Question About Organizing Ideas

Today I started taking the numerous story ideas I have in my head and bringing them into the real world. I bought a three-ring binder and some lined paper and am writing down my thoughts and relevant notes about them. The plan is to have each story be a section in the binder with a hard copy of the finished piece, lists of where I’ve submitted them, and other information. I just had a question I was curious about. How do you organize your stories? Are they all on computers or do you like having hard copies as I do? Also, if any of you have other ideas about my binder system you think might help me and would like to share them, it would be much appreciated. I feel like I have jumped two-footed into this whole writing adventure and am trying to stay as organized as I can.

Inspiration has Struck!

I was working away on my post for the day when my concentration slipped for a moment and a new story idea burst into my brain.  So my attention shifted and I’ve spent the better part of the day jotting down notes about settings, characters, plot, etc. I don’t know where the story is going to go or if it will be a short story or an attempt at a book, but for now feeling this rush of excitement my new idea has brought is intoxicating and exhilarating. My brain doesn’t feel big enough to contain all the ideas exploding outwards and I can’t seem get them out of my head and onto paper fast enough.  I’m not sure how other people’s creative process works but I’m already finding myself exploring ways to make this story different from similar stories. Do other writers out there start out this way, concerned over how to make your story unique, or is it something that comes later in the process?

My January 28th Resolution, Just Because I Can.

For the past two days I have sat at the computer looking at that taunting blinking cursor and haven’t been able to write anything I felt was worth saving or posting. Just a long series of typing sentences only to push that dreaded delete button of defeat. In order to cope with this, I’ve decided that my creativity has simply gone on vacation without telling me. Right now, it’s probably sitting beach side in the Caribbean somewhere sipping cocktails and checking on its tan. Who can blame my creativity for skipping town, it’s been a cold winter and I’ve been overworking it a tad lately trying to post something every day. It’s been interesting working on this blog, the things I’m already learning about my writing style and habits. One thing I’ve realized over the past couple of days is that I can’t push myself to create something every day. I can already feel twinges of dread when I sit down to write and that’s the last thing I want to have happen. Here we are on January 28th and I’m making a new writing resolution. I’m taking the pressure off myself to post something daily so I can focus on creating quality posts that I actually feel proud to let you all read. So, upward, onward, and forward I go, as soon as my creativity decides to come back from where ever it has gone on vacation. And it better have brought me a souvenir.

Loathe the Spoken. Love the Written. Part Two

So, what’s your tale, Nightingales? Today I want to discuss the other side of the coin. As much as I find myself loathing the spoken word, that is how much I love the written word. The scope of its power and ability to move us in unexpected ways. From a young age, I have always loved to read. At any given time, I am usually reading several books at the same time. Needless to say the invention of the Kindle has cleared a great deal of space on my bedside table. One thing my family says about my reading habits is that I don’t have one specific genre that interests me. I love fiction, history, science, biographies, nature, and pretty much everything else. I’m a lifelong learner so I crave new information about different subjects. I love getting lost in a good story with characters whose fictitious lives become as real to me as my own. I still remember reading “Little Women” for the first time and weeping when Beth died. A good story shifts a reader’s world and makes them feel unbalanced about their place in it. That is what I want my writing to do, move people, make them feel ways about things that are unexpected and make them question the world. Maybe that is why I put so much pressure on myself to create perfect writing. But that’s a catch-22 in and of itself. There is no such thing as a perfect story to the author. I’m sure Mark Twain would still find things to change in his books and they are deemed classics. Reading for me is a pleasure and a joy whereas writing I find to be a challenge that is addicting. Always chasing the perfect word or phrase to describe something. Or perfecting a segment of dialogue that advances the story in an unforeseen way. When my brain makes the right connections or a spark of inspiration takes my writing in a wholly new direction it is a high like no other. It is why I keep pushing myself forward in my creative endeavors to make people feel something and so I can feel that rush of inspiration. There is simply nothing better in the world like it. Well, maybe one thing…. Until tomorrow, I hope you are all having a creative day where ever you are. <3

The Color of Character Part 7

So, last day of this exercise, it’s gone pretty quickly and I definitely want to do more in the future. The description is a character from a popular series of comedic motion pictures.

The promotional photograph shows him in front of a British flag. His blue velvet suit almost matches the flag’s hue. The lace at his throat and at his cuffs hang suspended in the air as the picture was taken mid jump.  His shagadelic hair is swept to the side offsetting his thick black glasses that frame his eyes.

Well, that’s it for now on this exercise. Onto something new tomorrow, I’m still not sure yet what that’s going to be so I better go work on that.  Ta ta for now.

The Color of Character Part 6

In honor of the Women’s Marches taking place around the United States, today’s description is of a world famous animal activist and primatologist.

