Hello, writers. I'm about to try posting pictures in a diary for the first time, and it may be an utter flop. I won't know till after I've finished writing the diary, so if it doesn't work, the diary is going to read pretty sillily. Sorry about that. Another leap of faith. Writers live on 'em.
Anyway. Right now I'm trying to decide which of four or five story ideas to write next. Of course, what always happens when I sit down with a story idea and try to write it is that I immediately discover that it's not as much of an idea as I thought it was. That is, I imagined a character. And a situation. And a couple of other characters. But that's it. It's not a story yet. It's not even a complete idea for a story. It's more of an idea for an idea.
So I think. And think. And I don't know if you've ever noticed it, but thinking is sort of difficult. I have several different activities that I use to trick myself into thinking about a story.
The first is walking. Right now that's difficult because of the weather and a bum ankle. So walking's out. (Too bad. If I hadn't hadn't spent hours and days walking in a nearby forest, I never would've written Jinx.)
The second is bubble charts. We've talked about these before, but just in case anyone doesn't know what they are, I'm going to try to upload a pic.
Hope that worked. This is just one bubble chart: questions-my-planning-has-raised-so-far. I do one on each character, several on each of the main characters, several on the setting... roughly 100 of these things in the course of writing a novel, some before the initial draft and some after.
My third planning thing is drawing. When I suggest this to people, they sometimes say “But I can't draw.” Well, if these uploads work, you'll see that I can't either. But that's not the point. Dammit, Jim, you're a writer, not an artist. (Unless you're both.) Draw stick figures if you want. Nobody'll know.
Anyway, if this works, the first pic is just to get an idea of the characters and setting that I imagine opening one of the stories I'm working on. The chair's important to the story, that's why it's front and center:
The contrast didn't come out very well on that one but hopefully you can sort of see it.
This next one is just a character. I haven't done the face very well, I have a lot of trouble with faces. But the fists are very much part of who the character is, as is the hair and the bare feet:
This last is from a different story. This pic is the kind I have most trouble with. The girl's legs are all wrong for the perspective. But I try not to worry about that stuff. The point is to show the characters in their setting, and looking with some trepidation (given that their eyes are just dots) toward... something.
Anyway, I've mentioned drawing often enough that I thought I should show you what I meant by it, and give you some idea of how you might be able to use this sort of doodling activity if you don't already.
These are just a few different ways of sneaking up on your story. (Only one of them involves actual words.) There are other wordless ways that might work for you... playing the piano, swimming, just sitting and watching the world pass by.
Write a dialogue between the characters in any of my pictures andTry to limit yourself to 100 words. (Oh, and try not to beat up my characters too badly. I might need 'em later. Thanks.)
1. each other
2. an external character
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