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Or where does it find you?
Personally, Pinterest, while undoubtedly an excellent form of time-wasting, is also a wellspring of ideas. The unending supply of pictures–of everything from colorful people to almost-unearthly places–frequently sets the wheels humming in the back of my mind. I’ll be innocently scrolling through the thread-that-never-ends, and the Muse will say “Hmm. Hang on a sec.”
Things like this:
Or maybe even this:
Pictures like that make the Muse happy, make her imagination run wild. So where do you find inspiration?
(I found these images via Pinterest, and did try to find out who owned them. If they belong to you, and you want them taken down, please let me know. I appreciate your beautiful work.)
Sometimes, I just need a little inspiration to get my butt in the chair and my fingers on the keys (Actually, judging from my complete lack of writing lately, I apparently also need to be chained to the chair, but that’s another story.). Reading other writers’ posts that are inspiring, usually snaps me out of whatever funk I’m in. With that in mind, here are three great posts from writers that have me eager to get back to work.
Here’s one from Raymond on Writing in a Dead World: Deleting the Best Part of You.
One from Shannon A. Thompson: Writing is Misery.
And one from Christian Milan: Are Writers Crazy?
Check them out, even if you don’t need writing inspiration.
Ed Cruz is a martial artist who was born in the Philippines and raised the U.S. He has a large online following, and had devoted himself to mastering the art of Wing Chin Gung Fu, the only art ever created by a woman. His first novel, the first in a series, is Kirin Rise: The Cast of Shadows.
Kirin Rise doesn’t look like much: she’s tiny, unassuming, and most of all, female. So when she appears in front of the cameras at Chum Night—the weekly blood bath publicized by the mighty United Federation of Mixed Fighting—the world is sure of her defeat, and her probable death. But with one hit, Kirin shatters all assumptions and catapults herself into a world she never imagined.
America in 2032 is a different place. Gone are family values and helping out your neighbors. In their places are selfishness and corporate greed—led by the Federation and its lust for total control. With the Federation usurping the place of every single competitive sport and dominating the government and the public eye, all eyes are on Kirin Rise, as she opposes the most feared fighters in the world.
But her opponents in the ring aren’t the only ones Kirin has to worry about. The Federation is more powerful than she imagined, and soon everyone she loves is in danger—her family, her friends, her Sifu, and Hunter, the guy she’s known for years. Can Kirin Rise win against the Federation fighters, or will she find defeat as she battles corporate corruption.
Kirin Rise: Cast of Shadows is set in a world very similar to our own, with a familiar culture and way of life. But this world is overshadowed by the Federation, which has spread its tentacles throughout every facet of existence, leading to a dark stain of corruption. The characters, particularly Kirin and Sifu, are larger than life, and not stereotypical martial artist figures of student and master. The characters have distinct personalities, wants, and goals, and they fully inhabit their world, a terrifying rendering of what our world could be like if things stay on the course they are on.
Well, to be frank, money. It’s not an easy subject to talk about, but people have to pay their bills and buy food in order to survive, so it’s something we all have to have (since we don’t live in a trade/barter society). And as much as I’d like to say, about writing, “I just do it for the art,” that doesn’t pay the bills.
Don’t get me wrong, I do write for the art. Because I love to make up worlds and people, and see what happens to them. But that in and of itself doesn’t pay the bills (or at least, it doesn’t pay mine), so I need to get compensated for what I do. I’m not talking about now. Right now, I’m not actively pursuing publication or trying to make money off my writing. But in the future, I intend to.
With that end in mind, I’m trying to get together a coherent…”business plan,” we’ll call it. I have school left to finish, and a day job that pays my bills (sort of) right now, so it’s a long-term plan, not an I-won-the-lottery-so-I’m-quitting-my-job immediate plan.
But I’m having a little bit of trouble getting ideas into a coherent, plan-like form. The basic formula is the same for a non-writing job ( 1)Do the job. 2) Get paid.), but coming up with a concrete plan is messing with my mind a little bit.
So I’m looking for suggestions. People who have/are writing professionally, people who have thought about it or come up with a plan themselves, people who just have suggestions…I’d appreciate any of your thoughts. Please understand, it doesn’t have to include strictly fiction writing. I’m getting an English degree with a focus on professional writing, so suggestions for how to utilize that (columnist, feature writing, whatever) are very useful, too. I need help, and I’m not afraid to ask for it.
In my Creative Writing class, the reading assignment for next week is about Revision. Revision is not my favorite part of the writing process. It is, quite possibly, my least favorite. (Okay, perhaps tied with writing the first sentence, but that’s a whole other phobia…) Revising is hard work. Sometimes I can see what needs re-worked right away. Sometimes I might as well be trying to read it in Braille or Swahili, for all the sense it makes to me (I speak /read neither, by the way). I know revising is necessary, that it is essentially where the magic happens, but I don’t really enjoy it or anticipate it.
