Tuesday, February 21, 2012
On Finding the "Keeper"
Check out that chicken scribble in your notebook listing ideas? Shoot them around for a while, but you can never seem to get them to the other end of the field not to mention the goal?
Go to square one. Start plotting again. Get stuck midfield, you're about ready to "pass" on this idea.
I am a computer software plotter. I invested in Dramatica Pro and it was invaluable in plotting as a first-time novel writer.
And this time around I used Dramatica Pro to toss around my ideas and was able to "see" as a result that one of my "great" ideas just wasn't plausible from start to finish.
Whatever method you use to plot, I recommend spending the extra time and perhaps plotting all those ideas you have floating around in there. I have one plotted novel for later, one for now, and one completely implausible story.
So what if you're stuck on the first stage?
Try B-R-A-I-N-S-T-O-R-M-I-N-G as per DiAnn Mills great guidelines. I LOVE this idea about studying the parables of Jesus. Do your stories give meaning and purpose for people's lives? Do they show them tackling a challenging situation?
Brainstorm with a friend. How credible are your ideas? An honest friend will tell you where your plot falls flat and may help you to get out of that place. Rachel Hauck has some great tips for how to get the most out of a brainstorming session.
Picture surfing. When I'm stuck it always helps me to look for the "right" photos to evoke my setting. I also love finding pictures of movie characters that "fit" my character physically (so helpful in writing those descriptions). News stories related to the period of history or topic of my story can have pictures that bring me into the atmosphere of my story.
Become a news junkie. Reading news stories and asking "what if" questions make up the majority of the ideas in my notebook.
Research, research, research. As I start researching new ideas crop up, new characters begin populating my novel, and plot points suddenly begin to converge.
How do you find your ideas? And how do you decide which ones are "keepers"?