WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR IDEAS?

New BLog OutI know this is an age-old question, but when you think about ideas, your mind opens up to unusual places. Sometimes we need to step away from the norm and head to the unknown. This is the unfamiliar territory we seldom visit.

Take a walk down streets you haven’t walked for a long time. Observe the shapes of  homes, with porches or without, toys in the year, or a perfect lawn job with explicit edging. You see an old car in the driveway or a new car parked in the open garage. Can you take a guess at the family living there? Your imagination is tweaked a little and a story begins to form in your mind.

You hear a song on the radio, I-Pod, or music flowing from your television. What is it that draws you to this particular song? A past love, a first dance, or a party you wished you’d never attended. Do not pull the plug. Do not turn off the sound. Instead, listen and feel your stomach tighten into knots or your heartbeats quicken. Keep these feeling close. You might be on the verge of a new romance story. You could also be on the edge of wanting to run to a safer place. This sounds like suspense.

Take a trip, no not to a coffee shop, but to a bus station, a metro train station, or an airport. Sit like you are waiting for the next ride out or for someone. Watch. Observe. Snap a few pics with your cell phone to give you some great reminders. Any of these places will make your senses sharper, your mind more active, and the ideas will be full of flavor. Let your imagination run wild as you see travelers get on or get off a bus, train , or walk in a crowded airport looking for someone.

The next time a Carnival or Circus comes around, make an effort to go. How long has it been since you walked through a FUN HOUSE? Feel the excitement from your childhood along with the fright. Do not cover your screams.

See your ideas come from different parts of life and bring new energy to your projects.

HAPPY IDEA HUNTING.

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REVISE REVISE REVISE

Lost ConfidenceWHAT AGAIN? I just finished revising and reading and revising. How many times does this happen? Think about this process as a new way to check your revised manuscript.

You now have folders of information on the settings of your story and have made some changes. Take another look–do you still see some difficult areas? Your heart and mind are still wrapped around your story and you might miss some needed changes. These changes will be easy and can be fun. Tighten your seat belt and keep the fingers warm on the keyboard.

This is where you give your MUSE some much-needed time to rest and bring the SENSOR out of his box. He will be riding gunshot for you and you’ll know the areas to revisit. In this section, you need to be the reader and not the writer. Can you feel the story? Do the emotions of the characters swim off the page and into your heart? Can you hear a certain song run through your head as you walk the pages with your characters? Can you visualize the scenes through the music? If not, would a different tune increase the emotions of your characters. Music, writing, characters, and themes all tie themselves together. So listen to your characters and what they want.

Another way to read through your draft is with pictures. Yes, you got some of these through online information. Take some of these out of the research folder and pin them to a big board by your computer. With little trouble, you can move these pictures around, add new ones, and take some down, until you create the feeling of your story. Look and see if any of these creative visuals translate to your work. Can your characters move around with confidence? As a reader, can you see them working, living, playing, fighting, and loving in these scenes?

Do the characters have a clear objective? Is there enough conflict or too much, are their emotional struggles real and you want to yell at them or push them forward. Your SENSOR loves to stir up trouble. Did he find enough obstacles for the characters to overcome? If not, you might want to put some stumbling blocks in front of the hero or heroine. What about the antagonist? Are then enough negative points as strong as the positive points?

You notice both your Sensor and Muse are quiet. This has been a hard journey for the three of you: writer, sensor and muse. Take a breather. Get away from your story and revision(s). Take a walk, go for a run, and let the mind wander. Sometimes when we let go, we gain more insight.

Tomorrow is another day for writing. A new song might fill your head and you’ll find your characters sassy and happier than ever. Revising is hard work. Look at all you have accomplished.

Congratulations. Happy Writing.

R + R + R

Yes, you are busy revising, but now you must add to this. WHAT?  Revising, reading, and revising are all part of the process. You might revise, but until you read these revisions, you will not know if your changes are as strong as they can be or if there are wasted words? Read your work like a reader and not a writer through this time. You need to recapture the feelings you had while writing your draft. Are they in place, or did the revisions take them out?

