Thursday, 31 July 2014

Be your own Superhero! - 5 quick steps to setting up your story.

Haven't you ever wished that you had as much time or morale to sit down and start writing chajns of epic novels/novellas/poems, with no distractions, worries or temptations?
The sad fact is we all have, an even sadder fact is that there is no way around said troubles that doesn't involve quitting your day job and moving away from family and becoming a social recluse. If you approach writing from a business like manner and treat it like a small start-up company (which it is really) - you will feel more compelled to pour your heart and soul into not letting your business tank and nurture it like a small puppy or child, dependent on what you prefer more. To let your 'business' flourish and sparkle, here is what you need to do:

1. Brainstorm.
Now all businesses start from the basics. Acquire a nice new notebook that you love the look of to contain all of the scruffy notes, timelines, quotations, character bios, scene suggestions, bullet points, chapter ideas, ect. It doesn't matter how they are arranged, just readable enough for you to flick back through and understand what you've scribbled on the bus home.
Take your notebook and shut yourself in a quiet room along with a viewpoint of 'calm'. Personally I surf youtube to source the latest hour long videos with calm/atmospheric songs, and use that hour as a viewpoint to how long I need to write. When my music stops, I leave the laptop/notebook alone and carry on with something else for a while. Music doesn't need to be used if you simply gain nothing from it - your 'viewpoint' must mean something to you and encourage the creative ideas to flow.

2. Mind-vomit.
Looking at the brilliant brainstorm you have just created through delving through the inner sanctums of your mind, I want you to take two minutes to fully take in the scope of your brainstorm. Get yourself a clean sheet of paper and write down 5 quick plot scenarios that have started to form in your mindset. Crack open those embryos and don't be afraid to get deep in there amongst the slush. You don't need to include a huge amount of insight to each possible idea, but just enough for your brain to connect to the plot associated with the words you've written.

3. Elimination.
One by one, I want you to eliminate idea by idea, purely by how confident you feel enough to be able to look at the one or two sentences you've written and make a snap decision of; "This won't work". In addition, you'll be started to sharpen your beginner copy-writing skills and killing off the components that don't feel right to you as you go. When approaching the last idea on the list that you've left until the end, take a good hard look at it, feel it. Imagine writing about that with scenario/plot/time frame. Allow yourself to visualize what kind of possible characters could be deep inside, locked away. If it feels as exciting to you, go for it and run. If not, start again from fresh from a different perspective or genre. Keep going until you find that muse you've been waiting for.

4. Digging.
Either by pencil or laptop, start with a random scene from what you imagine could be the very middle of the story that sprouted from your last idea. Start jotting down whatever falls from the brain down to the fingertips - it doesn't even need to be good, just enough practice for you to be able to ascertain what kind of story it needs to be, what you as the story-teller, wants it to be. I would suggest to take the most action-packed scene and run with it until you cannot possibly exercise anymore creativity into it. Here is my quick scene that I have literally this very moment just typed out, without thinking.

"Jared took his gloves and placed them back into the glove compartment. Stello would never be able to see the blood stains on the upholstery, he thought half with mirth and half with guilt. He could feel the weight of the dead man in the muddy bootof the old mustang, sitting on the back tyres and dragging the whole damn car down. Jared cliked his teeth and tapped the steering wheel impatiently. Stavros was late, late with drugs. He was either dead or laying face down in a ditch somewhere. Two possible dead bodies in one night and Jared was the one still standing, no drugs."

I opted for just letting my fingers slide over the keyboard to just see what I could come up with. I let the ideas flow to my brain and just kept writing although I had no idea where it was likely to end or become. Have a try - don't think, just feel the words.

5. Nurture.
Now red back everything you have written - seriously read it through with care, an open mind and thought process. Do you honestly see yourself recreating the plot around your scene? Do you see yourself putting hundreds of hours into this project to nurse and nurture your little seedling into the 80,000 word novel it deserves to be? If yes, then congratulations because you have taken the first steps into creating something beautiful and the next step now would be the planning process.

If the process has still left you stuck, take an hour to move away from your work and concentrate on something else fairly media related - such as reading a magazine, watching TV, playing a game, ect. After that hour I want you to return and write about any random scene that you have witnessed in that hour, it can be anything. Put your own characters into that scene and have them move along the same story line, eventually you will need to take the reins and decide what happens next, watch them come to life at your very fingertips and gain an imagination of their own. After writing as much as you feel you need to, have a read back through and piece together the events before and after this scene - what could have happened to the characters next? What could be their back stories? You could literally warp their entire world and bend it to your will! Next I want you to edit the small excerpt of text and take out any reference or name that could lead to plagurism; (which only applies to those who have taken the scene from any published media seen during the 'cool down hour' obviously).

And there you have it, in the space of a small amount of time not only have you managed to exercise that writing muscle, but you've also grown potential ideas from near to nothing and taken them to the next level where they sit, eager and awaiting you to finish their tales. Good luck with the journey and let me know how it goes!

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