Friday, January 31, 2014

Friday Fricassee


Who, me?  Eagerly waving the month good bye?  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  It's been COLD.  And it's going to STILL BE COLD in February.  So at least I can say that I'm halfway through the coldest months.

First, some thanks:

THANK YOU for your comments last week on why your characters are real.  It's always so intriguing to read these lovely peeks inside other writers' brains.

THANK YOU for your critiques this week.  There are certain names that appear over and over again in my inbox, evidence of faithful critique (Barbara! Stephsco! And others!).  On behalf of the writers whom you're blessing with your time and talent, many thanks.

Next, some more chatter:

I have been struggling these weeks with the creative process of starting a new story.  As in, I feel unproductive if I don't have a word count.  And you know there's an awful lot of UN-writing that goes on during the planning stage; lots of research and staring and thinking and staring and scribbling notes and staring and--have I mentioned the staring?

So what does your creative process look like when you've got a fresh idea?  How do you worldbuild?  Do you struggle with feeling like you're doing nothing, when actually your brain is in overdrive?  Are you satisfied to be in the thinking/planning/doodling stage, or do you long to dive in and actually WRITE?

And do you drive your loved ones crazy?  (Just saying...)

I'm thinking it might help if those of us in these early stages know that there are others in the same part of the process.  That we're not, yanno, staring alone into space.  So please do share!


I have one slot in February for a Premiere Critique (75 pages).  I'll announce this next week UNLESS someone grabs it now.  Details HERE.

Happy First Weekend of February!


  1. Girl, I'm right there with you. I started something new this week, and I'm in the "idon'twanna" phase right now, because it takes me some time to really get to know a new story and start to love it. So until then, it's a bit of an uphill climb. And oh yes, on the staring. So much staring...

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  3. My creative processes...sound much like yours. But it also includes writing a thousand words of one plot, deleting it and staring again. I do that several times...before I finally get a start.

    But of course, lots of staring in there too....lots.

  4. I think I'm a really lucky person. I get my ideas while I'm still finishing something else. So while I'm finishing, I have a chance to sneak in some research time and get things in line. When I've finished the initial project, I give myself a little breather to watch movies, read books and navel gaze before diving into the new project. By that point, it's usually "there enough" to start in on it. Then i do the majority of world building as I write, because I pretty much go back to the beginning and rewrite everything from scratch. Because I know there's going to be a full rewrite at the end, there's hardly any point in spending too much time researching before starting the first draft.

    I think I just said I'm lucky enough to have to write all my projects twice. I may need to reevaluate my personal definition of the word "lucky."

  5. I always try to have two things going to avoid floundering - which I am prone to do. So, I will have my main project and task myself to get 1000 words in that every day and a secondary project (usually in a different genre or style) which I will turn to at night and try and get 250-500. Then, when the main project is complete, the secondary one moves up and replaces it etc... it works for me and has the benefit of ensuring you don't get too bogged down in one thing - frees the mind so to speak and that's when creativity can blossom.

  6. I thought for 9 months before writing my first MS. I mean, I had a few words here and there, but mostly, I thought about it.

    I still tend to have most of the major plot points planned before I start writing, and I could have several pages of notes and outline before I get anywhere in the text.

  7. I get an idea and I start writing. I'm not a planner but I will do a rough outline of bullet points that includes the ending. However, I have been known to change it or ignore it all together as I get writing. I plot when I am doing other things like chores or walking. As a quote I saw said, I'm either always writing or thinking about writing. I usually have a couple of plots ready to go once I am done with the current WIP.

  8. When I have an idea that is ready for writing (which is to say, it makes me sit up and think, "Oh, that's IT!"), I just write. No research, no plan, no outline. What usually happens is I have a scene that is so fully formed in my head I can write, and things develop from there. Once I start 'just writing', I do a lot of thinking about it while I'm doing other things.

  9. My big problem is that I have a huge backlog of ideas and writing projects in various stages. These range from some that exist only as a few notes scribbled on a single page, to the book I really want to finish this spring, which I wrote almost half of many years ago, and for which I have a large file full of notes and sketches.

    So when I get a new idea -- and I've never had any shortage of them! -- it becomes a frantic race to write down enough of it so that it won't slip away and the inspiration will still be there when I come back to it later. (Especially since that may well be years later!)

    What I end up with is usually something like a rough synopsis, perhaps sprinkled with a few lines of dialogue and a few detailed descriptions. It also inevitably includes a lot of silly comments and private jokes that help me capture the essence of the story and the characters, but which probably wouldn't mean anything to anyone else!

  10. I've been having a problem deciding between two different story beginnings. In the first one, the character has already been accused of something. But that brought up the problem of constantly referring back to something the reader didn't see. In my second version, the character is almost immediately accused. But that cut him off from the other characters too quickly. Both versions had tension, but were problematic.

    Now I'm doing the version where the accusation will be the first big conflict in the story. He sees signs it's coming, so that provides the tension. And we see him interacting with other characters. But I have to make sure the accusation scene is interesting enough to justify all this.

  11. Staring is a favorite activity. There's so much going on outside! I've identified a couple of unfamiliar birds. . .and I use character questionnaires. You know, asking my characters what they'd do if they won the lottery; or what's been their most embarrassing moment so far. . . and then I'll realize the most embarrassing thing is actually about to happen. . . . Like that. Mental billiards. Happy Groundhog Day!

  12. You are all so fascinating. Generations from now people will look back on you and see what you have left behind in your stories and they will thank you for it.

    For me, I just like to listen to music I like or be with friends. I find that when I am in a positive frame of mind I can write better. The reason I can write better is probably because I am not taking myself so seriously when I am in a good mood. I also just write for myself and no one else. If I believe that anyone is going to be reading what I am putting on paper then I cannot get a word on the page. Fear of judgement, I guess... which we all know will come.