That being said, while I was reading about revising, all I could think about—all the Muse could think about—was the werewolf story. I love the characters in that story, the world, the conflict, everything about it. The writing is done. It’s even been revised (once). But it could use some more work, some fresh eyes. I’m wondering if the Muse is trying to tell me something. Perhaps I should put in a little bit of revision time on this story, as well as drafting The Fall? (And it would only be a little bit of time, because that’s all I have to give.)
I could do it. Maybe only an hour a week, but I could. Then I could start writing the next one…ah. Delusions of grandeur are on the agenda today, I see. Considering my weekly writing goal for The Fall is two measly pages, and I’m doing good to hit that, now I’m mentally gearing up to write something else. I really have to stop trying to do too much.
What do you think? Add a small bit of revision into the mix, or stick with just writing for now?
Meghan Ciana Doidge is a writer from Vancouver, Canada. She writes about magic and the supernatural, fantasy with a tint of romance. The newest book in her Dowser series, Cupcakes, Trinkets, and other Deadly Magic, is out now, and mixes werewolves, vampires, and cupcakes for a sweet twist on the urban fantasy genre.
Jade’s life was normal: bake cupcakes for her boutique bakery every morning, get in the occasional bit of trouble with her sister, Sienna, create art out of the magical items that seemed to find their way to her. Well, maybe not normal, but when you’re a dowser, half-witch and half…something else, “normal” is relative. Right up until the moment the vampire showed up on her doorstep.
Someone has been murdering werewolves in Vancouver. Someone with a lot of power at their disposal. Someone whose magic smells a whole lot like Jade’s.
She manages to convince the vampire investigator of her innocence, but is swept up into the search for the black magic murderer. Jade discovers that everything she has always thought she’s known is not the truth. Her family has been hiding things from her, things that will affect her life, her abilities, and her future…if she manages to stay alive at all when her barely-tested powers battle black magic for high stakes. And chocolate.
Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic is a light-hearted urban fantasy with darker shadings. The characters are unique and well-realized, and the setting does not have the traditional feel of most urban fantasies. Instead, the author offers up appealing glimpses into the quirky setting of Vancouver that will have the reader eager for more. The tasty cupcake descriptions aren’t bad, either.
Here’s the problem with picking up writing a new story after a long (like, a year) break and having a different vision for the story when you come back to it: it’s scary. And I’m afraid I’m going to miss putting in some crucial background details that will make the whole world come alive. I only have about 25 pages written, so it’s not earth-shattering right now, but I need to fill in some of the details to make the setting sing.
On one hand, I’m terrified that my setting is going to fall flat. On the other, I don’t want to get bogged down in the minutiae and not write. Catch-22. Danged if I don’t, danged if I do. So, what do I do?
I do need some advice. Should I stop the actual writing to go back and fill in all the holes I can sense in my setting? Or should I keep writing the draft, and keep a separate file for all the setting details/problems/ideas that come to me, so I can put them in later? Has anyone else ever had this problem? What was your solution? Or how do you avoid holes in your setting to start with?
When I’m writing, I have this wonderful, magical story in my head. The characters are fantastic. The conflict is intense. The world is beautiful (or at least beautifully realized). When I sit down and put my thoughts on paper, though…it’s just not.
Yes, I know it’s just first draft, and that revisions are for making it pretty and shiny. But I still want to capture the essence of that vision I can see in my head. This failure to adequately portray the true beauty of the story makes me feel inadequate, and induces what I can only call writer’s block. If I don’t write it, I’m not failing my vision of the story. Therefore, it’s safer not to write. Obviously…
Except, you can’t edit a blank page. You also can’t read it, but that’s another thing. No one can appreciate the beauty—or the humor or the wonder—of a story that hasn’t been written, a character that hasn’t spoken, or a world that hasn’t been explored. So not-writing kills the story entirely, takes away the character’s breath, poisons the world.
Do you want to be responsible for that? No? Then write.
So, I just wrote four pages—my page goals for the past two weeks—in one sitting! Not that four pages is astonishing or anything, but it’s writing, and my characters and their world are starting to come to life for me. Which is a good thing, obviously, since what’s the point of writing about dead characters? (Unless they’re zombies or vampires. Then, maybe.)
The story is starting to burn in the back of my mind now, and I love it. I wish I had more time to spend writing, but…I don’t. it’s not that I waste a lot of time on TV or anything like that, I just don’t have time to get everything done I need and want to do. There are several non-negotiables in my life:
1) God. I give my time to Him in various forms, and that won’t stop.
2) School. Do I even need to say that this is a huge priority?
3) Work. Obviously, not working isn’t an option for me.
4) Training. Have I mentioned that I’m doing a half-marathon in December, and hiking the Grand Canyon next May? This will require some time.
5) Writing. Beyond school stuff, and the fiction, I have three blogs. (Well, four, but the fourth has lapsed for now.)
So you see my problem here? If my days had like 28 hours in them, I would be golden. Sadly, I don’t have Hermione’s Time-Turner, so that option is out for me. I’m sure I could better use my time, but I’m at a loss as to how. If anyone has any suggestions, tips, tricks, apps, ideas…I would love to hear them. I need help with this! My Muse wants to write, and I want her to be able to.