Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Wordsmith Collective Thursday – Feast or Famine of Story Ideas

May 26, 2022
mandyevebarnett


As writers we are used to juggling many writing projects at the same time or the complete opposite – nothing! (Although, I have to say my mind is crowded with ideas most of the time in MUSE central!)

These opposing states come with their own problems, each unique and as frustrating as each other. Firstly, ‘feast’ has us worrying which project to do first. Which one is the most strident in it’s demand to be written? Is it the right one to pursue? Will another story ‘vanish’ if we ignore it?

Secondly, ‘famine’ when ideas may be circling in our minds, but none of them ‘stick’ or have the ‘legs’ to form a longer narrative. Or there is a void. This is a frustrating feeling, leaving us grasping for elusive or fragments of ideas, or something to write!

So what can we do to organize the jumble or utilize a fragment?

Let’s look at the multiple ideas first. Write down as much as you can for each idea – lay them out on separate pieces of paper or word documents. Organize each idea into genre or categories and then plot, character or scene and any other components of each particular story you do have. Separating the stories in this way allows us to focus on them, if not objectively, as least with a clearer vision. Once you have them in an orderly list you will see which idea has the most content. Now, comes the difficult decision – which one do you pursue? It might not be the one with the most detail, but another that attracts you to it for whatever reason. Take some time to really dissect the new idea. Can you envisage the plot arc, the ending, the characters? If one starts to ‘grow’ within your minds eye, or the majority of the narrative reveals itself to you, then that is typically your direction.

Now comes the void. How do we spark our Muse? There are many reasons for this dearth of ideas, illness, relationship problems, work commitments etc. As a writer we know that the act of writing is not only satisfying, but a real need. Our creativity requires it. This is the time to look at those filed away short stories, or fragments of ideas. We always have inspirational quotes, sentences, even whole paragraphs, that have languished somewhere in journals, notebooks or electronic folders. Take time to read through these, after all we kept them for a reason. Utilize writing prompts – writing anything helps us get back on track. Fifteen minute bursts of writing from a word or picture prompt can refresh our minds, spark our creativity and set us on a new course. Your prompt response might only be short – a poem, a paragraph, even a word association list, or it can develop into something. I recently used an image of a dragon’s egg to spark my Muse. It was going to be a short story but grew and grew into a three thousand word story! You never know where an idea can lead, and that is the beauty of story writing.

How do you handle the sparse and dense periods of your writing life?

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

new idea

“The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get old ones out.  Every mind is a building filled with archaic furniture. Clean out a corner of your mind and creativity will instantly fill it.”     Dee Hock     

Bibliophiles Collective Tuesday – A Radio Interview, Editing and a Trip Out!

May 5, 2020
mandyevebarnett


Radio Interview – RadioYou

Radio.jpg

I was thrilled to be part of a local radio’s evening broadcast recently. I talked about my books and also my local writing group. Without this group I would not be writing at all.

 Mandy’s Interview April 2 2020.mp3

I am continuing with the weekly virtual writing group on Sunday’s and it does help keep me on task. This past Sunday I created and scheduled two author interviews for my writing blog and one for my freelancer blog. Also a list of questions for another author interview and monthly Author Tool Box blog post.

I also have two fellow author’s manuscripts I am editing, apart from my own steampunk manuscript – The Commodore’s Gift.

Teaser:

I have created a new physical description for the Commodore and am in the process of making the heroine, Owena, a stronger personality. After a few suggestions I will be altering a segment near the end of the book.  

I am happy to answer any questions you have about my stories, books or writing life. Just comment below.

In other news, my friend and I did ‘leave the building’ on Saturday for a very pleasant afternoon drive. It was a glorious day and driving the back roads refreshed the body and soul. Here are a few photos I took. Unfortunately, the two moose we saw were too far away to get a good photo.

 

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An alternative world not too far from now. The story grips you from the beginning. There are many twists and turns to keep you turning the pages.

