be working right.  You make a change here, then a slight a tweek there and suddenly everything goes KAFLOOEY!    You suddenly hit a dead end, or the entire plot has taken a detour to No-wheres-ville.  When this happens to me, I get the same feelings I had whenever I tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube.  I know all the parts and where I think they should go, but they’re just not in the right spot.  And trying to get them in their proper place can be a nightmare some days.

 

Now this has happened to me on a number of occasions.  Some people tell me to have an outline, but that never works for me.  Why?  Because my characters start going in other directions by saying or doing things I hadn’t originally planned.  Admittedly I let them get away with it, but only if what they’re doing seems to be working better than what I originally planned.  Sometimes this works, but not always.  When it doesn’t I do one of two things:  I’ll delete it completely and try again OR  I’ll save the scene in a separate folder on my computer.  You never know when an unused scene can be useful later in your present story, or could wind up being perfect for another book entirely.

 

Personally, I kind of like it when I can just delete the scene because then I get to point and laugh at my characters saying, “See?  I told you this wasn’t going to work… NEENER-NEENER.”   Unfortunately, I tend to do this out loud and get some really strange looks from anyone within a 30 foot radius.    It’s at this point my unseen characters got to point and laugh right back at me, which is really annoying because they know I still need them and can’t kill them off.  Damn, my creations can be annoying at times.

 

Anyway, getting back to my original point.  Writing a scene can be quite frustrating and difficult at times.  But, there are many ways   of tackling this problem:

-You might change who’s in the scene, keep the ones who are most poignant and add someone else from the cast.  This can change the tension levels and the entire feel of the moment.

-Change the location where the action is happening.  Maybe the setting is the problem and you can get more out of a different location.

-Is a major piece of information about to be revealed in this scene?   If so how much of it do you really have to unveil at this moment?  Maybe you should only reveal a portion of the information.  You can whet the appetite of both the characters and the audience with this method.  By doing this your characters can go off half-cocked, which can make for some very interesting scenes as they make any number of mistakes or jump to wrong conclusions.  I personally like this because the character who isn’t perfect, and learns from their mistakes, is someone the audience can really relate to sometimes.  On the other hand the characters can aware that something is still missing and we can follow their efforts to learn more which can lead to some very tense and exciting scenes as well.

 

So, don’t be afraid to tear apart a scene that’s frustrating you.   Try some really different ways of reworking it.  And if you find yourself still hitting a wall, ask yourself  if the scene is truly relevant in that particular point of the story.  Maybe it can be replaced by an entirely different scene that can serve a similar purpose.    Who knows, you may wind up with something that opens new avenues for your plot that are even more interesting than what you originally had in mind.

 

What other methods or tricks have you come up with?  I’m sure everyone reading this would be  interested because we’re all trying learn from one another when it comes to writing.  So please leave your experiences and suggestions down in the comments section below.

 

And for the record,I did finally defeat the dreaded Rubik’s Cube.  Mind you I did not remove the decals and change them around (which is something my wife did when she was kid).  Nor did I take the cube apart and reassemble it so the colors matched up.  What did I do?  Simple, I spray painted the entire thing silver and used it for a paperweight.  A very creative solution, don’t you think?


Okay fellow writers, here’s a question for you all.  How many of  you find yourselves working and reworking a scene because something just isn’t right?  In your mind, you know what you’d like to happen, but something just doesn’t seem to be working right.  You make a change here, then a slight a tweek there and suddenly everything goes KAFLOOEY!    You suddenly hit a dead end, or the entire plot has taken a detour to No-wheres-ville.  When this happens to me, I get the same feelings I had whenever I tried to solve a Rubik’s Cube.  I know all the parts and where I think they should go, but they’re just not in the right spot.  And trying to get them in their proper place can be a nightmare some days.

Now this has happened to me on a number of occasions.  Some people tell me to have an outline, but that never works for me.  Why?  Because my characters start going in other directions by saying or doing things I hadn’t originally planned.  Admittedly I let them get away with it, but only if what they’re doing seems to be working better than what I originally planned.  Sometimes this works, but not always.  When it doesn’t I do one of two things:  I’ll delete it completely and try again OR  I’ll save the scene in a separate folder on my computer.  You never know when an unused scene can be useful later in your present story, or could wind up being perfect for another book entirely.

Personally, I kind of like it when I can just delete the scene because then I get to point and laugh at my characters saying, “See?  I told you this wasn’t going to work… NEENER-NEENER.”   Unfortunately, I tend to do this out loud and get some really strange looks from anyone within a 30 foot radius.    It’s at this point my unseen characters got to point and laugh right back at me, which is really annoying because they know I still need them and can’t kill them off.  Damn, my creations can be annoying at times.

Anyway, getting back to my original point.  Writing a scene can be quite frustrating and difficult at times.  But, there are many ways   of tackling this problem:

-You might change who’s in the scene, keep the ones who are most poignant and add someone else from the cast.  This can change the tension levels and the entire feel of the moment.

-Change the location where the action is happening.  Maybe the setting is the problem and you can get more out of a different location.

-Is a major piece of information about to be revealed in this scene?   If so how much of it do you really have to unveil at this moment?  Maybe you should only reveal a portion of the information.  You can whet the appetite of both the characters and the audience with this method.  By doing this your characters can go off half-cocked, which can make for some very interesting scenes as they make any number of mistakes or jump to wrong conclusions.  I personally like this because the character who isn’t perfect, and learns from their mistakes, is someone the audience can really relate to sometimes.  On the other hand the characters can aware that something is still missing and we can follow their efforts to learn more which can lead to some very tense and exciting scenes as well.

So, don’t be afraid to tear apart a scene that’s frustrating you.   Try some really different ways of reworking it.  And if you find yourself still hitting a wall, ask yourself  if the scene is truly relevant in that particular point of the story.  Maybe it can be replaced by an entirely different scene that can serve a similar purpose.    Who knows, you may wind up with something that opens new avenues for your plot that are even more interesting than what you originally had in mind.

What other methods or tricks have you come up with?  I’m sure everyone reading this would be  interested because we’re all trying learn from one another when it comes to writing.  So please leave your experiences and suggestions down in the comments section below.

And for the record,I did finally defeat the dreaded Rubik’s Cube.  Mind you I did not remove the decals and change them around (which is something my wife did when she was kid).  Nor did I take the cube apart and reassemble it so the colors matched up.  What did I do?  Simple, I spray painted the entire thing silver and used it for a paperweight.  A very creative solution, don’t you think?

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