As I’ve said in previous posts, I am a mapper.
I wish I was one of those people who could just write one list of what they plan to explore in the pages they’re going to fill but I’m more of write that list then realise I missed something so try and add it in then realise I missed something else so I write it out again and again and again until I have 30 different bits of paper and I don’t know who I am anymore kind of person.
At that point I usually break out my record cards, which are just bits of paper small enough to use at say a presentation as key cards, and close the door to the living room (which is actually my bedroom) and the door to the kitchen (which is, remember, attached to my room, no wonder I’m this size… I kid, I was this size before I moved into the living room but I digress), both doors are close and perpendicular to each other.
“Why are you telling me the weird layout of you’re house, how is this relevant?” I hear you ask and it is a perfectly legitimate question. although admit it, you secretly want to know why I moved into the living room of my childhood home.
Well anyway, I’m telling you because of this simple equation: plain, flat doors + record cards + Blu-Tack – any other flat expanse of area to use = my work boards.
I sit at my desk and quickly scrawl a whole bunch of things I want to achieve in the story – a death, a chase, a phone call, a friendship etc. I even include little things to remember such as a habit, for example at the moment a fic I’m writing has a character who double locks everything, I didn’t chose to write why this is because I already have that laid out in a scene, this is something that goes unconnected in the dialogue or narrative but is there nonetheless and something that I need to remember when I’m writing.
So anyway, once I’ve written enough of them I use my trusty Blu-Tack and I put them together in a bundle in the middle of my main door (the other one is more a character connection board, I have my reasons, leave me alone) and then start moving them around, going back to stand over the desk while I write new cards to stick in (once I’ve started I don’t sit down again until I’m done or the board is). Sometimes I know there needs to be something in the middle of two cards but I’m not sure what so I just put a question mark card in there and I’ll figure it out when I come to it.
When all of that is done I drag my desk to sit diagonally between the two doors and I get on with the story, or should I say go back to the story I abandoned to do my board because I got stuck. I never do these boards at the beginning but I know I should.
I know you still don’t see my point but that might be because I haven’t come to it yet, nearly there.
Each character or pairing (pairs often in abundance with fics) has a different colour I use for the card. That way I don’t have to write out names, I just say ‘falls out’ and I know who I mean.
And here is the point to this post:
I have no idea what makes me chose the colours for each person/pair.
I have sharpies but the colours I have available right now are – black, red, blue, green, teal & a sort of pinkier plum. (I searched the internet and only came up with boysenberry, would you have know what I meant? If you would have then I apologise for the sloppy description but it was too purple to be pink and too pink to be purple). So I know it’s not much to choose from but what made me choose blue for ‘Dean’ and green for ‘Sam’? What made me go from red for ‘Cas’ and the plum that isn’t really plum for ‘Ruby’? AND what made me chose blue for ‘Dean’ and red for ‘Cas’ but red for the both of them? Even more confusing, what then made me chose blue for ‘Sam’ and ‘Ruby’ together?
So, I guess my question is, what’s in a colour? I put this to you, even if you don’t write or you don’t use boards or colours. If it applies to your life in some way, what made you go that way? What makes us connect anger with red, or desire for that matter? Why is it such a passionate colour? Why is green envy and not boysenberry?
For me, I’m forever asking questions and never answering them so I’m going to attempt to answer them here. If you watch Supernatural then you might have more of an insight into what I’m about to talk about but if not then please don’t give up now. See if you can find a point in this mess somewhere.
In terms of ‘Dean’ and ‘Sam’, they are usually the main characters of fics (not always) because the TV show centres on them so it’s only natural and even though I have in the past used red for ‘Sam’ I think my use of green and blue for them is good(bad) old-fashioned sexism.
