Tag Archives: book

Post-Planning

11 Jan

The whole point of planning is to do it before what it is you are undertaking. It’s so all you have to do is follow the path instead of wading through the wilderness. What if I told you, though, there’s also something like post-planning?

You might think I’m mad. And I am, but that’s neither here nor underwear. Personally, I have tried to plot and plan, but my biggest dream of actually plotting most of my novel and writing like the blazes because of it has only happened once. A small thought stepped forward while I was trying to train myself to plot and it occurred to me that writing a first draft IS the plotting. You write it and afterwards you make a lay-out of your scenes and character growth and all that. It makes it easier to check your work and then make any necessary changes. Basically it makes you an edit-plotter, though I’m sure there’s a cooler name for it. Hang on, I’ll think of one.

This means that really there are no wing-it writers, there are just different ways of plotting. What ever works for one writer, will not work for the other. I mean, think about it, our characters are so different from each other. Doesn’t it make sense that humans are are also very different from each other?

DEATH DRAGON WRITER. Yes, that’s the cooler the name. Spread the word. You’re writers, you’ll be good at that.

 

Research As Inspiration

1 Nov

Drowning yourself in your story is the best way to ignite inspiration. Whatever your story is about, surround yourself with it. Find images and tape them to the walls of your mind. Or search for quotes that have to do with your theme/subject and scribble them on post-its. Basically any research helps. And how can it not? You have an idea that excites you and that’s why you want to write it down. Getting excited is only the beginning, staying excited is the key. Reminding yourself of all the aspects that you love about your story gives a boost of inspiration.

My favourite month is October and my favourite day is Halloween. Seriously, I like it more than my birthday. It also happens that I’m wrapping up a novel that involves a strange mansion, ghouls, a dog with three heads, people with eternal life, people searching to get eternal life, and an overall feeling of being on the threshold of life (and death) woven in between the words. What better than to get inspired for that final sprint on the day of Halloween?

*blows raspberries* Except that I was too tired from cleaning my brand new apartment all day. So I’m doing it now. Well, I’m writing ABOUT it now. What? Stop staring. I will do it. It’s just that I must share my pearl of wisdom with all of you other writers. And if you’re not a writer then you can enjoy peeking into the mind of a writer. Don’t mind the mess.

Now to prove to you that I am about to get down and writery, here’s a picture that helped inspire me.

260105410221652370861272870331n

Let It Sink In

11 Oct

My muse has been playing truant since a few weeks ago. I wrote the first draft of my first magical realism novel and it was one hell of a ride. It’s probably the story I’m most proud of and I can’t explain why. Perhaps because I’ve done my best to add some beautiful prose, or because it has an Addams Family feel to it. But man, it was so frustrating, because after rereading it and getting back feedback from my ninja readers I realised I had to rewrite the ending. It was as slow and painful as having my nails pulled out. Exaggerating? Me? Nah.

My heels spontaneously began to drag themselves when my creative mind hit a brick wall covered in thorns and barbed wire. Somehow I couldn’t even work on other projects, because deep down I wanted to finish this story first. I had to. But how could I when my characters were playing hide and seek without having told me?

So as you can guess, I haven’t written in a while and as a writer, that is torture. I felt like a flower who hadn’t been watered. But today, finally, I had my eureka moment! Nothing is as enticing as a blank page and a pen. It’s like putting a chocolate cake in front of someone who’s extremely hungry. I had to write but didn’t really know what. My thoughts drifted to my story and I thought about the theme and what my character really wanted in those final pages. And bam, I had an idea. And bam, I started writing. And BAM, I had my flow back! Oh, finally. I’m no longer starving for words. What a relief.

For a while I thought I would have to lick the words from the books I have, but none taste as good as my own. Anyway, I’ll stop being weird. My point is that there’s no rush. At least, not when you don’t have an agent (yet). Sometimes it’s good to distract yourself with other things before having another brainstorm session. Sometimes it’s good to let your story sink in. Sometimes it’s necessary.

My Muse

9 Oct

Meet my muse because why not? It’s fun to find out what kind of muses there are. I mean I’ve used the term before but never considered who my muse really is. So I stopped to really look at her and noticed she’s a child. A very clever, sometimes sarcastic and really weird child. All in a good way.

My favourite part about her is the passion for stories and my least favourite part is that I need to fuel her with stories. I know that shouldn’t be bad and most of the time it’s not, except when I have a life and don’t have the time. Sometimes my mind is not in reading mode and then I have the time but I won’t enjoy doing it. Yeah, to read or not to read is a difficult question.

