Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Writing Life

This month I’m discussing “Writing Life”. What a great topic, especially since that’s my daily routine.

I recently read an article on this very subject where the author suggests all sorts of things to eliminate boredom. Boredom??? Who the heck is bored??

Now perhaps I read that incorrectly, but quite honestly, if you’re bored, then it’s time to take a break from the novel you’re writing and move onto another.

Starting a new story is so much fun, isn’t it? Where do my story ideas come from? Conversations, eavesdropping, funny things that happen to me, or my friends, or when I’m writing suspense, I’m using the newspaper for ideas. This is when the ‘what if’ game comes into the picture to formulate the ideas through various perspectives until I settle on an idea that excites me.

Once that’s done, I begin my process by developing my characters and doing profiles. I conduct interview sessions with lots of questions, after which, I match the profiles up against the personality types as based on the Meyers-Briggs Personality test, and then, I find the closest match of sun signs found in “Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs”.

Now comes the fun part of collecting pictures of my characters from magazines, or an Internet search for models of all ages. Soap Opera characters’ photos work really well too. I’m always mindful about selecting images of characters I know nothing about simply because I don’t want to change protagonist’s personality type after I’ve gone through all the trouble to mold them into what I want them to be. Sort of like playing God, don’t you think?

Next comes a brief outline, chapter by chapter, with as much information as I can come up with. Sometimes it’s a little brief until I actually begin doing the research, but this is the time to develop the story no matter how long it takes. This is called doing your homework.

It’s almost like being in school again, don’t you think?


Dawn Marie Hamilton said...

Carolyn, Interesting. Meyers-Briggs vs. Sun Signs. Hmmm. Enjoyed your post ;-)

Barbara Monajem said...

Wow. You are so incredibly organized, Carolyn. I'm always in such a hurry to start writing that I jump in. This helps me get to know my characters, but it's not efficient AT ALL.

Mona Risk said...

Carolyn, I am the same as Barbara. I start writing my first chapter without plotting anything on paper or monitor, but I think about my story all day long. And then I stop and organize my thoughts. Maybe I would write faster if I were as organized as you.

Sheila Tenold said...

Carolyn, I wish I was half as efficient as you! I like the idea of selecting unknown faces for your character file. Keeping past memories of a celeb or sports figure's missteps out of the equation is a definite plus. I've even when so far as snapping digital shots from my TV screen if a particular face intrigues me.

morgan wyatt said...

What a helpful article, it has definitely inspired me. Keep up the good work.


Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

You are definitely organized and can put together a well-thought out story, but me - well, I just throw it against the wall and see what sticks. If I had to make outlines and do all of the organizing I wouldn't write. For some reason the stories are in my head all figured out and if I can just find the words to do it justice I can have a good story. Isn't it amazing how different we all work? But, as you already know, I am weird and never do anything like anyone else. :)

JACLYN said...

Boredom??? Who the heck is bored??

You can say that again. Who has time?

Starting a new story is so much fun

You're right. Ideas are all around us. We just have to look hard.
My first book came to me because someone said lovers over 40? You’ve got to be kidding. 300 pages later and a coming in first in a contest proved her wrong.

My second book came to me in an antique shop. I heard a customer asking her friend if her son was cleared of a drug charge. Oh-h, antiques and drugs. Bingo. Book number 2.

Working in a hospital and wondering how things have change down through the ages came the story for my time travel. Book number 4 came from watching “Murder She Wrote.” A TV series. This is still a WIP.

Now comes the fun part of collecting pictures of my characters from magazines, and next comes a brief outline. It’s almost like being in school

Boy are you on the ball. A friend of mine writes the same way as you.
I admire you for being so structured. I’m afraid I fly by the seat of my pants. A famous author said to me once, sit, keep typing until you run out of words. Don’t stop to analyze. You can fix later.

Great article.


Ami said...

Carolyn, I bow to you. :)

This is an amazing process! I love it. I am not nearly so organized. I'm not a plotter at all of any kind, and I guess that extends to my characters. Everything kind of falls out of my head on to the page and that can be a very messy thing. :)

But I guess we each find what works for us.

Joanne said...

Boredom when writing? Hah! I'm feeling just the opposite. Great post!