So, I’m revising my revision? Yes. Have you done enough research in your first draft? Look again and see if there are any places you might have missed. Research is vital to your fiction’s correctness. A wrong street in a certain town or the church on the right corner, when the church sits in the next block on the left corner.

But, I cannot get to all the places: too far away, not enough time, and the cost is too great. How can I get all of this correct? Go on-line and get information from the State you are writing about. These departments are willing to share their history along with maps, photos, and people willing to talk about their homeland. Do not be shy. Take any information you may receive, AND be certain you include this in your acknowledgements.

Visit the net for information, in your state and area, for weather years ago or current. What songs came from a jukebox, radio or television. Check out everything you can find. Your story takes place fifty years ago. You could destroy your creditability if you put in a current day’s song. Keep all of your research and backup material with your story as you progress from first draft to the tenth revision. This is your backup to your story, whether fiction or non-fiction. If you know the facts, you can massage the fiction.

Go back through again and check where you stop showing and begin telling the story. Make a list of these areas, and then turn off your SENSOR. Write a new paragraph to show all the possibilities for your characters. Do not apply pressure to them, only to yourself to make the characters shine. Add details, delete tell words, let your mind lead you to your character’s interest.

You will feel the release of power with the words and your revision will stand out. Your characters will show what they want and you are in the position to give them their place in your story. They will dance to get on the page. Invite them for a second dance and you will be on top of the world.

Revisions completed? Only you will know, and then you are on your way. Look at revisions as a way to improve your writing, bring new life to your characters, and give the best you have to your story.

Happy Writing

WRITING – POETRY – ART?

Book CaseDo not holler yet, please? But, do think about how poetry can assist you in some of your writing struggles. Enter the scenes in your head. No thanks, I write books – I am not a rhyming person – poetry is fluff – I write erotica – poetry is for old people who want to look backwards – poetry, I don’t think so.

There are more excuses about poetry, but before we stick our heads in the sand, we should examine why poetry can, could and does help our writing. How long ago did you pick up a book of poetry and read? Some of our best poets suffered from illnesses, sometimes not mentioned. Sylvia Plath, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Virginia Wolf, and William Shakespeare had addictions, depressions, mental issues and their works of poetry show their true feelings and desperation. One poem I love was written by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Her words came from a time , not yet established in her life, she wrote for the future. One particular poem, Solitude begins, “Laugh and the word laughs with you. Weep and you weep alonge.” This is a wide read poem, even today.

Look at some of your favorite poets and read their works. Picture yourself searching for words to fit your expressions. Do not we, as writers, do the same for our works. Of course, and sometimes we use the first word we can conjure. If you are having a bad day at writing, what is one of the things you can do? Return to one of your favorite quotes, or something posted at your computer or on the wall. Reading will help your vision get back on track.

Wanting to write and giving yourself permission to do this are the same for every writer, and the genre does not matter. Remember, there is not bad writing only the first efforts and many revisions create good writing.

Here are a few actions to help yourself feel great about writing and sticking to it every day:

*  Do not judge anything you write as great or a failure

*  Keep Writing

*  Don’t whine about time or energy needed to write. Just write, write, and write.

*  Keep telling yourself you are a writer.

*  Learn more about the craft.

*  Keep paper and pen with you at all times.

*  Jot down sayings you see on cars. What about road signs? They always have mishaps.

*  What about a song on the radio? The music, the beat, the sadness might fit into your next stanza or paragraph.

Another area writers might look into is art. How long has it been since you went to an art gallery or a photography exhibit? The next time you see one advertised, go, study the artists view or the photographer’s camera angle.

Sometimes the blank page is huge and we need to create words and phrases, the same and we need to create words and phrases, just as a paint brush needs to create color, and the camera different angles or the poet a feeling to draw the reader into the depths of a soul.

You are a writer and you must make the choice to write every day. No matter the genre, you write and write and write. The words flow on the pages you write and you watch your dream take shape.

You write because you are a writer.