How to Organize and Develop Your Writing Ideas

 Guest Blog by J. D. Scott

 

You may have had ideas come to you in a flood, or you may labor over them until they’re fully delivered, but they all have one thing in common: they need to be developed into literature. So let’s go over some techniques to help you make the transition from a great idea into a great piece of writing!

ORGANIZING YOUR IDEAS:

  • Do you have a lot of creative ideas for writing?
  • Have you thought of more than you have time to develop?
  • So what do you do with them all?

~ Write them down: An outline or a paragraph for the more complicated ideas, or a sentence describing the simpler ones, will help you retain your thoughts later.

~ Keep them organized: Index cards, filing cabinet, files on your computer, a binder. If you have multiple categories, you may want to divide them by color-coding the subject files.

~ Choose a subject: Now you have to pick! Consider the big ideas first. You may be able to combine a few into one story, but too many will confuse your reader. More is not always better! Consider your target audience, and focus in on that one idea. I would not recommend starting several writing projects at once. You could bounce from story to story, never finishing anything—or worse, get discouraged and give up all together.

DEVELOPING YOUR IDEA:

Now that you have your idea, it’s time to get writing! But how can this small seed develop into a thriving story? Here are some ideas…

Find a Writers Group: In person, or online.

Talk it out: One of the best ways I’ve found to develop a story is to talk it over, then talk it over again, and then some more! Have lunch with a friend or spouse, and share your ideas with them. Call another writer; you could be a sounding board for each other’s work. Using a tape or digital recorder can also be helpful. The idea is that sometimes listening to your thoughts out loud can be enough to get you moving forward in your plot.

Try Visualization: Play your story out in your mind like a movie. This is a powerful and creative processing tool. Picture your characters—what they look like, the environment they’re in, and what your senses are hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and tasting. If you can picture it, it will be much easier to write. Photographs that represent settings or characters that you’re working on can also inspire you.

Sketch or Doodle: Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist, this can be very helpful. You could draw anything from a character, a setting, such as a castle or house, or even an aerial view of the land your work is set in. They don’t have to be worthy of publication; they’re simply to help you “see” your story better.

Charts and Graphs: This could come in many forms, from: a family tree showing genealogy, a timeline with a sequence of events, a chart with the climactic moments of your story, or a graph of your characters’s personality traits. The point is, it has to make sense to you and help your writing to move forward.

Storyboarding: This is simply using still pictures (photographs or drawings) to tell a story. Screenwriters and cartoonists commonly storyboard, however, it can be a very effective tool to lay out the storyline of a book. This could also be done in small sections on a dry-erase board. You don’t have to be great at sketching; you are simply creating images that are significant to you, or using words or word groups to keep track of where you are in your story. Including character descriptions, geology, dialog, or location can also be helpful.

Puzzle-making: This method consists of writing down storylines on strips of paper so that you can shuffle events around until you’re happy with the sequence. It can also be used to arrange a family tree, show relationships between characters, or just to keep track of your ideas. This can be time-consuming, however, it’s a great way to show the flexibility in your plot.

In writing, the hardest obstacle to overcome by far—is SITTING DOWN AND DOING IT! Our lives are busy, and we have many demands on our time, but if you are able to carve out a time each day—or even a couple times through the week—you will be pleasantly surprised with the outcome. I hope these ideas have been helpful to you, and have sparked your creativity.

 

Meet our Guest Blogger, J. D. Scott:

 

1398565_625686540810471_203956950_oJ. D. Scott is the organizing member of Abba’s Writers in Phoenix, Arizona. She leads, instructs, and teaches critiquing and story development to its members.

In 2013, J. D. Scott became part of the team at A Book’s Mind as a Publishing Consultant. She enjoys working alongside writers, helping them fulfill their dreams of becoming published authors.

Before being bit by the writing bug, J. D. Scott spent 20 years working with children as a nanny, mentor, camp counselor, and youth-group leader. With a heart for today’s youth, she set out to write books that both entertain and inspire them to rise above the current culture and see their true value.

She continues to live out her life’s passions of writing, publishing, and counseling/mentoring women and children.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble  | JDScottNovels | Blog | 
 | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Email |

 

[See what J. D. Scott had to say about our editor!]

 

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Frost on Style

“Style is that which indicates how the writer takes himself and what he is saying. It is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward.”

— Robert Frost

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How to Sell Your Books

[found on lloydlofthouse.org; by Lloyd Lofthouse]

 

“How I sold almost 2,000 books in twenty hours…

If you are a serious author—indie or traditional—then you’re in business and should have an internet platform. The simplest platform might just be a blog, or it could be more complex with a combination of a website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, and an Amazon author page, etc.

Once an author has an internet platform, there’s one more step to seriously consider—to advertise. Although I have been a guest on thirty-one, traditional radio talk shows, advertised in a regional magazine, held several author events in brick and mortar bookstores, earned awards from literary contests and been on several book blog tours, the only two marketing methods that resulted in immediate, measurable sales was through blogging on iLookChina and buying e-mail blasts from BookBub and/or Ereader News Today.”