That’s right people, women can be sexist. I watched an episode of NCIS yesterday (‘Minimum Security’) in which two agents are fighting over a room. The female agent, Kate, says to the male, Tony,: “It’s the only room with a bath! Men take showers and women take baths!” To which I immediately said, “Sexist and untrue.” Then Tony went on to inquire as to why the women thing only comes up when say a ship is sinking or when there’s only one room with a bath. I agree with him, he called dibs on the room and she should be ashamed for a remark like that.
But getting back to my sexist brain. It’s not intentional but that doesn’t mean that I won’t admit it. I think hard-wired into my brain are the ‘girl colours’ and ‘boy colours’ so without even meaning to I have assigned the two definite boy colours I have to the MAN HUNTERS… HUNTERS WHO ARE MEN AND DO MAN THINGS LIKE SHOOTING, DRINKING, EXORCISING DEMONS, DRIVING IN OUR (hot shit) MAN CAR, AND BURPING IN OUR MAN CAVE (no kidding they actually have a bat-cave type deal) IN OUR MAN SHIRTS AND OCCASIONALLY GRACING THE FEMALE POPULATION WITH OUR MAN TASSELS BECAUSE WE ARE MEN! *cruses empty beer can on face and growls*
But then this just poses more questions than it answers. Okay, so my subconscious brain is a sexist dick, yeah I get that. But then why did I give ‘Cas’ (who is a guy btw, it’s short for ‘Castiel’ and he’s an angel… No, really. He’s an Angel of the Lord) red, why did I give my lesbian couple (‘Charlie’ and ‘Jo’) green when in the pairings ‘Dean’ and ‘Cas’ are red, why are ‘Benny’ and ‘Anna’ in the not so much pink or purple but more purink colour and did I give ‘Amy’ and ‘Garth’ teal because it was the only one left or because it’s close to green… kinda. Closer to aqua really…
Anyway. I can tell you this, in my story ‘Cas’ is a nurse. No, no, no! I am not about to argue that it’s a girl job therefore that’s why I gave him red, no no! I’m telling you this because on my character board he is in pink. No, wait! I’ll explain. On my character board I started with a piece of A4 paper in a landscape layout on which I put the brother’s names at the top with space enough to branch down separately. It all went very wrong and I ended up doing another without the boys at all, just a list of the rest of the main characters in their groups with different coloured connecting lines to indicate the type of connection.
“Taylor, I’m losing the will to live.”
Bare with me.
Eventually that turned into cards on the door with the connection layout at the top. ‘Dean’ on one side in blue and ‘Sam’ on the other in ‘red’. Down from ‘Dean’ I detailed the people at his day job and the people at his night job. Under ‘Sam’ I detailed the people he worked with at his bar job and the people he studied with at university. All work-related things were highlighted in green while all education-related were orange (I have reasons and I’ve already hurt your head enough). Then the story progressed to ‘Dean’ becoming ill and going to hospital so I had a whole host of new characters to accommodate and I decided I had a pink highlighter and a pink (but not really) sharpie so I used that. Including on ‘Cas’.
But then when I was writing my plot board my sexist brain gave ‘Ruby’ the girly pink (kinda) colour which left red or teal with black for anything not directly involving the characters or pairings. Red being a primary colour I went with that. I have no reason for that – green isn’t a primary colour, neither is the weird-ass pinkle colour.
It might be worth noting (probably not) that the brothers wear flannel and jeans whereas ‘Cas’ wears a suit and tie with the option on a trench coat (which is not an option really, someone needs to stitch it to his suit because he needs to never take it off). The flannel is a variety or colours but ‘Cas’s’ tie was a navy blue, even his new tie (which I still do not appreciate by the way CW) is baby blue stripped with grey). So if anyone should be blue it should be ‘Cas’ but then going on that logic ‘Ruby’ should be black because that’s all the colour she wears and that would just upset the whole thing.
So, maybe it’s not that there is anything in a colour, maybe it’s just that there’s something in the colours I have.
On that note: Dear sexist brain, it might be worth remembering that ‘Dean’ admitted to trying on women’s pants at the age of nineteen… they were pink. Sincerely, the 21st century.