Well, through my first weekend and the challenge is still on track. And 1/6th over after today. (grin) Harder than it looks. Then again, I know what it is to dig a ditch, so….
The more I think about it, the more I think I’m going to move this Daily Journal blog back over to another website.
My main website feels cluttered, and I haven’t had more than a couple of new signups for the Journal over the past few months since this blog has been over there.
If you’re subscribed via email, this won’t necessitate any change on your part. The posts will still be emailed to the same list of folks.
And more than likely it won’t necessitate any change on the part of those who are subscribed via RSS either. But I’ll be sure to post the new URL just in case.
Topic: Day 5 of the Challenge — Exercising the Idea Muscle
When I was speaking at a lot of writers’ conferences, attendees often complained of how difficult it is to come up with story ideas.
I knew what they meant. They meant it’s hard to come up with stories that are born whole, beginning, middle and end. Characters, setting, conflict, and resolution.
Yes, it is. But why would you want to do that anyway? More on that later.
So what is a story idea? Actually, it’s only one kind of a story “starter.”
A full story idea is a character with a problem in a setting. That’s it. The problem might or might not even be ‘the’ problem of the story. Doesn’t matter.
As I said, that’s one kind of story starter.
Other story starters mmight be just a line of dialogue or an action that pops into your head.
It might be an odd characteristic of a character’s face (a cauliflower ear, a nose bent sideways, startling eyes).
Or it might be the aforementioned character with a problem in a setting. But it won’t be a story born whole.
The sole purpose of a story starter (or story idea) is to get you to the keyboard.
As I write this, I’m beginning day 5 of a 30-day short-story-a-day challenge.
Yesterday, as part of my growth as a writer, I made a point of coming up with two new story ideas before I called it a day.
I plan to do that every day through the rest of this challenge. Why?
For one thing, coming up with story ideas at the end of a good day of writing is much easier than coming up with even one good story idea in the midst of waking up in the early morning.
It also alleviates the pressure of having to try to come up with something during that groggy hour or so.
For another, coming up with ideas (story starters) is not difficult, but it’s an acquired habit. To do it easily means to do it regularly.
So I’m practicing. I’m exercising the idea muscle.
And it works. I actually came up with three story ideas yesterday. But one of them was born whole.
A line popped into my head, followed closely by the POV protagonist, the antagonist, an extra character, the conflict, and the resolution. The whole story.
I tossed it out.
Why? For the same reason I don’t outline novels.
I write first to entertain myself, to see what the characters are going to do and say, and where the story’s going to go. It’s exciting.
If I already know the end, writing the story will bore me. And if it will bore me, chances are it will bore the reader.
As always, I’m learning as I go. Part of that is acquiring the habit of exercising the idea muscle.
This challenge is the perfect time to acquire a habit like that.
Today, and Writing
Rolled out at 3:30. Messed around with waking-up stuff and wrote everything above this.
After that I scheduled “Exercising the Idea Muscle” for publication over on the big blog too. It will come out sometime early next year.
Around 7:15, I moved out to the Hovel.
Well, the story starts I came up with yesterday — neither of them worked. Still, I plan to make that my last act of the day, every day, coming up with a couple of story starts.
Usually when I write an opening it takes off. This morning I wrote two and both of them fizzled.
Finished the story. Gonna spend the rest of the day to coming up with more story starts. (grin)
See “The Best Advice an Author Can Get” at http://thefutureofpublishing.com/2017/05/the-best-advice-an-author-can-get/.
While you’re there, consider subscribing to The Future of Publishing blog.
Fiction Words: 2843
Nonfiction Words: 790 (Journal)
So total words for the day: 3633
Writing of “Untitled” (Story 5 for June)
Day 1…… 2843 words. Total words to date…… 2843 (done)
Writing of June Novel
Day 1…… 2248 words. Total words to date…… 4925
Day 2…… 0505 words. Total words to date…… 5430
Day 3…… XXXX words. Total words to date…… XXXXX
Total fiction words for the month……… 21001
Total fiction words for the year………… 313908
Total nonfiction words for the month… 3930
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 93910
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 407818
The Daily Journal blog streak……………………………………… 557 days
Calendar Year 2017 Novel Goal (15 novels)………………… 5 novels
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)………………………………………… 25
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)……………………………………… 3
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)……………………………… 172