Tuesday, September 25, 2012


One of the things that motivates me to get moving and start writing is when a new story idea is swirling through my head.  That usually happens during the last half of the current WIP, the least helpful time for new conversations to start up between new characters who have begun to take up residence in my head.  There are times when those newbies can get far too loud, drowning out the current characters, who stand in the corner, arms crossed, scowling.  (Yes, that's how they look in my head.  No, I'm not crazy.  I'm a writer.)

What's a writer to do when the new story takes over before the current one is finished?  Notes.  Copious notes.  Some can be salvaged and prove worthy, many won't.  It's a form of brainstorming without...well, without storming the brain. ☺  In fact, it's more like a dumping those maddening bits and pieces to make way for what needs to be attended to.

Yesterday was the official THE END to the writing of DESIGNS ON THE COWBOY.  Sure, there will be revisions.  That's pretty much a given.  And other small things will need to be attended to, such as a dedication and Dear Reader letter.  Those will come later.  For all intents and purposes, the book is finished, and I'm happy.  I like this book.  It's very emotional.  But then damaged heroes are like that.  Throw in a damaged heroine and...   I hope readers will like it, too.

It's all circular.  The end of one is the beginning of another, which eventually ends and another begins.  It's like George Carlin's joke about the spelling of his first name.  "G-E-O-R-G-E-O-R-G-E-O-R..."

Now that I'm done, I should be off on a vacation, right?  YES!  Uh, no.  But while a vacation isn't possible right now, I had planned to give myself a rest on the story/writing stuff for a few days, but it isn't happening.  Those characters are the next thing to yelling at me to get started.  Motivation for cleaning (and other life things) has been pushed aside, while Motivation (notice it's capitalized with a big M) for writing is cranked up to 12 on a scale of 1-10.  Let's face it.  I will be writing.  (Is there a Twitter # for that?)

Where does that motivation come from?  This time it came from one of the minor characters.  It's pretty obvious to me that this character needs her own story.  I hadn't planned it that way.  The heroes of A NANNY FOR THE COWBOY and DESIGNS ON THE COWBOY are brothers.  Simple enough.  Except they have an older sister who keeps butting in and helping them make their lives better, although they don't think so in the beginning.  My thought?  And the two heroes' thought, too.  The tables need to be turned.  She deserves her own story.  It's payback time.

Having a story idea is one of the best motivators to get a writer writing.  There will be times later when that motivation begins to wane, and we have to plant ourselves in a chair and make ourselves write, but for now, I'm eager to get going.  In fact, I started several weeks ago when those first ideas started pushing their way into my head.  For those who have lots of ideas, but the ideas seem to wimp out, long before they become a book, there are several things to help building ideas into a book and keep that motivation going.

  • Find a friend and brainstorm
  • Write something--anything--at least every-other day, no matter whether it's good or bad, short or long.
  • Make a note of any idea, even if you think it isn't all that good.  Bad ideas can lead to aha! moments.
  • While doing mindless chores, listen to the voices in your head.  (Just don't tell the family.)
  • Play the What If game.
  • Interview one of your characters.  Sometimes there's something in his or her past that will spark an idea of where to go next.
  • Write scenes out of order.  Have an idea of what's going to happen a few chapters into the book?  Or near the end?  Or does the Black Moment keep getting in the way when you're writing Chapter 4?  Write it!  You don't have to worry that it's perfect or polished, just get it written down.  Save it as its own file for later, then go back to where you were.  You can pick up scene later.  You'll feel better because you made progress.
  • Do ideas come to you at the worst times?  Get a voice recorder (or use the one on your cell phone, if it's equipped with one) and record those ideas and even conversations between characters.  Later you can put it into text.  It's great for when you're driving!  With people using Bluetooths (Blueteeth?) these days, no one will pay attention to you.
My best "idea" time is right after I settle in my bed for the night.  I'm sure anyone who thinks, much less writes, has turned on a light to jot something down.  I've been known once or twice to get out of bed, go into my office, pull up a new Word file, and start typing.  I recently went for my voice recorder and made notes that way, complete with the dialogue of three characters.  Be prepared with notepad, laptop, or voice recorder and let the the ideas roll.

Instead of wishing you had motivation, find it. When you find it, use it.  Don't just think about it, do it.  It only takes a little work to set you on the road and move on down it.
"When a man tells you he got rich through hard work, ask him: Whose?" — Don Marquis

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