To read the rest of Lloyd Lofthouse‘s article, and to add his blog to your toolbox, and bookmark the link, click HERE.

[found on http://lloydlofthouse.org/2014/06/19/how-i-sold-almost-2000-books-in-twenty-hours/]

 

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Don’t Quit

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.”

— Richard Bach

 

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Strategy for Writer’s Block

[found on entrepreneur.com; by Catherine Clifford]


“In many cases, the more important the writing task, the more the would-be writer freezes up. The result can be something of a Mobius strip of anxiety turned into fear turned into more anxiety, and what you’re left with is a blank page.

To help you work through writer’s block, consider the strategies below…

Don’t wait for perfect words. If every sentence has to be a flawless work of art, then you will sit in fear. The sweat might pour, but the words won’t come. Just start writing words on the page. Know that once you have started, you can go back and revise what you have. But until you start, you will never know where you are trying to go. If you are writing on a tight deadline, it is even more critical that you let go of the notion of immediate perfection. One writer friend of mine offered the analogy that writing is like cleaning a messy room: the only way a large mess gets cleaned up is to start tidying one small corner at a time.”

To see the rest of the writing strategies from Catherine Clifford, and to bookmark her articles for your toolbox, click HERE.

 

[found on http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233264]


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Under the Skin

“Every human being has hundreds of separate people living under his skin. The talent of a writer is his ability to give them their separate names, identities, personalities and have them relate to other characters living with him.”

— Mel Brooks

 

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Featured Writing Addict: Benjamin Phillips

1931365_1084550834666_7953_nBen Phillips is a 35-year-old father of four remarkable and rambunctious children. He has been married to his loving and patient wife, Katie, for 16 years. Ben’s lifelong passion has been writing and creating music to lead people into a better understanding of God’s pursuing love for them. By God’s grace, for the past ten years, he has led people in worship as a full-time career at Calvary Community Church, a non-denominational, 13,000-member church located in Phoenix, Arizona. During Ben’s time leading at Calvary, he has written more than 40 songs, and published two albums. His band, North Element [formerly North Worship], is available through iTunes, cdbaby.com and other major music-based websites.

Ben began his love for reading at the young age of eleven—he enjoyed tackling novels by authors like Stephen Lawhead, Terry Brooks, J.R. R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis. Ben began creating fictional characters in early childhood, and progressed to writing short stories in high school. He found the same love and interest in writing fiction as in music. For years, as God led him to use music for His glory, Ben’s love for writing was focused on songwriting lyrics. In 2010, following a back injury, Ben was forced to lay low from his busy, musical lifestyle. During that time, a desire to communicate God’s beauty, plan of salvation, and love through fictional stories was rekindled.

Ben was becoming aware of the growing divide among American subcultures—and the general lack of interest in hearing the gospel of grace. These two realities, combined with his children’s love of reading, sparked the idea of joining others who have portrayed Christian ideals and spiritual truths through fictional characters. He had a sincere desire for his children to understand the honor, strength, and lifelong wonder found within a relationship with Jesus, and knew it could be communicated through stories and characters in ways other than theological non-fiction—a genre widely unread by the majority of the world’s children and adults. During the past three years, Ben has worked on a fantasy trilogy: The Shadow Champion. His new sci-fi novel, Eonian, will be published and released in the fall of 2014.

Ben’s Genre:

Post-Apocalyptic Sci-fi; Heroic Fantasy

Ben’s Passion for Writing:

“My passion for writing began years before I could read or write. It was a love that stemmed from a vibrant, wide-eyed amazement of all things make-believe: bedtime stories, picture books, theater productions, movies, backyard pretending—it all embodied the possibility of an otherworldly escape to my impressionable, pre-school mind. As a boy, I would get lost in books, privately placing myself as a character within those fictional tales. Before I was ten years old, I had begun dreaming up my own worlds, complete with larger-than-life characters, and deadly archenemies. It wasn’t long before I attempted to write down the adventures from my mind, often in storyboard form. Somewhere along the way, while I grew farther into adulthood, the wonder was lost to me, as I think happens to many of us.

In my early twenties, I came into a saving faith in Jesus. Soon, when reading authors like Lewis and Tolkien, the idea of writing fiction with the intention of incorporating analogous truths that hold an eternal value became romanticized in my mind. As I matured in my faith, the make-believe of my youth—that had once been lost—began to reemerge.

Without necessarily intending to do so, I found myself dreaming up new, elaborate, imaginations that I would share with my sons. I have to confess, the actual act of writing has always been more of a burden—a means to an end. Dreaming of the story, in all its grandeur and beauty, comes easily…typing the words on a page, to convey the depths of those dreams, is daunting to say the least.”

What is Ben’s book about?

