Tag Archives: ideas

Plotting in the rain

It’s the first weekend of the school holidays, so naturally the weather is disgusting. All thoughts of walking along to the castle and enjoying an ice cream in the sun have been shelved.

Drizzle falling
The kind of day to stay in with a book – reading or writing one.

It’s exactly the sort of day to stay in and read a book – or write one. Choosing the latter, Offspring and I are plotting. O has a story to write and so do I – and we’re having great fun bouncing ideas off each other.

I’m normally quite precious about sharing ideas because I think they’re delicate and easy to ruin – like trying to remember a dream, discussing a story out loud before it’s gained some strength might just make the bubble burst and it’ll be gone forever.

What you need to plot a book
I particularly like Offspring’s stick figure (bottom centre), who is KEY to the plot!

But the Post-Its and Sharpies are out, the white board is scribbled and stuck all over and my next book is actually in better shape than it’s ever been before (it’s a failing of mine that I’ll start writing – all enthusiasm – before I actually know fully what the story’s going to be, only to come to a screeching halt round about 20k words when I run out of ideas).

I’ve got another couple of weeks before I’ll let myself put finger to keyboard (another wip to revise, then a holiday away to recharge batteries), but I’m getting so excited it’s going to be hard to wait – which is just as it should be.

Can you beat that for a way to spend a wet weekend?

A whole new world

I love writing fantasy because in that genre you get to make it all up as you go along – don’t you?

You absolutely do make up a new world, but “as you go along” might be problematic – whatever you create has to be internally consistent and make logical sense to the reader. I properly understood this when my second novel came back from its editor.

When I’d sent it, I made a comment something along the lines of, “It doesn’t have the sparkle of Gatekeeper, but I hope that’s just because it hasn’t had a proper edit yet.” Maybe that word “hope” should have cued me in that I had my own misgivings about the state of the world I’d created in those pages. My editor came back after a couple of days asking how deeply I wanted the edit to go – they thought there were major issues but they didn’t want to take over. That was easy – a sub-standard book isn’t leaving my house with my name on it, so I asked for all the faults to be exposed, no matter how deeply they went.

Back came a LOT of notes, but the focus was mainly on the same area – the world I’d created wasn’t internally consistent. It wouldn’t stand up to scrutiny and required too big a suspension of disbelief for the reader.

As a result I’ve been doing a lot of research into the reuse and recycling of plastic and metal and it’s utterly fascinating. I usually hate research because it eats up the time needed to write the book, but this time it’s fired up my imagination with fabulous ideas to create a stonking new draft.

I've got the stationery, now I just need some words...
I’ve got the stationery, now I just need some words…

This has been a real eye-opener. Research isn’t a tedious necesity, nor a cramp on my imagination. It can be a springboard for ideas.

Now, I just need to find the time to write the thing…