No matter what activity my physical body pursues, a part of my mind writes. I write in my dreams, plotting, exploring characters. I write while I drive, and have to back up the book on CD I listen to at the time when my writing muse went off exploring.
I imagine this flow of ideas happens to all writers. The actual advent of an idea entering the brain can come at an awesome time when your are ready to write it down. Usually, it comes when you are having your annual dental check-up and cleaning, and can’t spit, let alone write. Not even a voice recorder will help in that situation. Or when you are playing doubles tennis on National Television. You have to hope the idea stays around.
The best advice is, Don’t Worry About It. Worrying, as my oldest motivational poster reminds me, does not remove troubles from today, it robs tomorrow of strength. Worry about remembering the idea, and it will go look for a calmer spot to roost. Make your mind clear and assured of your good, and the idea is attracted back.
Ideas flow in an open, calm mind. Your muse collects them, and sends them down your arms and out your fingers. When you sit at your keyboard or pick up a pen, you plant the ideas on the screen or page, and they blossom into words, into pages, into chapters, and so on.
Now, you may have ideas that your characters disagree with. For instance, one of my heroes will be taking a bad fall, about 10 feet into the chamber of an ancient Roman something or other. The landing breaks his leg badly, and causes enough problems as it is, but then there is a cave-in and a flood. By the time he and the heroine are rescued, and this is 1817, medical science may do him more harm than good. My idea involved the amputation of his leg.
This young man demands that I find another arc to the story, as he is very happy with both legs, thank you very much. My muse and I shrugged at each other, and so the heroine will get to try some Ancient Roman medicine on him. Won’t that be fun? Vinegar, St. John’s Wart, and honey will save the day.
While this article is more for people who write short pieces on a nearly daily basis, such as bloggers, it’s a lot of fun. http://writetodone.com/21-unexpected-places-to-find-your-muse/ The young man in #6 looks a bit too much like my son, who always wanted to try free running. And #17 is right on. 8)
Here’s a quote about the Muses that I like: “This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles
A site for daily writing prompts, this link contains lots of good ideas for getting your characters to talk to you. Apparently, that’s what they are supposed to do! http://thewritepractice.com/characters-lost/
This entertaining blog admits the secret, that your characters may not talk to you when you start writing. A new writer needs to put in hours and hours (and hours) of writing to be on a first name basis with characters. http://www.advancedfictionwriting.com/blog/2010/06/10/getting-your-novels-characters-to-speak-to-you/ In the nearly 20 years when I put my fiction writing on hold, I wrote minutes for various groups to which I belonged, I wrote some Live Journal articles, and I wrote prompts now and then when I could get into a writing workshop. I think that helped.
Here are tips on getting the voice of your character just right. http://avajae.blogspot.com/2011/09/how-to-make-your-characters-talk.html I think I’m going to post that on my group in Scribophile, it sounds like fun and the result will be improved writing. My Muse will do the happy dance!
Then there are those who don’t or can’t believe in this character chatting stuff, and still manage to be excellent writers. http://www.blog.angelaaddams.com/2011/02/do-your-characters-talk-to-you.html Different strokes, I guess. Maybe the muse of these folks has retired or taken a very long vacation? I guess it’s better to not judge.
I hope there has been a touch of fun, a spark of the creative, and some bookmarked sites to go back to later. See you on Wednesday.