When we create a narrative, our first priority is to decide on which point of view we want to use, the narrative perspective or mode. First person, second or third. Each has it’s own guidelines and enables us to manipulate the reader into the mindset of the character or characters we wish them to sympathize with. As the author we are the omnipresent voice, the one who directs the action and reveals the plot. Whose thoughts, feelings and decisions we reveal to our readers can make a great deal of difference in how the story flows and if you want more mystery to the outcome or highlight your characters internal struggle.
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.
Have you tried any of these solutions?
Do you have a technique you can share?
“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
We all have our favorite TV series, whether current or past but what makes them appeal to us? The writing has to be excellent with a strong plot line and characters we can love. I admit I’m behind the times in watching Breaking Bad (my main evening pursuit is writing!) but I was persuaded to watch one episode and got hooked. Rather than empathizing with Skylar, the mother figure, protecting her children, I really loved Walt and disliked the wife. This seems to be a common feeling among the audience and one that surprised the writer and producer.
When I thought about Walt, I remembered that I loved J.R. Ewing not the sappy Bobby! Do we love a villain above a goody two shoes? Obviously, the style and writing of these two programs is vastly different but both had bad boys that were the main characters. An alternative is Dr. Who, always the hero of the story, no matter how he is portrayed in his numerous guises.
Writers have come and gone in many long running series, but keep to the main characteristics (most of the time!) so we continue to love our favorite characters. We become engaged in their ‘lives’ and miss them, as if they were real when the series ends or is discontinued. Take for example my impatience to watch the last season of Dexter. I know it is the final one but I miss the character a lot.
Another series I found was Weeds, which is, to my mind, a tongue in cheek story line. It is obviously unrealistic as drug runners are not as accomodating as the one’s encountered during Nancy’s naive pot supplying antics. It leaves many questions unanswered in why a surburb housewife would be able to do what Nancy does and for the most part get away with it. If you view the episodes light-heartedly and as a piece of fun then it is enjoyable.
Which TV series do you find compelling – past or current?
What makes them your favorite?
Fun Day Prompt:
Write a scene using your favorite character from a series you love or loved.