Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How I Write - Idea Creation


HOW I WRITE is a blog series where writers of different genres discuss how they go about the business of writing a book.  Like snowflakes, writers are unique and we have unique ways to produce our creative product, our books. So walk with us, learn from us, and help us become better writers in the process.

Simply click here for to link to our contributing writers!  If you would like contribute to the blog series just email Ansha Kotyk.  Happy Writing!

When Ansha asked me to participate in this blog series, I jumped at the chance. And then I saw the list of topics. *Panic*  Not really, but sort of.  Only because I haven't ever really thought about how I write.  I just write.

But pen in hand…or rather hands on keyboard, I decided it would be interesting to think about it. So, thank you Ansha for making me consider my writing. First off for the series: Idea Creation.

This should be easy. 

Right.

Here goes. 

Thus far, my creative writing has been inspired by my family and real life events.  My WIP is a realistic contemporary YA novel w/ a touch of romance. Almost everything that happens to my protagonist is fictional; but her emotions, family life, and environment are inspired by my own teen years during which my parents owned and managed a small golf course in Massachusetts.   Clearly, "write what you know" came into play here.

Earlier WIPs were picture book manuscripts, completely inspired by my daughter as a toddler--things she said, things she did, things she liked.

So idea creation for me comes from my life. 

I try to listen to people. I'm not good at keeping notes, but I need to get there. I have a number of ideas “in the hopper” inspired by phrases I’ve overheard or things I’ve witnessed.  I think you can find inspiration around you every day.  For example, last week, I saw three full-grown swans in my town lake.  They were elegant and beautiful and perfect. And while I can’t imagine a circumstance where I’d write a story about swans, I can certainly imagine a scenario where my main characters witness the same scene I did that day.  However, the swans might be fodder for the imagination of someone who writes fairy tales.

In other words, the ideas are there – you just have to know where to look. Or rather see them, when you see them. And use them to your advantage.  Grab a notebook and start jotting down those  ideas.

Of course, it is easier said than done.  I need to start a new WIP.  And I don’t know where to start.  Maybe I should take my own advice. *wink*

Link to other blogs participating in the How I Write blog series.

15 comments:

Andrea said...

I do think it's true that as a writer, you have your eyes and ears wide open to catch things that could work for a story. I write them down in a notebook, and eventually some of them start to twist together, growing into a book-sized idea.

laurapauling said...

I don't keep a notebook either. Usually, if an idea comes, it sticks with me until I can get to my computer. If I'm going away over night or for a few days I bring my notebook.

Kris said...

I need to get a notebook to keep in the car -- force myself to jot notes and idea and plots while I'm waiting for school to let out.

Kris said...

BTW - thanks for stopping by Andrea!

*waves* to Laura!

jennifercarson said...

I totally agree that family life and emotion play a big part in my stories as well-- even though I write fantasy set in an older time, feelings don't change just because the time frame has. and, K-- I know you'll come up with a wowzer plot soon!

Ansha said...

I have lots of notebooks... with random ideas and thoughts in them... but there's no organization. Usually, like Laura, if the idea is good it sticks with me. That simple picture of the swans is so beautiful, Kris, that I could easily see how it would work into a story... any awesome story! :)

Alexia Reed said...

I've never been a notebook carrier-arounder. Oh I love the idea. I love getting that brand new notebook with empty pages. But write in it and suddenly it's as though it becomes tarnished. For years I did carry around a small little pad, but in the end, it got lost and forgotten.

I like how you say that the ideas are there, you just have to look for them because it's so true.

Kay said...

Great info. I'll definitely be back.

Kris said...

Thanks for stopping by Jen, Ansha, Alexia and Kay! It's such an individual process -- some things work for some and not for others.

Tina Laurel Lee said...

Fun! And I love that "How I write" bookplate! Idea creation is a hard one. and then getting that idea to stick, I think that is even harder! It was fun to write with you in The Practice Room today!

Kris said...

The Practice Room was great, Tina! I did get a bit done, though not as much as I'd hoped. Too many interruptions that were not related to being plugged in!

The Cinnamon Chocolate Emperess said...

I'm such an impractical person that I've never looked much to my own life for inspiration. I have always looked at how I wish life was and then twisted the story around to what is real. However, I can definitely see some stories in my past. Very thought provoking.

Isabelle Flynn said...

I think it's great that you're using the people around you for inspiration. It's amazing how interesting other people's lives are.

Kris said...

Cinnamon & Isabelle - thanks for stopping by -- you can always find some inspiration in people around you -- past or present!

Kiki Hamilton said...

Great post Kris! My first novel came from an idea I had when I started a story for my daughter.

Of course,by the time I was done, it had NOTHING to do with the original story for my daughter.

And I never dreamed that I'd end up trying to make a career out of it!

Now I have more ideas than time...