The Dark Hole that IS the Internet and Other Battles


I love the Internet. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I LOVE IT TOO MUCH. It distracts, it taunts, it teases, it wants us to love it. And we do. I can easily spend hours browsing through Tudor-related Facebook Pages, watching clips on YouTube (though I am a firm non-believer in funny cat videos), and reading what’s Freshly Pressed.

But Facebook has such lovely pictures!

So it’s a wonder that I got anything done yesterday. And really, it’s sad, because it’s not even that much.

After mulling it over and arguing with myself, I’ve decided to upgrade from editing my manuscript to re-writing a large portion of it. As in, almost the thing.

Yeah. I know. It’s easier said than done. But there are a lot of things that need explaining, characters that are not needed (farewell, my beloved Master Locksley), and characters I want more of (hellooo, Will and Tomlee), as well as a general plot with gaping, unexplained problems.

Hence, I’m re-writing. The first step I took was outlining what I originally had. You ask: but didn’t you outline it before you began writing? Why, I’m glad you asked. You see, I did outline it — at least, chapters 13 to 31. Then the unthinkable happened. It went though the washing machine. I tried to save it, but it was too late.

So I spent yesterday speed-reading my manuscript and copying down the main points in each chapter on pieces of furniture ordering paper from the ’80s. I’m not 100% sure what it was doing in the house, but it was a nice substitute for recipe cards.

Then I took a bed sheet, tacked it to the wall in the hallway, and pinned the pieces of paper to it. It took a surprising amount of time for my clumsy fingers. Idea stems from here.

It also made me feel like Peter Jackson (or any other movie director) using a story board. The location is rather inconvenient, however. I’ve been sitting in the hallway, staring at it, and have essentially become a physical road block for anyone in the house who needs to use the bathroom.

My story board: take 1.

I plan on plotting out my new version on more pieces of ancient paper and pinning them below the original. This way I can directly compare: decide what to keep and throw away, and what needs adding. I have a sneaking suspicion that the highlighters in my desk will be used like they’ve never been used over the next week or so.

That’s my goal. Finish the new outline in a week or so. Do you think that’s reasonable enough, with the constant black hole (aka Internet) squirreling away my time, plus the two fantastic books I’m reading (Revelation by C.J. Sansom and The Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell), plus the two remaining episodes of The Tudors, Season 3 that I need finishing? Okay, The Tudors can wait. I think.

Are you always battling with the Internet? How do you organize your thoughts? Any interesting books you’ve come across lately?

PS: a short story I wrote for a friend’s birthday can be read here.


10 thoughts on “The Dark Hole that IS the Internet and Other Battles

    • I admit that I’m better in the face of temptation recently. I can say ‘no.’ Most of the time. 😉 And when I plan to sit down and write (usually with a pre-determined time or word count) I disconnect the Internet. That little wi-fi connect button is my greatest weapon.
      It’s tricky finding a method of organization. My story board/timeline is great, but what do I do with the background information? Stick it to the bottom and colour-code it with the chapters it’s relevant to?
      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  1. two things:
    1) you’re completely right. I’m always watching True Blood or Game of Thrones or mucking around on Facebook when I should be writing. Apparently there’s an app for Macs that you can use to block any internet-based applications, but unfortunately I’ve got a PC.
    2) you gave me a fantastic idea for what to do with the corkboard sitting in my corner. It is totally becoming a story board.

    good luck outlining!

    • The Internet is extremely tempting. I might say “I’m just checking my email” and suddenly I’ve been watched Horrible Histories for an hour!
      I’m glad to be of help, Elizabeth. Thanks for stopping by and good luck in your writing endeavors! 🙂

  2. I battle for time more with my kids than the Internet. But when I feel I have lots of time, I can get lost surfing the net.

    Gosh, you have more patients than me; I couldn’t have created all those cards and organised them like you.

    • Making the cards acted as almost a sort of therapy, or cleanse. It made me realise what my story *was* and what I want it *to be*. It helped weed out the bad and bring out the good. It was good to be alone with just my world and characters; it’s been too long since I paid proper attention to them.
      Thanks for stopping by, Diane. 🙂

  3. fairypoppin

    I have heard of nasty washing machines eating socks….and the odd shirt but to eat fiction now?? Ohhh that is just more than I can bear. Libby…I love your literary SPREAD SHEET on the wall!!

    Never happened in the good ole days-by ‘good ole days’ I mean centuries ago-when everything was washed by hand. Bet Shakespeare never had to face losing a fantastic new story or play that he had slaved and slaved over-pages and pages of vellum screwed up and thrown onto the floor- quill after quill broken in angst-and in the unlikely event that anything did happen to a manuscript-he could have blamed the servant-and gain satisfaction by having them locked in the Tower of London or local equivalent- Its quite possible that Shakespeare would never have written so much because he got too busy playing ‘angry birds’ or ‘solitaire’ online. Solitaire online is more addictive than Solitaire with an actual card deck.

    I digress…I’ve often wondered if we could bring a person from History into tne present day…Like Henry VIII. At the risk if being branded a witch and burnt at the stake-I would LOVE to show him a computer and the Internet. I would go straight to Wiki answers and attempt to convince him with a crash course in Biology that the sperm provides the X or Y chromosome-therefore a male (ie)HE is responsible for the gender of his children-and not his long suffering wives. What would Einstein think of the Internet? Or Aristotle? Or even Jesus? Would he be amazed and humbled by how massive his ummm ‘fan club’ is today? (for the want of a better way to describe his followers) All the STUFF these could access online? IMHO It would change the course of history. It would be impossible for it NOT to influence those people-just like it influences us today- The question is-would it change it for the better? Or worse?

    • Ah, you’re back! We’ve missed you. 🙂
      lol, yes, my ‘spread sheet’ is quite the beauty, isn’t she?
      I’m laughing at the mental image of Shakespeare playing solitaire while a half-finished scene lays in wait. Maybe he’s scared of it? Or maybe he’ll become distracted with reading the latest updates on Twitter. I can’t imagine writing with a quill and ink — all that sharpening, dipping, and blotting would be enough to make me give up any hope as a writer, much less an iconic playwright!
      The first thing I would show darling Henry would be the thousands and thousands of Anne Boleyn’s supporters and fans, as well as the not-as-large fan groups for his other wives. Along with showing all the contemporary talk about him being a tyrant, etc, etc… I bet he’d enjoy that. 😉 Have you ever heard of Henry 8.0? He’s an actor pretending to be Henry VIII, but with access to technology — watch as he battles the pope on Twitter, uses the Book of Faces, and he and his long-suffering sixth wife Katherine go camping. You can watch them on YouTube and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. 😀
      Imagining all these iconic people with Internet influence…it’s definitely opening my mind. Do you think they would have been as successful in what they did WITH access to Internet? More successful? Less? Well, Jesus would probably be made out as a fraud, or an online virus… What has the world come to? I’ll be battling the net (mainly Facebook) even more fiercely now!
      Thanks for stopping by, Sonia. As always, your comment has lightened my rainy, Nova Scotian day. 🙂

      • fairypoppin

        I have not laughed this much in a long time-
        Thankyou SO MUCH for this Libby.
        It is PURE GOLD! A gift from the Comedy Gods! If anyone else wanted to watch Henry 8.0 in action the link is below.
        There are quite a few. The actor that plays hin
        was also in Blackadder(with Rowan Atkinson)-and he plays another King in that- very funny. I wonder if the man himself- HENRY VIII would find them funny…or call ‘Treason’!!!My guess is the latter…

        If you liked it…there are LOTS more…fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon…


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