GREATEST STORY IDEA—LOST!


GREATEST STORY IDEA—LOST!

It’s the middle of the night. Pitch black. The cricket’s chirping fiddle serenade has ceased and the man on the moon has shut his eyes in sleep. After what feels like the deepest sleep you have ever experienced, you sit straight up in the bed with the greatest story idea—ever. Frantically you try to remember the smallest details. Your mind races back to the beginning of the dream to piece together the plot line. Sleep fights the adrenaline as your eyes begin to close. In a haze you convince yourself that you will remember it in the morning.

As the alarm startles you awake and your eyes open and begin to focus, horror sets in because you can’t recall the greatest story idea—ever!

You didn’t write it down.

Keep a notebook or writing pad by your bedside and make notes when the thoughts happen or they will be lost forever.

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200 Words


POST CARDS FROM THE MUSE

200 Words

By Nandy Ekle

 

 

I’m starting this goal of writing at least two hundred words a day. Sickness, health, richer, poorer, hell or high water, I’m going to write two hundred words a day, and more if I can wring them out.

I will not worry about cohesion, plot, punctuation, spelling, long sentences, short sentences, or run-ons. There will be at least two hundred words a day.

I may be tired, sick, sick and tired, giddy, depressed, busy with grandkids, busy with grown kids, busy with no kids. I may be so down I can barely drag my self out of bed. On the road, on the high seas, hidden high up on a mountain top. In a crowd, or all alone, I will put down two hundred words.

The purpose of this two hundred words a day journal is to get the words flowing again. Words are like blood cells. They tend to stick together and close up portals where they might flow out and land on the pages. Like beautiful flower-shaped blotches of blood stains, words on the pages are soothing and sweet smelling, even when they’re dark and scary.

So this is my goal. For the next six weeks, I will get at least two hundred words a day added to this journal.

Congratulations. You have just received a post card from the muse.

 

Things to Write About


Outtakes 194

Things to Write About

By Cait Collins

 

The San Francisco Writers’ Grotto has done it again. I’ve enjoyed their first release 642 Things to Write About. The pages are full of ideas to spark a writer’s creative juices. The ideas are unique. For example, “Write two prayers for your character: one to be said in private, one to be said in public”. Or, “study a stranger. Go home and write a tragedy about his or her mother”. Or maybe write about “a tree from the point of view of one of its leaves”. Sounds interesting doesn’t it? I can assure you there are plenty of ideas in this journal to jump start the imagination. They also released 642 Things to Write About Young Writer’s Edition designed to inspire our younger aspiring authors.

If you think 642 ideas is impressive, the Grotto has another volume; 712 More Things to Write About. Yes, 712 more ideas. Try this. “What were you thinking the first time you made out with someone?” Then there is “Write about a time in your life when you narrowly escaped some terrible fate –but change the ending, and write as if the terrible thing actually happened.” And now “Write five messages from the Ouija board”. And if you are still not convinced everything is fair game, I challenge you to “Write for 10 minutes without stopping about everything that stops you from writing”.

Sometimes we may believe the muse has left us. Our minds are so clouded with what went wrong at work, your child needs braces and your dental insurance will pay less than half the cost, and the social function you’d rather skip. We allow our concerns to block our creativity. But these journals give so much inspiration. They are treasures for our tired, stressed minds. I do recommend them. Just think one short exercise may be the start of a short story, an article, or a novel.

Ideas With Potential


Ideas With Potential

If you’re brand new to writing, you may question the ideas that pop into your head. And believe me, those ideas will come out of no where at the worst, most inappropriate times. The moment when there’s not a pen or paper in sight, BAM, that idea will be brilliant. You won’t remember it. Ever.

Those flashes of brilliance are a gift really. I had one such idea two days ago. It was a spark of an opening for a book, a new adventure for the characters I’m writing about now. I didn’t jot it down because I happened to be driving on the freeway with two teenagers in tow, listening to (rather blocking out) their debate over Xbox 360 or Xbox One.

It was a tiny twinkle of dialogue, a scene clearly in my head, and it’s still out there somewhere waiting for me to catch it again and fan the flames.

This One Time

Why can’t I ever learn? I remember something that my oldest son said when he was four years old that I did write down.

We had taken them to Palo Duro Canyon State Park for the day. We hiked, splashed in the stream, and cooked hotdogs. As we drove the 800 feet to the rim out of the canyon my son turned around and stared longingly out of the back window. “Can we ever come back?” he asked.

From his comment I had an idea for a story about our family outing on that day, which got published a year later in a local magazine. One of the mother’s at karate class remembered that article and asked me to do a writing workshop for the local homeschool group at our library. I had a great group of 15 kids plus mothers, all ages, eager to learn and hurry home to start their writing journals. From that event, I got two more invitations to speak including the regional homeschool coop conference the next year. That class was a fun group of about 45, and it included a generous fee.

One idea. One reflection, one short story, or a finished novel can keep going and going and going, opening doors in ways you never imagined.  Next time I’m stopping the car and taking notes.

www.nataliebright.com

 

EVERY Idea has Potential


EVERY Idea has Potential

west texas christmas stories

If you’re brand new to writing, you may have self-doubt. You might question sentence structure, your novel’s length, character motivation, the list goes on and on.

If you’re fairly new to writing, you might have dealt with these self doubt issues already, but might be shocked at how much your writing changes over a week, months, even years.

