Archive for writing fiction

Writing Exercises for Motivation

Posted in Writing with tags , , , on December 1, 2012 by Dawn Ross

Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York's Acclaimed Creative Writing School

Now that I am done with school until the spring semester in January, I feel like I have more time for my writing. I am self-studying now and reading a book called “Writing Fiction” from the Gotham Writer’s Workshop. I just read chapter 1 and have completed most of the writing exercises in that chapter. One of the writing exercises is on finding writing motivations.

“Writing Fiction” says that story ideas can come from anywhere and everywhere. You just have to look. The exercise says to draw story ideas from things that happened to me over the past week or so. Thing such as people, emotions, thoughts, or situations can count. It can be big things or small things. The exercise says to write down 10 things so here is what I came up with:

1. We took a road trip which ended up taking us 3 hours longer than it should have. Traffic was awful. The trip was boring. I wished I could read in the car.
2. We bought a new (used) car and are now trying to sell our really crappy car.
3. I got in touch with an old friend on Facebook.
4. I am working hard at trying to revive my online business which was really hurt by the Google Panda update.
5. We saw my family for Thanksgiving.
6. I completed a work of art, drawing a friend’s beloved dog.
7. I finished the fall semester early because it is an online course and I can work at my own pace. Yay! I’m free!!!
8. I talked to an SEO telemarketer yesterday. I HATE telemarketers and so lost my temper.
9. I helped sell dog calendars to benefit the Lawrence Humane Society and Lawrence Community shelter for two hours in Downtown Lawrence and saw a lot of interesting people. One thing which bugged me was a woman who was promoting her dog training and had a Dachshund dog with both a pinch collar and shock collar. I train dogs and don’t use either harsh methods, especially not on a little dog.
10. I finished watching all the Farscape episodes. Loved it, especially the ending.

Once I write down 10 things, the exercise from “Writing Fiction” says some of these might inspire a story idea. And they are right. Several ideas blossomed in my head. I think the first one is the best idea for a story. My road trip was boring but with a bit of imagination, I could invent a story where all sorts of things happen on this long road trip. Perhaps when we got stuck in traffic we could take a detour which led us to this strange small town. Although it was a small town, the people were odd. I couldn’t quite pinpoint it at first. But after stopping for gas and speaking with the store clerk, we learned a lot more about this interesting little town and what was wrong with its people. See where I’m going with that? Perhaps later I will expand on this story idea some more.

I think something could come of the 5th one too. We had a normal Thanksgiving but imagine how some family dynamics could really get out of hand. I could write an emotional short story from my 6th and 8th one too. The 8th one reminds me of when I answered the phone as “Lucy Loucious Whore House” once. It was hilarious! And imagine a short story or poem where it starts out simple and boring. Then little lines on the paper come to life. Colors combine to bring warmth and excitement. The story progresses, as does the artwork, and ends with an overwhelming feeling of fulfillment and joy… just like how it feels when you finally finish that book you’ve been writing. 🙂

The 9th and 10th ones didn’t come out so much as story ideas but as ideas for blog posts. The 9th one inspires a dog training article on my American Dog Blog while the 10th one can be a sci-fi review on this blog. If none of you have ever seen Farscape, most of it is available on Netflix right now and I highly recommend it. I love Ben Browder’s character, John Crichton. Bed Browder has also been on an episode of Dr. Who and Chuck! And he has been on several episodes of Stargate SG1. (I can’t wait for SG1 to come back on Netflix.)

Anyway, I will get back to that review later. For now, try out this exercise for yourself. It sounds like it could be especially helpful if you are in a writing slump. And check out this great book, “Writing Fiction” from the Gotham Writers’ Workshop. I’ve only gotten through chapter 1 so far but I plan on reading more, doing more writing exercises, and sharing with you.

Is My Daydreaming Constructive to Writing Fiction?

Posted in Miscellaneous, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2012 by Dawn Ross

I didn’t do much real work during the first half of this week. I was too busy daydreaming. For nearly the entire day Monday and Tuesday, I only did mindless tasks which allowed my imagination to wander. It felt great indulging in my make-believe world. I immersed myself in an entirely new setting as different people. I felt anticipation when the characters in my head were on an adventure. I felt sadness, love, and a number of other emotions my characters felt as the story progressed. These are the sensations I strive for when I write. But I didn’t write any of it down.

So was Monday and Tuesday a complete waste? Today I can’t remember every detail of the story I daydreamed about. Part of it is lost, as is some of the emotional impact. In fact, I am now bored with the story and am no longer inspired to write it down. As a writer I should know by now how to harness this inspiration when it comes over me and use it constructively to write. But sometimes I just want escape without the burden having to sit at my desk and write it down (in other words, work).

Although I didn’t write anything down, I don’t feel these days were a complete waste. I remember enough of the story that I can file it away in my brain and bring it back again on another inspirational day. And I feel like I’ve really developed the story and the characters. When I first started daydreaming, everything was vague. The characters were wishy-washy molds of clay waiting to be sculpted. But as my mind wandered and the tale progressed so did the development of my characters. I feel like I know who they are now. I know how they think and how they will react to various situations. Everything came to life in my mind and I now feel that when I do write it down, it will be easier to bring it to life on paper too.

I do this daydreaming thing a lot. I’ve been doing it since I was a child. When the real world got tough, I daydreamed another little girl named Julia who was stronger than me and was able to stand up to the injustice surrounding her. It helped that she had a unicorn/Pegasus that flew to her rescue whenever she needed it. When my sister Julie was born, I had to develop a new character. (I was jealous of Julie and couldn’t very well have a hero with nearly the same name.) The new character was a boy this time. Over the years, I’ve developed a number of different characters. They fought injustice in various fantastical themes including medieval, the Crusades, Renaissance, colonial, western, modern, sci-fi, etc. I now have more stories in my head than I could ever possibly have time to write down.

Does all this sound crazy? Am I the only one who does this? Do you other fiction writers find yourselves daydreaming your hours away? Does it help you in writing fiction?