Even the word sounds a little creepy. Like there is a storm inside your brain. It sounds… It sounds sort of violent and hazardous and windy. In this podcast, we talk about the storms inside our brain and how those storms can become story ideas.
Some authors have a really hard time just getting an idea for a new story. They burn out. They can’t find anything that they think is ‘good enough.’ They just don’t know where to start and that lack of a start makes them blocked.
This is so sad! There are ways to fight it.
Think about ways that other people’s stories influence you. If you’re an Outlander fan, think about why. If you were to write your own kind of time travel story would it be like that? With a lot of spanking and stuff? Or something totally different. How would it be different?
Ask your self questions. It’s all about ‘What if?’ What if Trump wasn’t president in 2018? What if everyone had blue hair? What if the earth had two moons? What if dogs were really space aliens?
Sparty the Dog: Wait. You mean they aren’t?
Carrie the Human: No, buddy… I mean… I don’t think so?
Some of my best ideas have come on a treadmill watching the country music network or MTV or some random YouTube channel with the sound off and just seeing images. Eventually, an image will hit me so hard that I have to write a story about it. The happened with my story, Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape).
Figuring things out. This is sort of like Another Way, but instead of deliberately asking yourself off-the-wall questions, ask questions about things that matter to you. A lot of my stories are because I don’t understand something. Tips on Having a Gay (Ex) Boyfriend was because i couldn’t understand a hate crime that had happened. I mean, you can never understand that kind of hate, but this one incident was so bizarre that they only way I could deal with it was to write my way through it.
Get emotional. What is it that always makes you laugh, cry with joy, weep with anger? What are the situations that pull at your heartstrings. Think about that as story. Write.
Inspiration is just attention. Notice what’s around you. Then ideas will come.
Once you have your seed of information and your brain has successfully stormed, don’t second guess your idea. Write it down. If you are a plot-first writer, think up the questions to flesh out your idea – who is the protagonist. What is she up against? What’s her goal? How is she going to get it? Write it down. Do it. Don’t block yourself.
When you think about people getting drunk in their underwear, you tend to think of Joe Exotic and the people on Tiger King, the hot-AF Netflix documentary, but the people who are masters at getting completely sloshed at home are the Finns. Yes, the Finns. They have a word for it and that word is kalsarikännit. That word means pantsdrunk They even have emojis depicted half-dressed emoji people holding a beer or a wine glass that they send each other when they are solo drinking in their undies. And that’s what is happening to America in the time of Covid-19. Believe me, this is such a thing that it’s a trending Instagram tag and even the Barefoot Contessa is getting involved. Here’s the thing. People in northern, isolated, winter-dark, sun-absent climates know all about staying at home. They know about facing the darkness and drinking in their undies. Yes, undies. Not sweatpants. Undies. Part of being pantsdrunk is stripping down. On Harper Collins’s website for Miska Rantanen’s book about the cultural phenomenon, it states: “When it comes to happiness rankings, Finland always scores near the top. Many Finnish phenomena set the bar high: the best education system, gender equality, a flourishing welfare state, sisu or bull-headed pluck. Behind all of these accomplishments lies a Finnish ability to stay calm, healthy and content in a riptide of endless tasks and temptations. The ability comes from the practice of "kalsarikanni" translated as pantsdrunk.”Harper Collins's blurb people According to an article by Claudia Alarcon in Forbes, ...
For the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about writing archetypes for our characters and how they also apply to the real life humans we used to meet and interact with before Covid-19. There are lists out there all over the place about this. Most have slight variations on the number of archetypes or the names of the archetypes. Oh! If you haven’t heard in our past episodes, an archetype is according to MasterClass: An archetype is an emotion, character type, or event that is notably recurrent across the human experience. In the arts, an archetype creates an immediate sense of familiarity, allowing an audience member to relate to an event or character without having to necessarily ponder why they relate. Thanks to our instincts and life experiences, we’re able to recognize archetypes without any need for explanation. MasterClass People Last week we talked about the seducers, the week before we talked about the misfits and mavericks. This week, we’re going easy on you with the creator. According to MasterClass, the creator is, “A motivated visionary who creates art or structures during the narrative.” They make things! Like writers! They usually have willpower. They are sometimes self-involved. Or they suck at practical things. Over on ArielHudnel.com, it says (all bold their emphasis), “Also known as the artist, innovator, inventor, architect, musician, and dreamer, the Creator is solely focused on examining the boundaries or our reality and perception. As a character, they often take the position of the well-meaning scientist, or savant artist. The Creator carries an inexhaustible imagination, ...
Yesterday on Carrie’s blog she talked about a writer worry that happens a lot, which is figuring out when your novel has too many characters. You should check that out at carriejonesbooks.blog if it’s one of your worries, but here’s a bit more information about making that deadly decision (deadly for your character, not you). ANOTHER WAY TO DETERMINE IF THE CHARACTER NEEDS TO BE THERE IS TO THINK ABOUT YOUR CHARACTERS’ ROLES IN THE STORY. Protagonist – The main character. It’s the character that the reader likes, loves, roots for, worries about, the character that moves the plot forward and has emotional development. Antagonist – The naughty one who keeps our protagonist from quickly achieving their goals. Sidekick – The bestie. The support system for the protagonist. Orbital – They tend to get the protagonist in trouble even if that’s not their intent. Think Hermione in Harry Potter. She’s the coolest, but her insistence on doing the right thing and being heroic sometimes pulls Harry into a path of uh-oh. The orbital is basically an instigator. Love Interest – I don’t have to explain this one, right? Confidante – This is the person the protagonist tells their secrets to. It can be a trusted friend, a mentor. Foil – They aren’t the villain, but they are the protagonist’s opposite. Think Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter. Red Shirts – These are the extras. They are hanging out in the background and encountered, but not super important. The Patils in Harry Potter If you have a ton of one type of character, you can probably delete or combine one. WRITING TIP OF THE POD Diversify your characters’ roles and consolidate. Don’t have too many characters doing the same thing/serving the same role. DOG TIP FOR LIFE Keep your crew ...