As the year draws to a close I have started thinking about what I want to do next year and one thing is to blog more. And always anxious to get started, I decided to start now. In the past couple of months I have been teaching a variety of writing courses at Savvy Authors and I have two more that will in two weeks. One of them is a six-month long class that deals with writing an entire book. It's not as intense as NaNoWriMo, but it can be challenging.
It got me started thinking about how I start to write a book. Well, it all starts with ideas, of course.How often do you get those great ideas and then you don’t know what to do with them? A couple of weeks ago one of my classes was a Help Desk coaching class and I tried to give everyone ideas for their writing. This is one of the lessons I took away from that class.
1. Have a Plotting Party. This can be a lot of fun and get others involved as well. If two heads are better than one, then how about three or four?
I toss out my opening premise and we go to work. I’ll take notes and we’ll start throwing out ideas. We might take the plot in one direction for a while and then someone comes up with something so wild we go in an entirely different direction. More ideas, more directions for the plot to go.
They also toss out ideas for the hero or heroine. Or sometimes they can make the villains really weird or spooky. I have one friend who always seems to make him sympathetic. It helps me to keep things in perspective as I write the story too.
Since I don’t have any preconceived notions of how they might react the characters often come through better and on their own terms. I’ll do that same sort of thing with a scene, describing the setting or the feel. I may not use all of what I’ve written, but both of these exercises get me into the mood for writing and before long I find myself working on an actual scene itself.
3. Another idea I stole for mystery writer John Sandford. At a booksigning someone asked him what he did when he was stuck in writing a scene. He said he took a notebook and went to dinner and didn’t come home until the scene was written.
I’ve often done that, though not necessarily when I was stuck on a scene. I’ll do it as a part of my regular writing progress. Whenever I find myself rebelling against writing my pages, I take myself out to dinner.
So as the year comes to an end... if you need to come up with some ideas for what to do with your ideas, you might try these suggestions!