Writing

Fresh New Idea

So I have a new idea forΒ  story cooking in my head. This past week has generally been one of those good news-bad news kind of weeks, and the WIP I was working on isn’t working. And I don’t mean a little difficulty, I mean it’s not moving forward.

I have therefore given myself permission to start work on something new and come back to the other WIP at another point. Perhaps the distance and time will provide some added perspective I haven’t thought of yet. But of course, this means I have to figure out how to develop what is essentially little more than an idea into something that might become a story.

For me, I often get a character come into my head first, a character looking for a story. Since I right romance, the next step is trying to find a partner for the initial character who will eventually become the secondary lead. Beginning the story this way means that the path of the story generally comes through the overall character arch I want the character(s) to follow and achieve.

This latest book is different. Yes, there’s definitely a character, but she came with a whole world of her own, something crazy and strange, but filled with my favorite things. πŸ™‚

How then, to develop this?

My first step was to write down as much as I knew about the story as it first came to me, because it came to me all in a rush and thunder.Β  Bizarrely, there are even images associated with this story in terms of setting, which is unusual because I don’t think much about images, but there it is.

The next step for me is developing and nurturing this idea into something real. I have a couple of my favorite books help me out with this, including tips from James Scott Bell. I free-write on the idea, fleshing it out, deciding what it is I love about it and why others would love it. This time I also really want to focus on why this book is unique, and how it will be accessible for readers. Plus, I think I need to give some time to the back-story just so I know what’s true for this world, even if much of that detail never makes it into the primary story.

You see, I’m trying to improve my method. In fact, I tweak and change things a bit every time I write. And one of the things I’m worse for is coming up with an idea and starting to write right away … before I’ve properly figured out much. This often necessitates rewriting or often throwing out the first act completely after I change my mind. Ideally, I’d like to avoid doing that if possible. πŸ™‚

So what about you: when you have that fresh new idea, how do you develop it into a fleshed out story? Next week I want to look more specifically at some of the steps, since this week I have to see what they are first. πŸ™‚

Have a great one, and happy reading out there. πŸ™‚

The Journey to Publication

Workshop Shares: Art Journaling for Writers

2014-08-18 13.24.25
Where’s your conference guide? Why not put it to good use.

Okay, so FINALLY I’m ready to share about my favorite workshop, Art Journaling 101 put on by Nancy Robards Thompson and Katherine Garbera. My favorite workshop because it was something new, and because any day I get to combine my love of crafting AND writing, is a good day.

So first, what’s art journaling? People define this in various ways, some as a very personal diary, others as something more creative. The definition I liked best was simply that an art journal is where you combine art and words to express yourself (courtesy “Get it Scrapped” by Debi Hodge, who goes into more detail which you can see by clicking this link.)

The first thing to remember, and what was stressed in the workshop was that you don’t have to be a great artist to like art journaling. No one ever has to see your work. And if things turn out really bad, you always have the option of gluing the pages together and hiding it forever. πŸ˜‰

It’s also about patience and layers, which is the part I had trouble with, but if you think about it, that’s a lot like writing. We often have to go back and layer in or consider different layers in our writing. Same thing with art journals. You can start with an image or quote to get you started on the page, or just start playing.

Techniques and ideas:

  • start by collaging different images. You can use either a gluestick, or something like Mod Podge, which is kind of like really thin glue that you use for collage.
  • use a single image as the focal point, and then paint over it, making a new image.
  • Zen doodle (LOTS more about that later).
  • Spray inks, stamping, lots of techniques and tools used in scrap booking, or even the kid’s craft box.
  • While you can buy journals to bash, consider making your own, or recycling books / guides and turning them into journals. I’ve used the 2014 RWA Conference guide as my first journal.

As I’ve been exploring art journaling, I found three primary ways it was helpful to me as a writer.Β  And which I thought I’d share. Please be gentle, these are some of my early attempts. I’ll share below websites of experienced journalists.

Zen Doodling, done by me, Aug 17, 2014
Zen Doodling, done by me, Aug 17, 2014

First, Zen Doodling, sometimes known by the name brand of “Zen Tangle.” Essentially, you use a pen and draw a general design (or specific picture) and fill it in with different shapes and designs. The object is not the finished picture (although those often look really cool), but rather focus on the art of the design, and the almost entrancing, meditative state this creates. That’s why I enjoyed it as a writer. It’s a way for me to unwind, or just think about something else and let my mind wander, whether in front of the TV, or somewhere quiet.

2014-08-18 10.50.47Second: Emotional Pages.Let’s face it, as writers, the entire process can be a bit of an emotional rollar-coaster, especially if we let ourselves into the traps like comparing ourselves to other writers, or get frustrated with our journey toward publication. Journaling can be a way to express and thus release some of that energy and emotion, whether negative or positive.

2014-08-18 10.52.03Third: Character discovery. In my new WIP, the hero is being a pain, and not talking. So, I looked up some images (using two different actors) who remind me of what the character looks like, and in images / poses that spoke to me about my character. Then, in the spaces in between I used words in an unusual fashion asking my character questions, working out some of the issues I have, and doing a tiny form of character journaling. The limited space seemed to help, since my character “opened up” a bit. πŸ˜‰

Fourth: Images about setting. This one I haven’t completed yet, but essentially I’m creating a map of my imaginary “town” where my story is set, both as a reference to help me remember where I’ve “placed” stuff, along with images of real places to give my imagination a good kick in the behind when necessary. πŸ˜‰

So in short, that’s art journaling for writers at it’s most simplistic. I’m definitely just getting started.

If you’d like more on how I did my pages, I’ve got a separate post over at my other blog, Craft Room Chronicles, where I’ll talk a bit more specifically.

Otherwise, the websites suggested to visit in the website were:

www.donnadowney.com

http://www.france-papillon.com

http://jennibelliestudio.blogspot.co.uk

So, are you into art journaling? Any tips you’d like to share? How else do you think you’d use these techniques as a writer?

Thanks for reading, have a great week, and happy writing out there! πŸ™‚