At last, we come to the final part in this little Being A Writer series. To be honest, I think this is one of the most important parts. It’s something you can’t fake and you can’t force, no matter how much you may want to.
All the time and motivation in the world will do you no good if you don’t know what to write. Maybe you don’t know how to start, or you think your idea is stupid, or *le gasp* you have The Block. Or, worst of all, you may know that you want to write but don’t have even the slightest idea what it is that you want to write.
Coming up with ideas that are new and exciting is the name of the game, when all is said and done. But for now, coming with an idea, period, is what’s important. Sometimes those ideas won’t start out top-notch, and that’s okay. That’s why we dream, plot, write, rewrite, and edit. But right now we’re talking about story generation, and editing has no place here!
Ideas come from one place: your head. But sometimes you need things to jog those ideas, and the way I like to do that is by getting my senses and my emotions working. I like to know how my story will feel before I start planning or writing.
Will this story make people roll on the ground laughing? Will it make them cry? Scared? Wonder? Once I know the emotional objective, it helps to determine whether the style of writing will be serious and dramatic or lighthearted.
For an example, I’m going to use Summer Rush, which I’m sure I’ve talked about enough that most of you are familiar with it.
That entire project started out because of a book, Kate Brian’s Fake Boyfriend. It made me laugh. It made me go awww. I loved the characters and the laughter and the fact there were some serious elements in it. It was, basically, a romantic comedy. I knew I wanted to write one. No, I HAD to write a romantic comedy. It was my destiny.
You get the idea, right? All I knew was the genre, but I was excited about this book. I started looking for other YA romantic comedies. And guess what? I found that I’d been reading and loving them all along, without even realizing it.
Take a minute and think about your favorite movies and books. Figure out a) what you love about them and b) why you love what you do. Because, honestly, why would you want to write a book of your own if you weren’t completely in love with it?
So, I had my genre. It was time to start brainstorming. The first thing I did was create a mental list of clichés. Romantic comedy can be a very cliché genre. I didn’t want my book to be like that. There still had to be surprises, because I live to surprise the reader. It’s what makes everything fun.
I spent a lot of time thinking about this new novel. I knew I wanted to have gymnastics in it, because that’s something that I love. I wanted there to be characters who I would want to know.
Really, I took all sorts of things that I love and put them into the novel.
I’ve found that, when looking for inspiration for my next project, it’s easiest if I have somewhere to start, a jumping off point. The idea for The Monster, aka The Angel Saga, came from a 35,000 word story that I wrote when I was thirteen years old. The story was weak and poorly written, but I knew parts of it could be something greater. So I pulled the cast and the setting and created an entirely new project.
Inspiration comes from so many different places. When you’re stuck, try looking at all the stuff that you love. If you love what you’re writing, you can see that in the words.
One movie that I absolutely adore is Not Another Teen Movie. I think it’s rated R, and rightly so, because it’s humor is anything but polite. The reason I love it? It’s so different. It’s a parody of just about every cliche of teen movies that I can think of. It’s the reason I love parodies, and decided to write one of my own.
So, I’m pretty sure I’ve made absolutely no sense whatsoever with this post. I think in circles. It’s a really bad habit. Try to keep these things in mind when you’re searching for new ideas.
1) Don’t be afraid to try new genres. Writing may be the only place in the world where you’re allowed to do whatever you want, whenever you want.
2) Know the emotional goal of your project. What’s the emotional response that you want? Laughter? Tears? Figure it out. It’s important.
3) If you don’t click with an idea, don’t worry, and don’t force it. There are no You’ve-Discarded-Too-Many-Ideas Police out there. Don’t be scared to kick your ideas in search of life if you want to, but there are lots more ideas in the sea.
And last but not least, I leave you with this advice: free write as much as you can, whenever you can. You can get really crazy with that exercise, and it opens up parts of your brains that are usually padlocked. Bonus points if you write really early in the morning or really late at night, whenever you’re at your least coherent.
Sorry this was so late, by the way! I was out most of the day because I had to run errands with my mom if I wanted to stop by Best Buy and get poor Tasha a new battery. I’ve run my computer into the ground. *pats Tasha*