Sitting down her head at an angle she smiles, wrinkles framing her eyes. Her greying hair tied up its usual ponytail so it’s out of her face. A chimpanzee rests its head on her shoulders. Looking at peace but with a vast wisdom in his eyes, he gazes out into the vast unknown. She is as comfortable with him as he is with her. A relationship between species created by her special magic.

I feel a great kinship to this woman because I have an affinity for animals too. As a child of about five years of age, in the winter, I would put birdseed in my mittened hand, hold it out and wait for birds to come eat from it. Usually kids my age wouldn’t have the patience for it but I would be enthralled at the sight of the first bird landing on nearby branches. I would stand as still as I could watching it as it looked me up and down trying to decide if my hand was a safe enough perch for it to land and eat. Feeling its little claws wrap around my finger as he bent down to grab a seed and then then the light push as he took off again made my heart soar as high as they did as they carried the seeds away.

The Color of Character Part 5

What’s your stories, Morning Glories? Hope you are all doing well in your neck of the woods. Here’s the fifth character description.  She is an extremely popular singer/performer.

She stands on stage before a gathering of her peers resplendent in gold. From the Virgin Mary-like halo orbiting the long blond curls that hang down her back, to the dazzling gold collar circling her neck, she is every inch the self-made Queen. Adorning her body, is a matching mesh gown that is covered with beaded embellishments that create just enough sparkle to send the jaws of the audience dropping but not too over the top. She has spent her career carefully crafting her look and she knows how to work it to perfection. She looks out at the audience and knows every eye is on her and she looks back on them with gratitude.

So, five down two to go, what has been most surprising about this exercise is the difficulty I’ve had deciding who to describe. It sounded easy when I first started but then I start second guessing my ability to describe them effectively. But that’s what exercises do, I guess, push you into doing what you think you can’t do. Until tomorrow….

Color of Character Part 4

Ok ladies and gentlemen, today’s character comes from another popular television show that I may or may not be binge-watching this week.

 

The sun blazes down on him as he walks down the highway. Stumbling past abandoned cars he is always searching for food. Food that is getting scarcer as the weeks go by. The others with him have the same driving want for food. His exposure to the elements has left his business suit in tatters. One sleeve of his jacket has been missing since the attack. His remaining skin has become multicolored; brown from dirt and shades of green and black from decay. A sudden sound makes him turn his head and as he does his jaw swings freely from the one socket that holds it now. The others turn in the direction and he follows. The need to feed is always there but has ability to eat is gone now. He will remain hungry until the rotting corpse he is trapped in decays into a skeleton.

So, you may have guessed by now that I slant towards the horror/sci-fi genre. It began in childhood when I was flipping through our 5 channels and landed on PBS which was airing a British show called “Doctor Who.” For some reason the show just hooked me in one episode. Tom Baker was playing the fourth doctor at the time and he is still my favorite incarnation of the character. I loved the idea of being able to travel anywhere in time and space and just see what life might be like and the idea of extraterrestrial lifeforms has always interested me as well. I’ve written a few horror short stories and I feel that they have come out pretty well. Once I gain enough confidence in my writing, I’m hoping to submit something horror-ish to see how it is received. I guess we will see what the future brings. Sometimes I wish I had a time machine so I could see what my future held for me. Then again not know is sometimes the best part of the process.

The Color of Character Part 2

Ok, day two’s famous person is actually a character from a popular television show.

 

She looks around nervously, her haunted eyes darting every which way at once. Her shaved head makes her stand out from all the other girls around her and she feels very self-conscious. She pulls at the blue jacket a friend gave her to wear over a pale pink dress that is stained with dirt. She is covered with dirt and mud from her recent adventures and she is hungry. She pulls out a reheated waffle from her pocket and takes a bite.

Well, any guesses? Please feel free to leave a comment.

 

An Exercise in Character

Last night, while trying to write, I was having difficulty describing a character’s appearance. Trying to figure out ways to improve my descriptions of characters, I thought of an exercise that might help me develop this skill but I need your help. Each day this week, I am going to describe someone famous, it may be a historical figure, an actor/actress, a singer, etc. and I want to see if you can figure out who I am talking about.

The first one is a historical figure who lived during the 1800s.

He looks directly into the camera defiant yet with kindness still in his weary looking eyes. The lines etched in his forehead tell the story of the stress and emotions he has felt during his life. The turmoil of his time in office has been deeply etched into his long angular bearded profile. His lips are set in a determined position. You can almost hear him swear to see his task through to the finish. His age is also seen in the color of his hair and beard. They still have a youthful dark color and yet streaks and strands of gray can be seen. His great responsibility and burden have made him old before his time.

So, please comment below and tell me who you think it is.  I’ll be interested in seeing the reaction to this exercise.