Go Gorgeous

Some days are writing days and some are not. Some days you write a lot of non-fiction but the fiction falls flat. Then there are the days you make your coffee and it gets cold as you forget all about it and the world around you. Your vision narrows to the screen or paper in front of you and the world you’re creating inside your own head.

I’m having a day where the non-fiction wants to be worked on. So I’m making a short post and getting on with it, in general.

Today, for the A – Z Challenge…. G is for Gorgeous!

The Most Awesome Writing Genre

Have you started NaNoWriMo 2010? I try most years and never get very far. I did make it to over 5,000 words once. That was my personal best. I think it is a lack of planning ahead, a lack of keeping a schedule in the present and a lack of sticking with it overall. I still like to look for inspiration. Maybe this is the year I actually make it! I’d settle for coming close.

I found a post a Operation Awesome which I like. What Makes Fantasy Awesome by Janice Hardy.

I like her list and agree with all of it:

  • Magic
  • Dragons
  • Delicious Villains
  • High Stakes
  • Funny Sidekicks
  • Other Worlds
  • Pacts with Something Nasty
  • Girls with Weapons
  • Talking Animals
  • Anything is Possible

It’s a great list to inspire me to write for NaNoWriMo. It’s good to remember you actually like what you are writing. It is easier to return and stick with it when you enjoy doing so.

You could write a list like this for each genre, whether you are a writer or reader of that genre. What is awesome about mysteries, horror, non-fiction?

More Magical, Dreadful and Exciting

Quotes from Tanith Lee. Have you ever read her science fiction/ fantasy? It’s time you had a look. She is one of those writers who works to invent something new in plots, characters and that is part of her longevity in fiction.

I just love writing. It’s magical, it’s somewhere else to go, it’s somewhere much more dreadful, somewhere much more exciting. Somewhere I feel I belong, possibly more than in the so-called real world. – Tanith Lee

It’s very selfish when I write. I’m not aware, ever, of writing for another person; I’m not even really aware of writing for myself. – Tanith Lee

No one is ever ordinary. – Tanith Lee

Writing is writing, and stories are stories. Perhaps the only true genres are fiction and non-fiction. And even there, who can be sure? – Tanith Lee

Set Your Lyrics

Every show on TV starts out with it’s own theme song. (If there is one that starts out silent I can’t think of it). Some of the theme songs are great, sentimental or powerful or just the sort of melody or lyrics to stick in your mind. With some theme songs you can hear a bit of it years later and remember the whole thing. That’s a kind of power and a tribute to the songwriter.

Think of something you have written recently (poetry, fiction or non-fiction) and write a theme song for it. If you are musically inclined try to give it a tune as well as the lyrics. It doesn’t have to be long, just a jingle if that’s your inspiration.

People Watching

I don’t think you can really be a writer unless you are also an avid people watcher. I really like to sit with a coffee and watch the people around me. I don’t write stories for them, I just observe and come to my own conclusions about who they are, what they think and feel. Do they seem tired, grumpy, cheery, clever, amused, interesting, rushed or laid back? Are they well dressed or a bit too casual? Does that hair style really suit them? You can go on forever.

What things do you see that cause you to decide who someone is, on one sighting alone? I think the way they dress, their body language and how their face, are big first impression tip offs. Next time you are people watching consider the first three things you notice about people. Do you notice different things than I do?

Do you write that way? When you describe a character do you write about them as if they were someone you just saw at the mall, in the parking lot at work or wherever you happen to be writing them. Do you give details about their appearance, body language and facial expressions?

Have you ever written about a stranger you watched somewhere? Try it. Give yourself a challenge and write in a different venue than your usual. If you write fiction try poetry, if you write non-fiction try fiction and so on. Go nuts and write a greeting card just for them!

Most of all, keep watching those passers by, you never know when they will become inspiration.

I Don’t Feel Like Writing

I don’t feel like writing cause my bra strap is too tight. I don’t feel like writing cause I’m not in the mood. I don’t feel like writing cause I’m too tired. I don’t feel like writing cause I don’t have anything really brilliant to say today. I don’t feel like writing cause my typing is worse than my penmanship tonight. I don’t feel like writing cause my asthma is bugging me. I don’t feel like writing, I just don’t feel like writing. Can’t I just not feel like writing?

I can always come up with reasons why I don’t feel like writing, some of them are real reasons. But, in the end, later I’ll still be trying to catch up on everything I didn’t write the night before. Time keeps passing, you can’t politely ask everything to stop for you.

What do you do to get back on track when you don’t feel like writing? Sometimes I have a shower. Going for a drive or a walk also works, weather and gas money permitting. Even just taking yourself away for the time it takes to make a fresh coffee is now and then enough to get yourself back into a writing frame of mind.

If not, maybe you need to make a list instead. Lists are a short form of writing. You don’t have to obey rules of punctuation, grammar or spelling. You just make notes for yourself. List your plot developments for fiction you’re working on. List possible spin off articles if you’re writing non-fiction. Make a list of ideas you could work on if you felt like writing.

In the process of making a list I usually find I suddenly really feel like writing again. In fact, I often start writing right on the back of my list.

The Reframing Matrix

Here is an idea for the next time you are stuck with an idea and can’t fight your way out of a wet paper bag with it. Try the reframing matrix plan.

The Reframing Matrix is a formal technique used to look at problems from different perspectives. It helps to expand the number of options open to you for solving a problem.

You draw up a reframing matrix by posing a question in a box in the middle of a piece of paper. You then draw a grid around it. Each cell will contain approaches to the problem, seen from one perspective.

One way of using the technique is the ‘4 Ps’ approach. This looks at the problem from the following viewpoints: Product, Planning, Potential and People. Another set of perspectives is to ask your self how different professionals would approach the problem. Useful professions to consider would be medical doctors, engineers, systems analysts, sales managers, etc.

I found this on a site called Mind Tools. Consider applying the reframing matrix to your writing blocks or hold ups. What would your four perspectives or viewpoints be? Overall you could say: Story, Publisher, Reader, Characters. But it could be applied to sections of your fiction too. Look at the situation from the viewpoint of four different characters. If you are working on a non-fiction article look at it from the viewpoint of four possible readers- other writers, professionals, your siblings, a checkout cashier, etc.

It does help to give you fresh ideas and slants/ angles on the ideas you already have.