Whatever stage you’re at in this game, I want to emphasize the importance of writing every idea that pops into your head. As I blogged about last week, we must become fearless. The hardest part is to stop trying to make sense of the ideas that come to you at the most inopportune times.  I say this because I’ve let so many slip away.  However, one idea that I didn’t let slip away became a published story this week.

West Texas Christmas Stories

In 2006, I remember having an idea for a Christmas story. No clue as to why it came to me or where I was, but it was about a cowboy spending a lonely holiday and being content in his life.  Last year, I watched an old cowboy greet the morning sun on his horse just before he rode out into to the pasture to gather a herd. The look on his face was pure joy and contentment. The horse seemed excited too. For both of them a day’s work was just ahead, doing what they loved to do. That old cowboy reminded me of that holiday story. I found it on my computer, polished it up, and wondered where I could send it. This year, someone forwarded a story call out to me. My story fit the submission criteria, I submitted it, and had a “Yes” before days end. Six years after I had made a note, the spark became a published story in West Texas Christmas Stories with Abilene Christian University Press.

Write, Write, Write

The more you exercise that writing muscle, the more your eyes will look at the world as a writer. I remember taking our kids to the Fort Worth Zoo, just after I had begun to write fiction. My oldest, who was around seven then, said, “Would you stop saying everything’s a story.” My husband agreed, “ It is annoying.”

I hadn’t even realized I’d been speaking out loud, but the entire day held fascinating events, animals, sights and sounds wherever I turned. I couldn’t contain my excitement at seeing the world in a different light; through the eyes of a writer. Because everyone seemed annoyed, I didn’t take a note one. I was too embarrassed. I can’t help but wonder what might have been the fate of all of those ideas I never wrote down.

Now, I carry a journal or notebook everywhere and even snap a zillion pics with my iPhone. I’ll let you know the results in another six years or so. How crazy is this business?

www.nataliebright.com

GREATEST STORY IDEA—LOST!


GREATEST STORY IDEA—LOST!

It’s the middle of the night. Pitch black. The cricket’s chirping fiddle serenade has ceased and the man on the moon has shut his eyes in sleep. After what feels like the deepest sleep you have ever experienced, you sit straight up in the bed with the greatest story idea—ever. Frantically you try to remember the smallest details. Your mind races back to the beginning of the dream to piece together the plot line. Sleep fights the adrenaline as your eyes begin to close. In a haze you convince yourself that you will remember it in the morning.

As the alarm startles you awake and your eyes open and begin to focus, horror sets in because you can’t recall the greatest story idea—ever!

You didn’t write it down.

Keep a notebook or writing pad by your bedside and make notes when the thoughts happen or they will be lost forever.

GREATEST STORY IDEA—LOST!


GREATEST STORY IDEA—LOST!

It’s the middle of the night. Pitch black. The cricket’s chirping fiddle serenade has ceased and the man on the moon has shut his eyes in sleep. After what feels like the deepest sleep you have ever experienced, you sit straight up in the bed with the greatest story idea—ever. Frantically you try to remember the smallest details. Your mind races back to the beginning of the dream to piece together the plot line. Sleep fights the adrenaline as your eyes begin to close. In a haze you convince yourself that you will remember it in the morning.

As the alarm startles you awake and your eyes open and begin to focus, horror sets in because you can’t recall the greatest story idea—ever!

You didn’t write it down.

Keep a notebook or writing pad by your bedside and make notes when the thoughts happen or they will be lost forever.

In a rut? For heavens sake, don’t stop writing!


In a rut?  For heavens sake, don’t stop writing!

By Natalie Bright

Here’s a few exercises to keep flexing that writing muscle while your brain stews on the work in progress:

Rewrite your favorite fairy tale, and add a twist.

Change the female protag to a male, alter the time period by rewriting the entire story in present day, or create an entirely new ending.

Journaling

Do you have an idea journal? Write down every idea that comes to you, no matter how silly it may seem at the time.

Start a travel log. A hiking log, with descriptive phrases of the sights and sounds and smells during your outing. Glue things you might have picked up along the way; ticket stubs, gum wrapper, leaves, twigs; you get the idea.

Dig Deeper

Scream to your journal, say your deepest hurts, sorrows, and admit your darkest fears. Those emotions are what you’ll draw on and translate to your characters.

A Word Book

I refer to my word journal often. It’s filled with phrases and sometimes entire chapters by some of my favorite authors, that I’ve copied. As I read their amazing words, I feel rejuvenated and inspired.

Keep exercising that writing muscle, and stay out of those ruts. Happy writing!

Natalie Bright

GREATEST STORY IDEA—LOST!


GREATEST STORY IDEA—LOST!

It’s the middle of the night. Pitch black. The cricket’s chirping fiddle serenade has ceased and the man on the moon has shut his eyes in sleep. After what feels like the deepest sleep you have ever experienced, you sit straight up in the bed with the greatest story idea—ever. Frantically you try to remember the smallest details. Your mind races back to the beginning of the dream to piece together the plot line. Sleep fights the adrenaline as your eyes begin to close. In a haze you convince yourself that you will remember it in the morning.

As the alarm startles you awake and your eyes open and begin to focus, horror sets in because you can’t recall the greatest story idea—ever!

You didn’t write it down.

Keep a notebook or writing pad by your bedside and make notes when the thoughts happen or they will be lost forever.