Thursday, January 23, 2014

Writing Thoughts and Shout Outs for Holiday Cards

So, my friends, you've got this story running around in your head. It's popping up at the most inconvenient times - while waiting for the traffic light to turn green, while standing in line at the grocer or coffee shop, or even while working at your desk at your 'day job'. One of the worst things about stories is that they often don't come out of your head at convenient times, those times when you are actually able to do something about it. All too often the next plot line or that great dialog you've been struggling with between your protagonists comes through when your notebook is buried, when you're away from your keyboard, or when you have other people around that would make using your voice recorder app on your phone inadvisable. What to do...what to do?

What are these people thinking? Each one could be writing the
next great American novel in their heads right now!

I suspect that most of us have become excellent at thought writing and compartmentalizing. Thought writing is when you write the store in your head, but it never makes the progression from your head to your fingers to a page. If your story stays in your head, it will never be shared or read by anyone else. Thought writing has its good points - you can work out several diverging plot lines and follow them for a while before going back to think about another one. That can save a lot of work and time. But it is imperative that thought writing have a limited lifespan. You cannot live your writing life just thinking about your stories or your plot. You have to write. You're a writer - an author, something that only really happens when what you write is read by others.

Just start writing, you'll be amazed at what your fingers
can do if you turn them lose on a plot. 

Then there is compartmentalizing. This is thinking about small segments of a story or a particular character, focusing on that to the exclusion of the greater story. Although I tend to do this more often with art projects and crafting because of the many stages that a piece has to go through before becoming reality, I have been known to do this with plotlines and character development on occasion. Again, you don't want to leave these things sitting on the mental stove top, You want to actually bring them to a boil and take them to the table to be shared by others. That requires the commitment of making the physical effort to matche your mental effort.

Here are some standard steps for making a plan, but these
steps also work for plots and characters. Don't forget that
replanning arrow that can come into play...

So, if you've been bouncing a plot idea around, write it down. Start telling the story. It's not going to just happen on its own, you have to actually do it. You can go back and change things later, just get the stuff down on the paper or screen. Also, let your characters have a little leeway. They're not always right, and sometimes need to be pruned back or even whipped back into the main plot line, but sometimes their wanderings add some really fascinating aspects to the story, so let them play a bit.

Tell your story. We're all waiting to read it. 

So why am I writing about making that next drastic step and putting things down into a physical form from your head stories? Because a lot of people have signed up for B2MeM 2014 and this is a challenge unlike others we've had before. The goal of B2MeM this year is to have something that can be put together into an anthology - something where these stories written by so many talented people will all work together in a full and focused tale. So start writing, we're all counting on your unique contribution. Additionally, you'll feel better about your story and your muse when you allow that muse to play a while.

This beautiful card sent by Curious Wombat is one of my favorites. I love
the use of shades of red in this card. It is elegant, tells a full story, and
uses a color with great depth. I loved it. To see more of the cards I got for
Solstice and Christmas, click on my link below. 

On a totally unrelated note, I wanted to thank each and every one of you who sent me a holiday card. I scanned those that weren't family pictures, etc and set up a slideshow here. There were some really outstanding and beautiful cards that I was privileged to have gracing my house for the Solstice and beginning of the new year. I treasured each and every one of them and my archway was completely filled from floor to floor. Have a totally fabulous Thursday while I go out and freeze once again *sigh*.

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