Either way,  us writers are lucky to have the muses that we do. Or maybe not…maybe you have a horror story about your muse. Maybe you’ve traded her for another. If so I’d love to hear about it. When the muse is doing her thing, though, the writing flows like a river on drugs. So don’t forget to surprise your muse with virtual cookies and show your appreciation. Unless you have a bad muse, then I’ll give a basket with certain apples. 😉 What? I’m a mystery writer, I’m allowed to murder.

image

Every Writer Needs A Break

2 Aug

Take it from someone who once was at home for six months doing nothing but writing. It may sound like heaven to some of you, but at some point the walls start closing in. Eventually you even get nervous about venturing into THE OUTSIDE. So yes, I get it. All things in moderation, even such an awesome thing as writing.

It’s not just for your sanity. *eye twitch* It’s also to knock some dust off your mind and let in some fresh ideas. Once you are brave enough to face THE OUTSIDE, it’s actually not so bad and you get to observe people, talk, experience. After seeing a person walk in a big hat with a skirt and trousers on with none of the colours matching, you get a vague outline for a new character. After talking to a nice old man about that time his wife cheated on him, you suddenly get an idea for a plot. Should I go on? No, right? Because I’ve had a long day and you’re smart.

By the time you get back to your trusty chair and pet dragons, you are READY to brave those empty pages. You wield your pen and nothing can stop you. Except the occasional snack, but that goes without saying. You can scribble fiercely with this new dose of motivation and inspiration. Besides, let’s face it, it’s nice to stretch those legs every now and then. In fact, it’s been proven that you are most creative while walking. That’s why lots of writers go for nice walks when their characters are refusing to get out of their beds. So, don’t feel ashamed that nothing is pouring out of your fingertips, it’s normal. Writers are kind of superheroes, but we’re still mostly human. Every writer needs a break.

break

Summer Holiday

15 Jul

Finally. *slurps apple juice and leans back in chair* After months of hard work I can finally dust off my characters and play with them again. Working hard is rewarding, especially now that it means that I have a second MA and a kick-ass job. However, it was at the expense of grumpy characters who were eager to share with me the beginnings of new stories.

Sorry, characters. I’m about to make it up to you and I’m not sure you’ll like it. *gets out torture devices* On the agenda as well is possibly re-editing the slightly older magical realism novel that first I’ll be sending out to beta readers. That one was inspired by the Addams Family and involves a peculiar mansion on a hill, with even stranger people who have certain responsibilities regarding dead people.

Other than that of course I’m going to have fun and enjoy my freedom. I might start new novels, or work on older drafts, because man, have I missed writing! What are your plans for the summer?

writing beach

Oh, My Character

7 Mar

In the middle of the night I wake up from a dreamless sleep and there she is. For days I’ve been trying to get her to talk to me. To show herself to me so that I can open the door to adventure. But no, she wasn’t ready. Perhaps shy? No, that doesn’t seem to suit her. She’s spunky and sarcastic and her outfit suggests she isn’t afraid of attention. Right now, that’s exactly what she wants. I really want to sleep, but at the same time I also like what she’s saying. I fly out of bed and return quickly with a pen and paper. I start writing and don’t stop until after an hour or so. When I look down at the piece of paper I proudly examine the first chapter I’ve written. The first chapter of what will be an amazing story. I know this, because I know my character. I won’t tell her that, though, because it will go straight to her head. It’s good when characters don’t know what will happen to them. It makes things more fun. It also allows them to surprise you.

This girl, she doesn’t surprise me, but she does keep me on my toes. She invades my sleep the first time I meet her but it doesn’t stop there. I’m grateful for her existence. I’m glad she trusts me, but it’s a double edged sword. Now she refuses to leave me alone. It’s both annoying and exhilarating. She wants to know what will happen next, and next, and next. She is eager to experience this journey and I’m eager to watch it on the screen of my mind. But isn’t it hard, writers? When you’re talking to someone and you’re engaged in an interesting conversation. And then to have her be interested in the conversation too. Before you know it she’s right there next to you, wanting to butt in so that you can’t even appear like a normal person anymore. Distraction mode activated! Sometimes she even wants me to buy her a drink. And let us not forget the moments you’re in the bathroom and she pops up to tell you something super important where it would be rude if you didn’t write them down immediately. Who cares if your pants are down? We’re fierce writers! And she knows it. When you finally feel like you can sleep and let the day go, you feel someone staring at you and there she is again. She pokes your ribs until you get up again. When watching TV she sits next to you and laughs at all the stupid jokes people make until you become so annoyed that you pick up your pen again.

Oh, my character. So manipulative. Yet so…awesome. But hang in there, writer, because before you know it the story is finished and your character gratefully waves goodbye as you close the book. I love those moments. I always take a moment to appreciate it. I sigh and stare at my desk, proud of what I’ve accomplished. And I’m happy with the break. The moment of freedom. Ah, yes. It’s so nice. And then I come out of the shower and see another one. It begins again…

%d bloggers like this: