Every piece I write starts with an idea. Sometimes people ask me, "Where do you get your ideas from?" I have to admit that writing a novel from beginning to end is one of the toughest things for me, but I always start with prewriting strategies. A word will pop into my head from something I've read on an article or something I watch on TV, or something I heard from a song. From that word, I'll do what you call stream of consciousness writing. That's when you don’t worry about grammar, punctuation, or spelling and you simply just write whatever pops into your head out of that one word. Eventually, an idea will conceptualize, and I'll turn it into a starting sentence. Before I know it, I'm off to writing a plot.
This brainstorming process is part of the prewriting stage of writing. We don't have to be perfect. We don't even have to come up with an outline, yet. Simply sit down and just do it! This year I challenge you to turn your ideas into stories and write. Set an attainable goal along with easy to accomplish steps that will take you there. The process isn't easy; other things will get in the way, but challenge yourself to put pen on paper, even if it's 15 minutes a day. I personally have set a challenge to complete the novel I started 3-4 yrs. ago by March 30th. I intend to take the manuscript with me, and pitch it to an agent at an upcoming writing conference in May. Sometimes I get stuck, and I have to step away from my laptop, pull out a sheet of paper, and I go through a self-questioning interview process. I talk to myself in writing, ask and answer myself questions such as: What are you trying to accomplish with your character(s)? What problem will your main characters have to face? How do you plan to get them there? What solution is there to the problem? Bang! I've got a plot, and I can get back to work.
If you find yourself stuck for things to write about, try the following exercise. This is something I'll be using at a writer's workshop tomorrow. From the following words below, select one, and write at least five details that come to mind about the word you selected. For example, here are the words:
FACE OF AN ANGEL
My example: I picked FACE OF AN ANGEL: looks can be deceiving, Taylor Swift, what I fell for, sweet-talking person, what you see is not always what you get
Select one of the details to create a starter sentence and write a paragraph from it. Sometimes you can combine details like my example:
Looks can be deceiving. Sometimes what you see isn't always what you get. For Maria Longoria, she would soon find out that the man who walked in to her life, with the face of an angel, would unleash a terrible whirlwind of catastrophe in her life.
Bada-bing! I have an idea that can turn into something.
Here are more lead sentences to get you started:
I believed in...
I didn't know...
The day you...
Hope that helps you get started on the right track this year. Please feel free to leave a comment or follow me on my blog to receive more updates. If you are interested in reading short snippets of my upcoming book, you can also find me on Amazon! All my love and blessings for a prosperous year of writing!
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Friday, January 28, 2011
Get the Year Started With Some Pre-Writing Techniques!
Jax Cortez is a freelance writer, indie author of her own urban fantasy trilogy, and a practitioner of Krav Maga. She is published in various media outlets such as Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul, Black Belt Magazine, Spotlight on Recovery and her current works can be found at: www.amazon.com/author/jaxcortez