This week’s question: When crafting a new story – what works best for you, laptop, fountain pen, dictation, or longhand?
For me, I write best on a laptop as it is the fastest option to free flow my words. What about you?
Last week’s question: What is your motivation for writing more?
My reply is that I have so many stories tumbling around in my head, I have to keep writing to get them all out. Many of you know I only began ‘writing’ when I came to Canada so I’m now making up for ‘lost’ time! I have always been creative but for whatever reason I had never written ‘stories’ before for the explicit reason of allowing other people to read them. Mandy Eve-Barnett
I managed to hide away in my local library last night prior to my writers meeting and work on revisions for my reincarnation romance, The Twesome Loop. With twenty-two pages revised, 510 words added (I don’t count deleted ones!) I felt satisfied at it’s progress. Now I have found a superb cover designer I’m already thinking of a cover for this novel, the illustrated one was the NaNoWriMo proof copy. This novel is one I will be finalizing (hopefully) at the writers retreat later this month. Countdown is on to 18th May…
Our meeting was fun and I shared a part chapter of Twesome, which was well received. It always bolsters an author’s confidence when their words are liked.
My ghost writing project will have several changes made this week, although as I am accompanying my daughter to her reptile show all weekend I doubt I will get any writing done until the evenings.
The Other Life by Ellen Meister- I finished this book, thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is my review on Goodreads.
Love the struggle Quinn has in this story, whether to stay with her current family life or switch to a more glamorous one, she once had. There are many factors for and against in both lives and this narrative beautifully demonstrates that. Mothering has its challenges and Quinn has to make some hard choices, so even if you are not into ‘alternative or parallel worlds’ this story will capture you.
Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger. I am now absorbed by this tale, which is set in London, England on the outskirts of Highgate Cemetery of all places. Obviously this appeals to my warped sense of drama.
While I was at Authors for Indies on Saturday at the Sherwood Park Bookworm, I requested a book with a reincarnation theme. Luckily for me, Leanne the owner found it so it is now on my TBR pile.
Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn
How many books do you read in connection with or research for, your current work in progress?
Keep a journal or notebook handy at all times so you can jot down all of your brilliant ideas. If you’ve got a smartphone, make sure it’s loaded with a note-taking app. A voice-recording app also comes in handy for recording notes and ideas.
Personally I keep a notebook beside my bed and one in my handbag/purse all the time – when an idea strikes it is best to write it down – later it will allude you!
Make sure you have a dictionary and thesaurus available whenever you are writing.
Do you have a favorite writing tip you would like to share?
Before you go on your trip, make a plan for what you’ll actually do while you’re traveling. Be realistic about how much time you’ll actually have to work.
2. Bring the essentials
Condensing an office’s worth of gear, equipment and supplies into a carry-on sized bag. First, start with the most important things.
Laptop: If you have an alternative lightweight portable laptop/tablet take that instead. Remember your charger!
Reference materials: Take the most relevant materials for your planned project.
Notebook and pen: Always have a small notebook and a pen. Ideas for a novel or character can spring up at any time.
3. Back it up
Make sure you back up your work – a flash drive, emailing to yourself or a data saving source.
Take digital copies instead of resource material with you instead of hard copies.
5. Bring travel-writing essentials
Even though you’re traveling light, be sure to bring anything you’ll need to transform your trip into a story including a way to take photos. Having photos can also help when you’re trying to recollect specific details and set a scene when you’re writing later on.
6. Safeguard your gear
Make sure you carry your most important items (like your laptop and backups) with you. Consider travel insurance or checking your current insurance policies (such as homeowner’s, renter’s, or automobile) to see if they’ll cover your valuables.
This is my traveling list:
My laptop & charger
A hard drive to back up
Notebook – which includes notes on my current project (these are in addition to my file folders on my laptop. I also use it for revision notes & narrative additions, page numbers of where I am in the process etc.
Pens and a pencil
Cell phone for photos & charger
Comfortable clothes and warm socks, eye glasses, a bottle of wine & snacks and tea bags (Okay I’m English teabags are a must!)
We normally request a desk & two chairs when we book a room to ensure we both have comfortable areas in which to write. Luckily neither of us needs noise so silence reigns unless we are discussing our day or writing. (No TV required either!)
APOLOGIES this post should have gone out yesterday! I was reveling in my day off…
A recent comment by a writer I know stunned me into silence. What did they say you may ask? This is the statement :
I’m not sure I have anything to write at the moment.
If you are like me the the fact of this sentence is mind blowing. How can you have nothing to write I thought. I have so many ideas in my head I worry I may not get them all written before I go to MUSE central!
Maybe it was not a lack of ideas my friend had but the problem of deciding which one to pursue? Many of us have numerous story ideas bouncing around inside our heads.This may seem a good problem to have, however, too many ideas and no focus can be just as debilitating as staring at a blank page or screen. Symptoms can include indecision, procrastination, failure to meet deadlines, insomnia and anxiety.
The problem is how do we ensure these golden nuggets are not lost? We endeavor to keep them by making frantic notes but musing over where they could possibly lead to can lead to devastating interruption to our current project. So how do we identify if this ‘new’ idea is worth pursuing?
There are many strategies we can employ to decide on which are best to keep – here are a few to try:
a) Leave the chaos of your writing space with pen and paper or recording device and go for a walk. Once you are in a new environment the most exciting and prominent idea(s) will stay with you. Write or record them and let your imagination flourish with them for a while.
b) Restrict your time on musing about new ideas by setting yourself a time limit. Even a ten minute burst of inspirational writing will ensure you get the idea down but not ‘waste’ too much time on it. Once it is written put it to one side and continue with your current project, safe in the knowledge the idea has been dealt with.
c) Take some time to really dissect the new idea. Can you envisage the plot arc, the ending, the characters? If the majority of the narrative reveals itself to you, then mark it down as your next project. However, if the idea is vague, do not pursue it – just jot down the outline and file it.
d) Utilize your passion when defining whether an idea is worth reflection. If it excites you or is on a subject you feel passionate about then it should be considered in depth.
e) Get yourself an idea board. Organize each idea into genre or categories and when a new plot, character or scene comes to you place it with the other components of that particular story.
f) Bounce your ideas off a few trusted friends or members of your writing group.
It is thought a ‘problem’ to have too many ideas – they densely populate our minds. Crowding out each other and jostling for attention. It can be frustrating when we are embroiled in a current project. We hastily jot down the details of the new idea, too frightened to leave it to chance that we will remember it later. This removes our mind set from progressing with our existing work, if only for a short time. These ‘breaks’ can either be a good thing – returning refreshed and with renewed vigor or a bad thing – lured into the new project and dissatisfied with the WIP.
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?
“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.”
Many of us have scribbled notes on pieces of paper, in notebooks even on torn napkins, of ideas for our current or next narrative. These can ‘disappear’ if we are not careful and as we all know once it is gone – it’s gone!
There are techniques that can assist us in capturing and organizing these snippets of genius. Filing notebooks on theme or genre, keeping those scraps of paper in an ideas box or if you are seriously organized typing them up and putting into folders on your computer. Whatever method works for you, keep doing it. Capture those inspirations – they are precious.
These wonderful bloggers have great insights on keeping organized – take a look.