Monday, September 26, 2011

A bubblin' and a brewing

When a new story idea hits you, how does it work?

For me, I get this sizzle of an idea. It sparks in my brain... just a small thought. It might be inspired by a song, or a line from a movie, or a poem, or a scenario that flits through my head.

That spark lights a small flame that begins to simmer in my brain. The small idea becomes a scene. From there things begin to grow. I usually start with the ending... where do I want these characters to end up? The end scene then sends me shooting forward to the beginning... where were these characters in the first place? What about their life needed to change?

Once I have this base, I can stick my cauldron of water on top of my flame and go for it. As the days pass, new scenes pop into my head. Like adding flavours to a good stew, the ending of my story changes and gets better, my beginning develops more depth as back stories are given to my characters. Layers are added, themes start to appear, the characters become real people with real problems. Other characters pop out of the wood work and add to the story. More days pass and I come up with better scenes and dialogue. The story changes yet again.

It usually takes a couple of weeks. The story bubbles in the back of my brain continually during this time, distracting me. By this stage I have run the story through my mind dozens of times. Re-enacting favourite scenes over and over. Memorising what the characters said, picturing their facial expressions, feeling their emotions.

Throughout this time I've been writing frantic notes. Like scribbling down ingredients that I'm shoving into a recipe. I don't want to forget how a character spoke, the expression they used. I don't want to forget the essence of a particular scene.

My notes become a jumbled mess. Characters get new names half way through the process. Bits get added in a mish-mash order. My 'Ideas Document' would be total confusion for anyone to try and read.

Eventually the story comes to a place of satisfaction in my brain. My stew is starting to taste like stew. That's when I sit down to sort through my notes, research what I need to, write character profiles, outline exactly where my story will go.

Finally, finally, I get to start writing. No doubt the story will change some more, but I have a solid foundation.

I have to say, this cooking stage of a project... it's my favourite part :)

How about you guys?
How do stories form in your brain?

Friday, September 23, 2011

I've got a new computer!!


Finally, after years of patience, I have FINALLY got a computer that doesn't work at the pace of a snail. My screen is big, the keys are new! I can actually see all the letters instead of typing on worn, white keys. And the internet, man, it's so fast now!!

I can't tell you how exciting this is for me.
As a writer, you form a very close attachment to your computer, so to have a snazzy new model is just so awesome.

Now to name her :)

Any ideas?

As a writer, what have you formed attachments to?
A journal? Any particular books? Your computer?
Does anyone else out there name their computer?

Happy writing everyone :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Have patience

When I was a kid and I started getting impatient, my Dad would always start singing this song...

"Have patience, have patience, don't be in such a hurry. When you get impatient, you only start to worry..."

It used to drive me crazy!!
And now I sing it to my kids. Go figure :)

Funny how I still have to sing it to myself sometimes, especially when it comes to my writing.
I get so excited I want everything to happen now.
I want my career to start. I want my book to be finished. I want thousands of copies to sell.

I am learning that to do well in this particular career, it takes patience. If you want to succeed, you have to take the time to make your writing brilliant. You have to study, train, refine, improve, edit, change, adapt, revise... not to mention the benefits of getting your work critiqued. All of those things take time. It's worth taking a deep breath or two, stepping back and waiting until something is awesome before launching yourself forward.

I don't just want to be a writer. I want to be an outstanding writer... and so I must have patience, have patience, and not be in such a hurry.

Do any of you struggle with wanting to surge ahead?
What things do you find hard about the writing process?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Pass it on

Laura Pauling has a great blog that I enjoy following. Her most recent post is awesome, so I thought I'd share it around.
She's listed some excellent blogs to follow if you're interested in MG or YA fiction.

Have fun checking them out :)

Laura's helpful post.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Time for an update

I spent about an hour playing with all the different designs this blog offers. Man, it was so much fun!
I really like the look of my new page.
Hopefully everyone else will too :)

Have spent this week editing. I actually quite enjoy it. Am I insane?
The thing I like about it is... it's making my work better. That can only be a good thing, right?

What have you been up to in your writing this week?

Monday, September 12, 2011

The blurb

I don't know about you guys, but I find blurb writing about as hard as the synopsis. How do you write that perfect little paragraph or two, that will have people desperate to read your book?

I sat in the library for ages the other day just going through the YA shelves and reading blurb after blurb. Some of them were awesome, others totally cracked me up and others seemed ho-hum.
I want mine to be in the first category... obviously!

The other thing I'm finding challenging is that I need to write one for each of my novels in the trilogy. I want to assume that most people reading the second and third books would have read the first, so some of the info should be obvious to them. How much do you need to include in your sequel book blurb? I don't want it to be overly wordy.

I've come up with a few different scenarios recently and I'm happy with my fifth attempt so far, but I just thought I'd put the thought out there and find out how you guys go about tackling the blurb.

Hope everyone has a great start to their week. Happy writing everyone :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Doubt Demons

You've heard of these guys, right? There those little thoughts that fester in the back of your brain telling you you're not good enough and you don't have what it takes to make it.

They have been plaguing me this week. Little niggles and questions keep leaping through my mind encouraging me to never share my writing with the world. If I put my work out there, I am opening myself up to a world of criticism. People might hate my stuff... could I handle that?

The simple answer is yes and this is how I conquered my fresh round of doubts...

There's a story in the bible where the Israelites need to cross the Jordan River in order to reach the Promised Land. The river is flowing with water and cannot be crossed. God tells the priests carrying the Arc of the Covenant to step into the water. When they did, the water dried up and the entire nation of people was able to walk across.

Basically God was making his people take a step of faith before showing what he could really do.

Last night as I was battling my negativity, I suddenly had the thought, "Step into the river." Now I like to think this is God inspired, but whether it was just me thinking it, or him leading the way, it was a huge encouragement.

If I want to make my passion a career, I need to step into the river. I need to put myself out there and see what will happen. Who knows... people might love my stuff :)

How do you overcome your doubt demons?