When you’re writing, whether it’s a short story, a novel, or a poem, do you pay attention to what is going on around you when you aren’t writing? Sometimes I’ll write down what I hear/see in my journal for later use and sometimes I don’t. Most times I remember. I know what you must be thinking. “How can you remember all that?” Well, I don’t. It isn’t until I’m writing a scene, and what I’m writing triggers a memory of something I saw or heard, then if it fits the scene, I use it. But, most often it’s only snippets of a conversation or something I saw that I end up using. Journals are a wonderful thing though and can contain a treasure trove of useful info. Take what you can from real life and mold it like clay.
The pictures below of are my journal for my novel The Triunix of Time. As you can see from the warn tabs and such, it’s been used quite a bit.
Today as I was climbing the steps up to my apartment, I happened to notice two yellow jackets fighting on one of the steps. I mean they were going full force. I stood there and watched them for a minute. Eventually, they parted about a centimeter, but their legs were still going at it. No, I didn’t stomp on them. They weren’t bothering me; just each other.
Isn’t it like that when we write sometimes? We fight like mad trying to find the right words to use in our writing projects. Just when we think we’ve found the right words, we back up, re-read it with our mind still fighting with the idea, ‘Did I get it right this time? Did I not? How do I know?’ Yes, we all have writing days like that. The answer is to tough it out. Leave your work and go back to it a day or two later. If you still don’t like it, continue fighting to get it the way you want it. Or, you can ask advice from someone else.
Stick with it. Don’t let that fight get you down. You can do it.
I know what you’re thinking, “A picture is worth 1000 words”. Well yes, it is. But go that one step further. Go inside the picture. In other words look at it in real time. Sit on a park bench or on the beach or wherever you feel most comfortable, and watch people. Throw some what if scenarios around in your head and make up stories about who you are observing based on what they are doing. If you’re not within earshot of the conversation, make one up. Have a journal with you to jot down your ideas. You would be surprised how much this exercise awakens your creative side.
All at once the ideas start to flow. An Idea enters that river of creativity. It picks up speed as the current of thoughts continue to take it down river. It picks up more ideas as it flows along. A mile or two down river you have something BIG, HUGE even. All at once your pen is flowing and you can’t stop. The current has taken you and there is no turning back. One plot twist leads to another and you now come to a fork in the river. Which one do you take? Hmmmmm. You decide to take all of them by making each one a subplot. Aha!!! Now you have story that will take your reader on a spellbinding journey.