Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Summertime, and the living is easy...

Been great to be able to get some lazing time in this summer. Weather's actually been conducive, at least in Auckland. It's also a good time to do some thinking about your writing plans for 2013 in conceptual terms.

Things like:

1. Assembling some of your rough ideas into strands and streams that will help you clarify your thinking. e.g. you may have sketches/part scenes with 2-3 characters, where you're struggling to generate enough internal plot movement to develop each of those snatches into a 'full length' idea. Can you combine them into one story? Can you have 2-3 characters from disparate works clash together to create new story? Can you use one character's conflicts in the now as backstory to another - ie use the effect of one character's actions as the cause for another's? (Sagas are often written like this - Think Steinbeck's 'East of Eden.'

2. Make some notes on what, specifically, is needed to sharpen an existing draft of a story? A more coherent plot? Clear conflicts (internal and external)? New character relationships? Or does it need some straight rewriting, or editing.

3. Think about what projects can you map out for this year? Begin to quantify and schedule them. Perhaps you'd like to aim for 3 short stories - when, sent where (timed to coincide with contests, for instance). Begin the research process for a novel. Research some material for a blog/guest blog post on writing - something that has particular interest, relevance and resonance to you. Consider starting your own blogsite and begin to list some specific ideas. Colours, pages, tone and voice. Begin a writer's journal/diary and start it with a first draft list of your plans. Be realistic about your goals, and realistic in turning your goals into plans  and turning your plans into actions.

4. If you're planning a novel, but don't have time right now to do some serious work on it in terms of writing specific scenes, what can you do now, to get you going? Research the area around it? Read some reference books and make notes. Set up personal interviews with people who can shed light on the context (e.g. life in the 1950's in NZ, or ex service people, or someone who was involved in political machinations). Read other novels with a similar context?

5. Get started again on that neglected story you were passionate about - once. Read it through. Think about what attracted you to it in the first place and why. How and why has your perception of it changed. Are there technique issues that hampered it that you weren't aware of at the time, but are now. If so, can you identify them. Once you've done that - check out the Free Writing Tips page on this site, with its articles on technical specifics. 

Those are some ideas to get you going.

(The cat above, in splendid summer repose., is a descendant of the cats kept by writer Ernest Hemingway at his house in Key West in Florida. The front entrance to the house is in the background.)

No comments:

Post a Comment