I recently read a great webpage for Writing and Getting Published, every writers dream. Well, that and a machine that can write your thoughts when you are randomly coming up with GREAT IDEAS!! Or am I the only one?
My problem in that arena is that I get really great ideas right as I am falling asleep. That train of thought wakes me up and I am scribbling for hours. I have instituted(well really Mister Wilson has) a no Computer, Phone, Electronics in bed rule, so I have stacks of notes and hand written chapters on the nightstand beside my bed. In my defense, I tend to be a little old school and write out my books in notebooks and then transcribe them WORD in my spare time. So before bed the rule is Read or Write until my brain is spent.
There have been many articles, doctors and even your parents telling you to unplug and get away from electronics in the bedroom. I just happened to have a dog that is VERY snuggly and demanding when it comes to bed time. It is good to unplug and get back to yourself and writing ACTUAL words on a REAL piece of paper. It tends to be a bit of a cathartic experience when you create something that is actual tangible, not a bunch of ones and zero’s in NOT ACTUAL clouds in the sky.
By Reading or Writing before bed, you get your creative fix out-of-the-way and your concerns melted from your brain. Your whole day comes into sharp focus and disperses from your being, as you immerse yourself in a different universe, removed from the one that contains the day-to-day conundrums and nitwits that consumes your precious time. You are able to, at times, work through the issues consuming your day, your life and occasionally tackle societal issues eating at you, on the written page, all in your own voice. It is a voice you can give to a person, narrator or even in my case, at times, a dog.
I have found that writing before bed, I am able to write at least 1-2 chapters a night and even get some great plot developments in the margin. I don’t worry about grammar so much or spelling and wordsmithing tends to fly out the window at times. This used to bee taught in school as free writing. I don’t worry about following in my story line or progression. I just begin by thinking about a set of characters and a situation I have thought about putting them in and then just let it develop. Many times this will begin with a though such as:
Delphene had always considered herself a free spirit, but she emmersed herself more and more into Blood bussiness, she saw that her free spirit was being cage more often. Blood Law was absolute and she was, for better or worse, the guardian of those Laws and her Blood sealed them for all time, a thought she was not comfortable with.
When she was summonded to The House eight years ago, to find her neice crying in the Library, alone, the House empty and silent about her sister and her mate’s whereabouts, she did not grasp the weight of what that emptiness meant. But sitting on the other end of the table from neice, grown from that crying little girl, into the Heir to the Seat, she understood that this was her path and every moment, including the moment she had almost been sealed to her brother-in-law, had led to this bright shinning moment. Though Mirlayna was not her daughter, she had raised her to this moment and she knew that their Blood Seer ancestors where standing in the room, watching this moment with pride. But with this pride there comes danger and she could now feel it closing in on its target, Mirlayna.
As you can see, one sentence can carry you though a moment in your book or a chapter and that will lead to another moment and another chapter. These small things may never be use in your book, but they flex your writing muscle and that is what is important in this endeavor. Free writing is good way to develop style or experiment with characters.
I wrote my first book in chapters, but had no way of tying them together, until one night I was pondering what my character’s magic would be and it hit me! My whole book would be a six month walk in the past and the beginning would start at the end of the book. If you have read any of my Book themed posts, my main Character is Mirlayna Zamora, a Seer and Time Walker. I had all the chapters except the last and now all I had to do was to lay them out with her Walking in and Walking out. It was perfect, but not a concept that was developed until late one night free writing.
Now READING, well that is a completely different animal all together. Reading a book helps you explore writing styles, tensing and Point of View story telling. For me, my main character being a Time Walker was something that I had never experienced. The closest I got was the OUTLANDER Series, where the character actual jumps in time. With my character, I had to figure out how to take you on that journey and reading many different types of books really helped me with that challenge. Mirlayna, goes from one chapter to the next Time Walking and the story develops from First Person to Third Person and then back to First Person when she walks through Time’s heart again, experience the last six months of her life from the point of view Time believes she should see..
My advice for Reading, step out of your comfort zone or author’s choice! Don’t read something you have been reading all these years. You like a certain author because you like their style and many don’t stray from what works for them I can never get into Stephen King because I just couldn’t get passed the detail he places in his books, but I started picking his books up and really appreciating them as a writer. There is passion that you will find in some writers for their subject and they really research, showing in their adjectives and set-ups. Deborah Harkness, the goddess of historical fiction has me hooked. Diana Gabaldon, THE GOD of historic writing, with her OUTLANDER SERIES, another for me. These authors have really provided me some much needed relief if I am in a BLOCKED Moment.
I do have to say this, DO NOT TAKE IDEAS from anyone, take them from yourself. I make it a habit to never read then write. For me it is a strict moral choice and I want my own ideas to shine. My towns of Moon Light, Full Moon Lake and Half Moon Bay are my own and when I think of them I remember my time growing up in a forest all my own and I felt running free in those times, before I moved to the desert. Take from within yourself and don’t be afraid to show your heart (another thing I took away from that article I read). Made up people are just that, until there relatable experiences and emotions shared. Your first heart break, your lost feeling as you step into Adulthood, we all have had it and you, as the writer can tap into that emotion and make a valuable connect, even if there is a Little Blood and Magic involved. Most authors do not LIKE Fan fiction and it can be viewed as theft of intellectual property. While flattering, you be you and do it like no one else, write the story that lives inside of you!
Best advice get an E-reader, a refurbished Kindle or install an app on your phone because there are some really great FREE books out there from authors just like you, trying to break through. I read a great book that was FREE and at the end it just asked, if you like the book, donate money to your local pet shelter (Which I do when Mister Wilson Goes to PetsMart). If you have a service like Amazon Prime (personal preference), you get free books through that service. Read, Read, Read, anything you can get your hands on. (Links are to Amazon and Wired about Amazon’s return to their Roots BOOKS)
While E-readers are great, there is just something to be said about the written page and yes folks, I dog ear my pages. That tangible feeling of holding the book, turning the page and resisting the call of the last chapter, all beckoning to you. It is truly a physical connection that inspires me sometimes, though I do like the black background on my Kindle for night reading. But like I said, Mister Wilson doesn’t like the electronics in what he views is his time. (Mister had TPLO Surgery – If you are facing it, check his site out)
Either way, Reading or Writing before bed will serve to relax you and further you in the creative process. All this takes is a Five Subject Note Book, a Pack of Pens (I alternate color between chapters/ideas) and a Book, out of your comfort zone. There are many ways to tell a story and researching, experiencing and experimenting with then will serve to make you a better writer. Oh there was another SUGGESTION: Go to the Bathroom before you write (a nice way to put it), your bowels are moving, your creative juices are flowing!! I am not so sure about that part, but it can’t hurt…..
NOTE: I have included the link to this VERY Generous Writer! Please show some love for his advice! All the links I have placed are for informational purposes, I did not get paid, nor am I biased to anyone (Except Mister Wilson). Amazon does not pay me, I am a regular user of their service. I do this to share with you some authors and web pages I have found along my way! Good Luck and keep writing my friends!