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


  1. I cut out pics of people who look similar to my characters - it would keep me engaged in writing them.

  2. I miss your posting on Write!!!