My current read:

18143977

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18143977-all-the-light-we-cannot-see

I am happy to connect with you on Goodreads – we can share our current read and our reviews over there.

My author profile is also there if you wish to follow me.

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6477059.Mandy_Eve_Barnett

Ideas for Novels Spark From Everywhere, From Anything…

August 25, 2014
mandyevebarnett


Great idea

Our creativity can be inspired from the smallest word to a globally known news worthy article. I was in the grip of such an idea this weekend. It formed from the merging of several obscure news items into a cohesive story and took ‘root’ in my mind. Once I began writing the protagonist came to life and the words flowed. I put down 1000 in less than an hour!

As many of you know I am a free flow writer so apart from a vague idea where I want the story to go, it is a mystery to me. That is the thrill for me. It is an adventure I willingly travel with my characters. They lead and I follow with frantic typing.

What obscure stimulus has sparked an idea for you? 

How do you approach new ideas? Frantic notes? Plot arc? Character descriptions?

No matter what system we use, an idea can grow exponentially once it takes hold. This is wonderful, of course, the only downfall being if we already have a bucketful of ideas already.  I had not wanted another project just at the moment. My children’s chapter book, Ockleberries to the Rescue is in final stages of illustration and formatting, while I am working on edits for my western romance, Willow Tree Tears. These two projects are time consuming enough without a new one being added. My plan for 2015 was to re-visit two previous projects and re-write, edit and revise them. Now I have a story demanding to be written and it is impossible to resist.

Have you experienced a story unwilling to stay quiet?

Obviously, I will have to reschedule my plans and go with the flow. My older projects will have to wait a little longer.

Idea spark

 

Oxymoron Fun…

August 1, 2013
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Oxymoron – a figure of speech with words having incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect

As writers we are constantly playing with words, choosing the perfect word to best describe a situation or character. Utilizing our word knowledge and consciously increasing it as we develop our art. Let’s have some fun!

oxymoron

I found a great blog post, which I wanted to re-blog but it doesn’t let me 😦 so please follow the link: http://atkinsbookshelf.wordpress.com/tag/famous-oxymorons/

A few from the bard himself, Shakespeare –  “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”, “Parting is such sweet sorrow”, “O brawling love! O loving hate!”

plaque

  • “I can resist anything, except temptation.” – Oscar Wilde
  • Simplicity is not a simple thing.” – Charles Chaplin
  • Responsible Drinking? Now that’s an Oxymoron.” – Aaron Howard
  • I am a deeply superficial person.”Andy Warhol
  • No one will ever win the battle of the sexes: there’s too much fraternizing with the enemy.
    -Henry Kissinger
  • If you can’t convince them, confuse themHarry S. Truman

concrete-oxymoron

Do you have any favorites you would like to share? Have you created any of your own?

I describe my Rumble character as a cute monster!

Rumble's First Scare

Does Your Main Character Reflect a Passing Fancy..?

June 8, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Stalwart – definition: strong and stoutly built

I don’t know about you but this description initially brings to mind a solidly built man. He may be the hero or the villain but his presence can not be ignored either way. My character, Evan in Life in Slake Patch is perfectly formed in my mind. He is about six foot tall, blonde, muscular with blue eyes. Browsing through photos on the internet I found a couple of images that are close to how I see Evan. It was while I was browsing that it struck me that my heart-throb Paul Newman, more thank likely influenced my choice of hero in, this my first, novel. Strange how the mind works sometimes.

0801-hootie-mvogel-080img-thing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul is, (alas I should say was)for me, the perfect human being.

paul_newman1_300

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When characterizing your heroes do you draw from people you know or fancied when you were younger?(or still do!)

I found some great articles regarding hero’s so have linked them here. Enjoy.

http://suite101.com/article/defining-a-literary-hero-a210439

http://thescriptlab.com/screenwriting/character/character-roles/959-your-hero-top-ten-rules-expanded

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