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Saturday, June 17, 2017

The I-Files. Yes, been watching Mulder and Scully WAY TOO MUCH!

      I don't know about you, but when I get a really good idea...I like to write it down somewhere. Sometimes I don't have anywhere to write it on, so I grab what is handy.   I pull a napkin or a receipt from my favorite coffee shop or bookstore (those are longer and wider typically).  I even tell folks to use their phones notepad/evernote/fill in the blank app.  Some even have voice recorders, or you can get the old fashioned kind and buy a small tape recorder (voice recorder, I have 2, but darn it, I can't find them to save my life!).

So what I do, is to take the idea down with whatever is at hand. I write it down; the place, date and time down to...even what spurned the idea (as the action that created the idea might make it's way into its story).   I may make further notes (brainstorming), if that comes.  If it doesn't then it will be kept and worked into another story later, or might tie in nicely to another WIP (Work in Progress.)

Once I get it down on paper, or on the recording device (and assuming that I didn't lose those either) then it is time to move it over to my I-Files.  I actually call mine "Shiny New Ideas," and it's a spreadsheet in Google Drive.   That way I can get them anywhere, and on any device I choose.    It looks something like this.

IDEA                                                                      DATE:                                             SOURCE:

JOHN AND HARVEY FIND LOST DOG            03.22.77                       DOG WANDERING

If you want you can put more detail in those fields.   For instance;

  • Weather and setting
  • Anything else that strikes you about this.  
  • What they were wearing.   

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Revisiting Old Friends...AKA Finding "Buried" Treasure

     Finding stories you don't recall writing is fun.  It's like unearthing buried treasure, without the X to mark your spot. For me it is like revisiting old friends.  They may not have been completed stories either;  I may not remember all the details of where I wanted to take it.  But, I sometimes come up with new, and perhaps even better ideas.  As these are unfinished projects, it might have meant that the original idea wasn't good enough, or have enough strength to pursue to completion.

     It can be a challenge to decide where to go with, or recapture the interest in it; sometimes you just  have to let it go.   But you should never get rid of those treasures,  they can become the basis for some other project.  Or I may get some more fleshing out on the idea, but that is about it.  And sometimes it can be years before I get around to revisiting these old friends.

     So I hear you..."Hey, can you give us an example?"

     In full disclosure, I haven't actually haven't had much opportunity to pursue a formerly buried idea, because most of my project ideas are very incomplete.  And new ideas that I know I will publish, come up.  So the first, and only time that I recall that  I've used this advice was with my 2009 Nano novel.  That one was written as a sort of fictionalized auto biography.  The main character was a rape survivor (like myself), who had a very dysfunctional relationship with her mother (who was based on my mother, aunt, and a few other women I knew.) Her father was more like my dad.   That project was all handwritten, and I really liked it much better than the one I tried to rewrite with the same basic idea for Nano 2012.   The secondary character was taking over too much (when she wasn't in the first one at all).  The only reason I had her was to raise the stakes for my main character, but the story really didn't work. I probably won't rewrite it again, as the character is too close to me.  But if I find my original again, or can recreate the original closely from memory,  then I would definitely finish it.

     Revisiting these stories can help you see how far you've come.  You may not use them again...but they are precious for showing your progression as a writer.  They may also be given away if you so it forward to other writers.  But remember, ideas cannot be copyrighted, and also cannot be stolen.  As was said (badly paraphrased) "There are no new ideas, only how you  transform them, and make them your own."

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Friday, June 2, 2017

What Would You Like to See Me Cover in a Blog?

I've been pretty much at this blog thing for several years now, and I've covered a lot of stuff in that time.  But I'm trying to get ideas for new topics to cover.   So I'm coming to my readers and writers, what would you like to see me cover?    Would you like more "How tos?"  More on NaNoWrimo?  

I plan on craft posts as well, so what are you having trouble with, in your writing?    Inquiring minds wanna know.  Yea, I love to quote old material :)

Would you like to see more short stories?    Stuff that I've published?  

I would quote Ferris Beuhler, but I won't.

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