Saturday, April 24, 2010

Take a walk...then get specific

In preparation for travel tomorrow, my house is clean and unusually quiet, and I don't have any current emergencies to deal with. That meant I had time to go on a nice walk around the neighborhood. I had forgotten how nice it was just to be outside, much less to have a few minutes just to let my brain roll around a little.

I had my iPod and a favorite set of songs (including a couple by Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins), so as they played, I let my mind wander to Chicago and the events in Chicagoland Vampires 4, which I'm currently brainstorming. As the bassline thumped, I got a fabulous idea for fleshing out a scene.

It was a great reminder that sometimes the best way to write is to get away from the writing, and give your mind a little room to roam.

* * *

Once that walk is done, give yourself 10 or 15 minutes for a brainstorming exercise:

1. Pick one of your characters--any character.

2. Imagine their "key" surrounding. Is it an office?* A car?** A kitchen?***

3. Once you've made your selection, make a list of the kind of things in that special space, then do a little Googling. If it's a kitchen, decide which stove they'd use, which type of plates and mixing bowls, the kinds of things in the refrigerator. Be specific, and find pictures.

4. Put together a collage or Photoshop an image of the pics you've found.

5. Congratulations! You've now given yourself a visual model for your next writing session. Use that collage/image to

* - Ethan, Chicagoland Vampires Novels, Chloe Neill
** - Joanna, Weather Wardens, Rachel Caine
*** - Rachel Morgan, The Hollows, Kim Harrison

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Week in the Life

(Cross-posted on my blog)

For those of you who are journalers or scrapbookers or note-keepers, designstress Ali Edwards will be documented her annual A Week in the Life feature. The idea is to journal, take photos, and save ephemera from a week in your life, to be saved in its own scrapbook. It's a great way to track you and your interests . . . especially if you follow through from one way to the next.

And it doesn't just have to be about you. You could AWITL your characters, your manuscript, or devote a week to world-building. Thus, you might do something like this:

1. Monday - Geography & Architecture
2. Tuesday - Food
3. Wednesday - Arts and Culture
4. Thursday - Clothing
5. Friday - Language and vocabulary

Her "page protector" method (see photo below) of saving and documenting stuff (which I also do) would be a great way to save those photos, magazine pages, and other stuff you've been saving up for your novel.

Ali has posted on the Basics of Documenting AWITL and getting organized to put your AWITL together, and posts will continue through next week (when she documents her process).

If any of you decide to do this--especially for your world or characters--please share! I'd love to see and share your work!