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Getting ideas

How I got to here 


To date I’ve written four books, although as I write this post I’ve yet to publish one. Looking across my work there are two full novels and two sets of short stories, some of which would count as novellas. All in all then about 30 items that have required plots, characters, events and dialogue. Until two years ago I had never written a word so it came as a surprise to me that  I had something to say once yet alone thirty times!

To date I can trace everything back loosely to my experiences and the experiences of friends so my difficult third album will be my third novel where I will have to project into a world I have no experience of. All the creative writing books caution against doing this but if that were the case there would be no science fiction or fantasy adventure, all crime stories would be written by police or crooks and all erotica produced by people working in the sex trade. So that can’t be true can it?

 

Box of ideas

What has worked for me so far in generating ideas is to keep an ideas box. Here it is.
photo of post it notes

box of ideas

This is where I talk to myself, just like I’m doing now only in much shorter tweet-like fragments. They are random jottings `Russians buying up London’, `George Cross and train tickets stubs in an old cigar box’, `Wife discovers husbands infidelity due to his over attentiveness’  and so on. The inspiration can come from anywhere and can be about plot, characters, events, locations, fragments of dialogue and so on. The point here is just to try and capture them without trying to make sense of them. Locking them physically in a box frees up my mind for the next lot. When I have  about 10 – 20 of these snippets and they have been germinating in the dark for a while, I get them out and spread them on a table. Sometimes natural groupings appear from what’s there and often new jottings are prompted. I’ll isolate a promising group of jottings and start to think about who would be involved and what they would be saying. The tone of the fragments of dialogue give me a clue to the sort of plot it will become, e.g. quest, adventure, revenge, forbidden love, redemption etc. I write a one pager, maybe a summary of the story or just a pivotal scene and then leave it for a while; like a week or so. This will sound stupid but during this time my subconscious is working on the story. I know this because when I come back to it I seem to know more about the who, where, when, why, what and how without being aware of having thought about it. I then write a series of one liners to describe scenes that will start to form chapters. It’s not the whole book but I know how it is going to end. I don’t start unless I know how it is going to end, even if during the course of writing the ending turns out to be something different.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Is there more to it than this?

Looking at what I’ve just written it seems a bit naff and unprofessional but I’m still finding my voice. The box of ideas produces a bare skeleton which still needs to be fleshed out properly with characters, plot and everything else but at least it is a starting point. Perhaps over time I will become more slick. I don’t know whether to be envious or dismayed at those writers who can sketch out a ten book series and plough through writing them. I’ve read enough series to know that a certain familiarity is needed to keep readers coming back to something they enjoy, but how do you avoid just writing the same book over again? I’m sure the successful ones are not loosing sleep over it.

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