Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Don't Rely on Your Memory!

Ever since the weather has finally gotten nice I’ve been having a heck of a time writing. For the current book I'm writing I had this great code worked out somewhere in my grey matter, and started writing a chapter with it a couple of months ago. Trouble is that I got sidetracked for awhile doing some cleanup on another project. When I got back to my WIP I couldn’t remember what the heck I was thinking! Number one rule: when you get an idea OUTLINE IT!!

But of course I didn’t follow my own advice. After brainstorming with my husband and youngest son I came up with new ideas--now outlined and saved-- and am back into it and doing well, thank you very much.

I’m not much of an outliner but have discovered that it’s important to take notes, lots of notes, about your plans for your writing. Even names you come up with should be jotted down. Trust me; don’t expect to remember these great ideas later. I’ve even taken to keeping a notepad by my bed. I’ve learned the hard way that those great things that come to you in the middle of the night won’t necessarily be there when you wake up!

I also like to write a brief synopsis (usually around ten pages) of where I see the story going. It’s not carved in stone though. As any writer can probably tell you, as you write the characters claim their own lives and often tell you what’s going on in the story. That’s one of my favorite things about writing; how the story lives on it’s own! You think one thing is going on, and then something else happens.

When I was writing my novel In the Company of Women, one character in particular was intriguing to me. Jane was a young woman with a secret. I knew she had a secret but I didn’t know what it was. Her pain was evident to me, and as I wrote the story I described her as someone with something to hide; something that was drastically affecting her life.

Then one day as I wrote, she whispered to me what her truth was, and suddenly things became clear to me and I was able to see why she acted the way she did, and also how the other characters would be able to help and support her. It was an exciting experience for me as an author, and hopefully for my readers too.

So now, as I work on my next Maeve and Kate mystery, I’m trying to document more the ideas and thoughts that come to me as I work on their latest adventure. I want and like things to be revealed to me as I go along, but not to the point that I can’t support what is actually happening in the book.

I guess I’ve learned my lesson a little too well!

1 comment:

  1. This is something I keep telling myself as well. Of course there are times that I don't take my own advice and forget, but it's always good to keep a pad and pen handy when those ideas strike.