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After preliminary research, I zero in on an idea, and then I spend at least four months exploring the topic and in plot-building. I jot down every single detail of the plot as bullet points per chapter, and only when the skeleton is complete do I start writing.
Paper is no longer a big part of my day. I get 90% of my news online, and when I go to a meeting and want to jot things down, I bring my Tablet PC. It's fully synchronized with my office machine, so I have all the files I need. It also has a note-taking piece of software called OneNote, so all my notes are in digital form.
Writing is no trouble: you just jot down ideas as they occur to you. The jotting is simplicity itself - it is the occurring which is difficult.
History could pass for a scarlet text, its jot and title graven red in human blood.
When you are in church, it's always good to carry a pen and notepad to jot down the scripture text, reference scriptures, and sermon notes. When you come prepared with notepad and pen, you are able to feed off the scriptures from the sermon throughout the week, while asking God to open up your understanding for a deeper illumination of the word.
I tend to jot down moments, lines, interactions that don't really make any sense. I try and explain these scattered notes to my close friends, and they become more and more logical. I see screenwriting as a bit like a math equation which I have to solve.
For some reason, some of my best solutions and ideas are triggered in those dark theaters, usually totally unrelated to what's going on onscreen. I also enjoy hiking in the foothills and mountains close to Sacramento. I always have to bring a pen and paper to jot down sudden thoughts and ideas. So inspiration arises from countless sources.
You jot down ideas, memories, whatever, concerning your real life that somehow parallels the character you're playing, and you incorporate that in your scene work.
We've forgotten how to remember, and just as importantly, we've forgotten how to pay attention. So, instead of using your smartphone to jot down crucial notes, or Googling an elusive fact, use every opportunity to practice your memory skills. Memory is a muscle, to be exercised and improved.
The kids of today have taken over the music business - most of them very young. Simply because they write and jot down a few notes, they have the idea that they can write songs.
When I need the idea, I can find it immediately. I have a horror of rewriting or deleting; the parts of my composition are carried in my head 'till I can write them down, even to the last note. Then I do not alter a jot.
Whenever something happens that makes me laugh or if I remember something in the middle of the night that I want to share, I jot the experience down.
I'm the guy that gets up at three in the morning to jot down an entire sheet of lyrics for something that won't be recorded for six months. You have to get it down when you can, because thoughts are fluid.
Yeah, I record on voice memos. I got like 1,000-something memos. If I'm in the middle of something and I can't get it done, I'll jot it down, but I never write a rap out, ever.
Appallingly, I hadn't thought about it one jot. I never daydreamed as a little girl of getting married and having children. I was as surprised to discover I was getting married as I was to discover I was up the duff.
Basically I started to jot notes, lots of faxes back and forth to my writer, we faxed ideas throughout the whole first draft, and started all over again.
If the story wasn't overly long, I'd type it out. And I'd carry it around with me for a week and jot notes on it, and then I'd throw it away and do another one.
Donald Ray Pollock
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