Monday, May 3, 2010

May: A Month of Random Questions

As I brainstormed possible topics for this month, I kept getting stuck. Nurturing ideas? I've touched on that subject before. Celebrations? Not feeling it.



For the last few weeks, I've had the most random thoughts. I'll be smelling the apple blossoms in the park and think what if Darcy thinks she's acting out of compassion, but in reality she's acting out of desperation? (Darcy is the main character in the book I just finished revising.)

Now, this happens to me a lot, and if you're a writer, it surely happens to you too. You can't turn off the book you're writing. Little bits and pieces come to you at inconvenient times, like when you're in the shower or stopped at a traffic light. And some of the stuff that comes to you seems out of place. Maybe you're trying to figure out why your hero just freaked out about something, when you realize a secondary character acted incorrectly a few chapters back.

It's puzzling trying to figure out if I've nailed a scene. Some I know I did, and others I wonder about. For the troubling scenes, I find it helps if I unlock the worry grip and ask myself random questions about the scene, characters or plot. If I can look at what's happening from a silly or foreign perspective, I can narrow down the correct way for the scene to flow.

Join me all month for random questions to help push you through tough scenes.

35 comments:

  1. What you say is so true, we are constantly wondering about what we've writter and our characters reactions etc. Can't wait for this months posts:)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Love smelling that sweet smell! Hope you and Darcy figure it all out. :O)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I do that all the time! I think that's what makes one a better writer:)

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm on board with you all the way!!
    LOVE this blog.

    Patti

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love the picture you have chosen! Very cheery. Making ourselves see from a new perspective, I find, puts more truth in a scene, whether writing fiction or life. Looking forward to a 'random' May here!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm excited to take this on.
    ~ Wendy

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's amazing the avenues our thoughts travel down as we finetune our work.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sounds like a fun month! I can't wait to see your other posts. Maybe you'll help me push through the last 20K of my novel. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I LOVE getting absorbed in the lives of my lead characters. Yes, I think about them all the time. Being between projects (or at a resting point, in my case) makes the day seem a bit empty.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yes! My husband catches me staring into space, thinking about my book, all the time.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love your suggestion for finding more ideas for a scene! Will look forward to your random thoughts this month! ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Good morning!

    Kara: There isn't an "off" button,
    is there? :)

    Diane: I think we do! Thanks!

    Terri: I like that. Obsessions can be a good thing!

    Patti: Ha! ha!

    Lynn: Yes, and it makes our work more interesting.

    Wendy: Me too!

    Joanne: It is. And it cracks me up how weird some of the stuff is that comes to us!

    Ralene: Only 20K left?? Awesome! I know you'll push through!

    Georgiana: A little empty cushion between projects can fill the brain back up. Have fun!

    Julie J: Ha! I do that too. It's a writer thing. :)

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Jody: They don't always help, but they do take the pressure off!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sounds like fun! Looking forward to it:)

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'd like to figure out a way to record those little snatches of character insight and narrative, and the reminders to go back and fix something in the story, because they DO always seem to come in the shower, or while I'm running the vacuum cleaner, or driving.
    How do you all keep track of those "random" story thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ideas do strike at awkward time. ;)
    Agatha Christie often said she would get ideas when she was out to lunch or looking at new hats, in which case she was forced to write notes on randome napkins. :)
    I look forward to more of your random questions.

    Just letting you know, I'm hosting a book giveaway on my blog today. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love this idea! And since I'm brainstorming/plotting right now, the questions might be just what I need to get going in the right direction.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sounds like a good series of posts--I can't wait!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Jill you always present some relevant tidbits to keep the juices flowing. I love that about you!

    ReplyDelete
  20. I love to play the scene out in my head like a movie and then figure out what critical thing is missing ... drives me crazy! :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Gahhh! I totally just had a conversation about this VERY THING with my husband over lunch. I was driving to meet him and got to thinking about a part of my story and all these questions just popped in out of nowhere! It was nice to have him as a sounding board, and he actually helped me figure it out!

    P.S. Love the look of the blog (not sure how long you've had it this way - I've been out of blog world for a while - but I love it!).

    ReplyDelete
  22. Love random questions, and where they always lead. Right up my alley, Jill!

    ReplyDelete
  23. I dream about my stories sometimes. I usually go to the gym first thing in the morning, then take a nap (yeah, I'm getting old) and then write. :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Karen and Erica: Great minds think alike! :)

    Niki: My friend has a voice recorder. It helps her a lot! I keep a notebook in my van so I can write things down at my destination.

    Emily: I'm terrible about scraps of paper! I do that all the time.

    Katie: If they aren't, maybe they'll lead you to the question that does? :)

    Cindy: Thanks!

    Tamika: I appreciate the compliment!

    Jaime: I know!!

    Beth: Oh, aren't husbands great? I love getting his perspective, although I'll admit I don't want it until I'm almost finished revising. And thank you about the blog look!

    Janna: Me too. My brain might get too random at times, but hey, that's okay!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Great idea!! I don't think I ask enough questions. Looking forward to hearing more! :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Great idea, Jill! I'm looking forward to your random questions. I love trying to get into my characters' heads to make the scenes stronger. It's hard, though, sometimes.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Jennifer: I don't either, but then a scene will kill me and I HAVE to!

    Heather: Me too. I find it's much easier to fine tune their motivations after I've written the first draft. During the first draft, I'm guessing!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Yes, I do this all the time. Sometimes while at a party or out to dinner with friends. How inappropriate is that?

    When I still can't work something out, or I'm tired of looking at a certain glitch, having trusted critique partners is VERY helpful.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'm trying to figure out my own MC and her motives. My WIP is almost done! That's what edits are for, right?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Sounds interesting. Can't wait. Love the idea of lookin at a scene from a foreign point of view. Hope you explain that more fully.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Sharon: How did I miss you? I'm so sorry! And don't feel bad, I've been a napper my entire life. :)

    Lola: Hey, when ideas strike, we can't help it if we're out with friends!

    T.Anne: Yay! Yay! Yay! Almost done! I don't fully grasp my MC's motivations until my first draft is finished.

    Nancy: I'll try! Each question can help find a way to enhance the scene, maybe in a way we normally wouldn't come up with.

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  32. As long as I get an idea, I try to write it down. I did it in class today. It was liberating! (It's also a good way to stay awake in lecture, haha.)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Jill:
    I had 1,000 to 1,100 words of my next section of my story typed into my battery powered portable word processor. Somehow the batteries died. The last file I had open was that story. When I turned the word processor on, it showed that file as reading all Xes across the screen. It took a lot of patience for me to figue out what to do. The other files came up perfectly. I can't remember the exact point I started on the wp. I haven't been able to get to the PC until today.Maybe I'll check and see where I stopped inputting and go from there.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Loved this post. My best help with my first novel was when I had my husband read the "guy talk" scenes. When he said, "There is NO MAN ON THIS PLANET that would say..." I knew I had to make some changes :)

    ReplyDelete

I love to hear from you!