Mined My Soul

“It’s not that I bounce ideas off of my children as much as it is that having children has had a profound effect on the way I see the world. They have mined my soul. They’ve made me a better person and therefore a more empathetic writer.”

— Julianna Baggott


How to Choose a Story…

 [found on writersdigest.com; by Courtney Carpenter]

“Which Story Should I Write?

The first editing question you need to ask is, Which story do I select to turn into a whole novel? To write from start to finish?

You’re going to be spending a long time with your novel. Months. A year. In some cases more. I don’t want you to wake up twelve weeks from now and chuck all that work.

So here are a few keys to self-editing in the story selection phase:

1. GET LOTS OF IDEAS. The key to creativity is to get lots and lots of ideas, ironically without any self-editing at all, then throw out the ones you don’t want.

It’s a little like how lawyers choose juries. In reality, they don’t select jurors; they deselect them. The potential jurors who are seated in the box are drawn randomly. Then, through a questioning process called voir dire, the lawyers probe and ponder, then exercise challenges. They try to get rid of those jurors they believe will not be favorably disposed to their case.

So, too, you as a writer face your box of ideas and, through probing and pondering, toss out the ones you won’t be writing about.

But first you gather, and as you do, let your imagination run free.

2. LOOK FOR THE BIG IDEA. A novel-length story has to have a certain size to it. Not length of words, but potential for a large canvas of emotions, incidents, and high stakes.

This is something you need to feel in your writer’s spirit. Think about the novels that moved you most. What was it about them that got to you? If it was an unforgettable character, what made her so? If it was a turning, twisting plot, what were the stakes?

If it was a quieter novel, it had some simmering intensity about it.

Think on these things as you look at ideas to nurture.

3. WRITE YOUR BACK COVER COPY. There are several questions to ask yourself about your idea, but at some point you need to see if it holds together, if you can get it in a form that both excites you and will excite publishers and readers.

One of the best ways to do this is to write your own back cover copy. That’s the marketing copy on the back of the book (or on the dust jacket) that’s intended to get readers to buy it.

When you do this, concentrate on the big picture. You’ll need to write and rewrite this several times, but doing so will serve you well for the entire writing project.”

[found on http://www.writersdigest.com/tip-of-the-day/how-to-choose-a-story-to-write]

Jot It, Don’t Thought It

“The more you write, the more ideas you are going to generate.  It’s inescapable; as your brain gets used to being creative, you’re going to create, and probably many more ideas than you need.  And at some point later, you’ll be able to use those ideas.  But only if you catch them.  It is essential to get your ideas recorded permanently as soon as possible after you think of them.  The longer you wait, the more the idea will fade, and the less will remain when you finally are ready to take it down.  This means you have to be able to take your ideas down wherever you are….
However you decide to capture your ideas, you must do so as soon as possible.  Immediately, if you can.  This applies even at night–perhaps even more so at night.  At no time is an idea likely to be more vivid than at night, and at no time is it likely to fade faster.  If you wake up in the middle of the night to a great idea, you really need to write it down.  Get yourself a drink of water, jot the thing down as completely as you can, and go back to sleep.  In the morning you will be in a much better position to judge whether the idea holds any real promise.  This is much better than waking up certain that you had the inspiration for the next Great American Novel last night–and now you can’t remember what it was!”  
-found on http://www.pgtc.com/~slmiller/writing-tips-ideas.htm
IDEAS FOR JOTTING YOUR THOUGHTS…while you still have them:
      • Use the technology you have been blessed with today!
        • SmartPhones / iPods / Tablets / Laptops / Desktops…
          • Type Note Apps
          • Hand Writing Apps
          • Voice Recorder Apps
        • Tape Recorder / Micro Recorder
        • Voice Mail
          • Call and leave yourself (or a friend) a message
        • Email / Text / IM / Social Media / Blog
          • Send yourself a quick text
          • Send yourself a quick email
          • Post an idea
        • Any other idea you can think of to use (safely)
      • Use the old-school tools you  have….we all know you still have them:
        • Pen / paper
          • Keep in the car with you
          • Keep in your purse / wallet
          • Keep by your bed
          • Keep in the bathroom (use responsibly!)
          • Keep by the TV
          • Take with you on walks
        • Typewriter (not all have this one, some will need to look it up, it’s in the dictionary)
        • Any other idea you can think of to use (safely)