Eonian

“Death, blindness, and chaos—this is the reality that the 22-year-old military subcontracted courier, Gavin Marksdon, awakens to discover. It’s been nearly six months since a meteor storm pummeled one of the largest cities in America, causing a mysterious plague to spread throughout the world. The unknown bacterium is saturating every living organism with a contamination level that is bringing all civilization to a halt—technology and organic life are both struggling to survive.

Gavin regains consciousness in total darkness. Recovering from a grievous wound received by a meteor fragment, he learns there is a tangled web of his own government’s knowledge—deceit as well as a war—that has raged for countless eons from beyond Earth. While battling powerful changes to his physical form, Gavin and his handful of allies find themselves on an expedition that holds the balance of their world—a world wavering between a dark evil, and a new light. Journeying their way through a devastated, post-apocalyptic America, to find and save Gavin’s 13-year-old sister, Lenora, they stumble on a deeper conspiracy of a global alien presence…and their own government’s betrayal.”

 

A Book’s Mind |  iTunes: This Dust  | iTunes: North Element | PureVolume.com |
 | Facebook | Twitter | Email |

 

 

Ben’s Published Music:

 

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This Dust
by North Worship; 2008 | Spiritual / Alternative

 

“Slow and peaceful tones collide with driving rock to create a worship project that glorifies Jesus Christ with the honesty of humanity.”

 

A Book’s Mind |  iTunes: This Dust  | iTunes: North Element | PureVolume.com |
 | Facebook | Twitter | Email |

 

 

 

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North Element
by North Element; 2009 | Spiritual / Christian Rock

 

“A seven song EP with music that ranges from songs of wonder and praise to heart-wrenching cries for God to intervene in seemingly hopeless situations.”

 

A Book’s Mind |  iTunes: This Dust  | iTunes: North Element | PureVolume.com |
 | Facebook | Twitter | Email |

 

 

Upcoming Events:

Book Launch:

Eonian is scheduled to be released in fall of 2014 through A Book’s Mind publishing. The official book launch is scheduled for October 2014. Watch for the date!

 

 

Tell Ben you heard about him on editingaddict.com!

 

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Hold the Illusion

“The writer must believe that what he is doing is the most important thing in the world. And he must hold to this illusion even when he knows it is not true.”

— John Steinbeck

 

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Don’t Fear Your Editor

[by Billi Joy Carson, Senior Editor/ Editing Addict]

 

Often, editors are presumed to do this to writers:

 

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Editors are members of your team—like coaches—wanting YOU (the author) to succeed. They are paid to find mistakes, errors, and faults, in order to make you a stronger and more successful author. They are not paid to pat you on the back, tell you how amazing you are, and do a little flattering dance to your glory—that is part of the marketing team’s job [haha!]. Your editor is not your friend—they aren’t there to encourage you by cheering your good points. They are there to point out the ugly and sloppy aspects that need help, that need polishing and fixing.

Don’t fear your editor. The editors are here for the authors. They aren’t going to highlight your face green (as the comic above suggests), but they are going to help you see the errors and weaknesses in your writing. Then (hopefully), you learn and grow, and become a stronger writer—which leads to an amazing author. A good editor can be a great teacher; make sure you treat their insights and time as valuable, because it is priceless.

Your editor will pick apart your work, but it doesn’t mean you are a bad author. It means your editor wants you to be better. Coach Lou Holtz, the winningest (yes, that is a word) college football coach, is known for tearing into his BEST players. He would pick them apart mercilessly. Why? Because he saw untapped potential. He wanted his players to improve beyond where they were. Even when they were good, he knew they could be great. A great football player is remembered, and people come to see them. A good football player is cheered for the one game, but no one comes back. Your editor wants your readers to come back.

Always pay your editor for their work. A great editor slowly reads through your book, flushing out the mistakes, making notes for the author, fixing the punctuation and grammar, checking with the author on flow and logic issues, researching quotes for accuracy, making sure your book aligns with the standard for publishing (per the Style Guides)….

How much your editor will do for your book, is dependent on which level of editing you have paid them for—just like taking care of your vehicle. If you take your car to a car wash, but you really wanted them to replace your muffler, you are going to be surprised. More than likely, they will leave a note on your receipt that you have a muffler dragging behind your car—but they will not have done anything for it, except wash and polish it. Know what you need, and then be willing to pay for what you need. It will be worth it.

 

EditingAddict Slides.004 PROOFREADING

 

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If you need a quote on your editing project, contact our senior editor, Billi Joy Carson.

[by Billi Joy Carson, Senior Editor / Editing Addict; artwork by Keely Mitchell]

 

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Questions for our editor, Billi Joy Carson, to answer next time:

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Book Illustrators & Photographers

Are you building your team and need to find book illustrators or photographers?

Perhaps you are an illustrator or photographer, and you want to be featured on our site?

Check it out:

Book Illustrators

Photographers

 

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