Archive for September, 2015

Where to Look for Story Ideas

This is a post from last year. Since I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo again, I felt it was timely and worth repeating. Don’t be afraid; take a chance and write a book!

Fresh Air Musings

Ah October, when fall colors are blooming and a writer’s thoughts turn to November. Why November?  Because that is National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo.  That is when those of us crazy enough to accept the challenge write 50,000 words in thirty days.  Yes, that is a lot of words.

As a previous winner of this challenge, I thought I’d take the month of October to pass on some tips and tricks I’ve picked up. After you poke around and sign up at the website, you may start to panic.  You’ll wonder where you could ever come up with an idea that you can actually expand into a whole book.  Relax, there’s time.

First, think of what kind of book you want to write. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “write what you know” before.  In this particular case I would agree.  Your goal is going to be…

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Planning For Successful Writing

PlanningI just realized yesterday that in less than two weeks it’s October. Holy crap, where did September go? I love this magical time of the year. The heat is finally releasing its miserable hold, leaves are starting to turn vibrant fall colors, and my muse is jumping up and down with anticipation for November and National Novel Writing Month.

I’ve already started looking around at what I can do in advance to lighten my load in November. A few Christmas presents have found their way into the office for storage. Yes, I know it’s early, but I can’t help myself. November is so busy with writing and Thanksgiving, and when December comes, I want to relax, bake like a maniac, and enjoy the season.

I don’t want to run around overcrowded stores trying to find one last tchotchke

But I kind of feel like I’ve got a leg up this year. Last year I wrote a book of suspense with a sort of open ending. My readers immediately responded asking when the sequel would be out. Sequel? Huh, yeah, I’m gonna write a sequel. That’s what I intended all along…heh heh. So now I’m thinking of which characters to develop, where the storyline will go, and whether there will be a book three.

Hey, if you’re going to write two, you may as well write three. Right?

But that doesn’t mean it’s all smooth sailing. There are still outlines to write, characters to name and assign back-stories to, and pretend cities to map out. Yes, I do draw out my pretend cities. Doesn’t everybody? When you’re writing a whole book in thirty days, you need to have things right there at your fingertips. I don’t want to have to scroll back to remind myself where a landmark was or at which corner my protagonist lives. That’s just proper planning.

So here I am, less than two weeks from October, planning month. I will look for things that can be completed now and not worried about again until December. There will be plenty of food in the cupboards and freezers, deep cleaning will be done, and writing tools will be ready.

Because November only comes once a year.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Muse

A Lone Leaf

My muse took the summer off. She’s kind of a selfish B like that. She doesn’t care how long I stare at that blank page; she’s off having a good time.

I started to wonder why she left. Then I realized what the pace has been like the last few months. Since I’m back in a full-time corporate job, my writing time has taken a severe hit. It’s been catch-as-catch-can whenever a moment presents itself. And with an increased freelance load, it’s no wonder my muse ran away with my imagination.

But now that it’s the last full week of unofficial summer, I decided to take a few minutes for myself. I grabbed a beer and my trusty rocking lawn chair and planted myself down in the driveway. Wow, it’s hot. Good thing the beer’s cold.

Facing west into the last few hours of sunlight, I close my eyes and lay my head back. The hum of the sprinklers mixes nicely with the chorus of frogs and crickets. Occasionally the wind blows through the leaves, like an addition of a soft snare drum to the band.

In the distance I can hear a mother calling her children in for supper as the smell of fresh laundry wafts on  a breeze. I take a deep breath before opening my eyes—not wanting to lose that feeling. I take a drink of my beer and see the neighbors’ dog, panting in the heat. It almost seems like I can see the sun dropping in the cloudless sky. I take another gulp and close my eyes again. The sun feels good on my bones.

Secretly I long for fall and winter, the slower pace and cooler weather are much more my style. But here, in this moment, my thoughts run wild. The sun feels good, and the beer is cold. I guess I’ll kind of miss you, summer.