Friday, May 27, 2011

Ideas Are a Good Thing

I've been struggling since the LDS Story Makers conference. Not so much with the ability to write but with the ability to come up with an idea that I can fall in love with. So not writers block: ideas block.

Last night, I'm proud to say, I found an idea that I have fallen in love with. I am 99% sure this is what my book is going to be about, unless my writing group convinces me otherwise when I meet with them tomorrow.

For now, I'm outlining. Outlining is a new thing for me as I am used to discovery writing, but I am going to be feeling a lot better working from an outline. When I did (or rather, started) NaNoWriMo last year I had worked off an outline for the first handful of chapters, figuring I would finish the outline by the time I got that far. And wrote them I did... without finishing the outline. Where I had an outline, my productivity FLEW. When I ran out of outline, everything came to a screeching halt. There were tire tracks/skid marks on my kitchen floor and everything! In the end, I failed NaNoWriMo, but I learned a lot. Most importantly finding out how invaluable a tool an outline can be.

I've decided that before I write a story I want a complete outline. I might go back to my NaNoWriMo sometime. Maybe finish it for the 2011 NaNoWriMo? I don't know. But not until I get the entire outline complete. I still like the underlying theme of that story, I just need to find the right ending. Funny, I don't even remember the main POV's character name. Not good...

I've read a lot of great stuff this week. But I wanted to just highlight the one that stood out the most.

One of the people in my writing group, Nova Wahl (a brilliant and talented writer and photographer) showed me something called the Snowflake method of developing a story. It isn't on her blog so I'll link the URL here. If you've been struggling putting together the outline of a story I suggest you start here. This has really helped me with my new story idea. Based on the feedback from her on Facebook, it sounds like it has really helped her, too.

Otherwise, insomnia has still been my nemesis throughout the week and we do battle almost nightly. Coming up with this idea right before midnight didn't help much as my head started racing. Again, skid marks and everything right on my bedroom carpet! But, unlike my other ideas, I still loved it in the morning and even into the evening of the next day.

Until next time!


  1. My oldest son uses the Snowflake system. I haven't been able to get into it because it feels like I'm writing the story twice. =D But now that I've spent a year editing, maybe I'll get over that.

    Good luck!

  2. I'm with Donna. I feel like I'm writing the story over and over and over again when I write with the snowflake method, but I know that it does work for some people.

    There are parts of the method that I use, step one and character (and world) pages but my preferred method is here

    and then I create chapter outlines.

    The rest I discovery write.

    DISCLAIMER: I am not a published author, this might be like taking dating advice from a preschooler.

  3. I'll have to take a look at that method.

    I started out a pantser--I thought. I realized that I had an extremely basic outline. It consisted of what happened at the beginning, middle, 3/4 of the way through, and the end. I'm still revising that story (meaning it's gathering dust in the recesses of my computer.)

    My middle-grade story had more of a outline. Basically things I'd brainstormed and important plot points at certain places.

    So my method thus far is to get out major plot points and write to each one, working in details in the outline I don't want to forget. This gives me the freedom of pantsing, with the direction of an outline. I connect the dots, writing to each plot point.

  4. Yay, I got mentioned in your blog! I am officially awesome now!:)

    I really do like your idea and was thinking about some things for it. I'll probably tell you through FB though.

    I think the good thing about the snowflake method is that you have to really develop your idea all the way through. You have to know the beginning, end and middle. It makes you really think about your story and work out all the holes before you begin to write it. I'm glad it's helping you. :)