Monday, August 17, 2009

Blank Page, Steaming Mug, Cold Winter Day...

This would be my optimum writing day. Probably one of the reasons I love winter so much - is there a better excuse to sit around reading or writing while drinking a hot mocha than on snow days?

I think not.

This week we're going to talk a little bit about how we each get started. On our writing projects, I mean, not our day, week or life (though, actually, there's a running theme of caffeine through all of those topics for me). :)

If you are at all interested in writing, you've probably heard the debate. To outline or not to outline? To rough draft or to not rough draft? To stare out the window or to stare at the wall?

Personally? I'm a no-outline, no-rough draft, stare out the window kind of a girl. I start on page one and I finish when I type The End. I edit as I read back through the last chapter I wrote before I start work on the next chapter I'm going to write. And I prefer to look out the window because sometimes I notice that I didn't do as good of a job edging the paint around the baseboards as I thought I did when I look at the walls.

I usually start with a basic plot sentence. "Girl buys used wedding dress only to discover the previous owner of the dress was a famed jewelry thief who hid her final steal before death in the dress." I think I might have to name the heroine Nancy Drew for this particular sentence.

I know the main character's name. Sometimes I know a few other characters before I start. Sometimes I don't. Usually, I keep track as I go of who pops up in the story.

I have a location picked out. For my next series, I wanted to see what living near San Diego would be like. So, there's a coffee shop in a small town by San Diego and my main character, Maya, is a barista there.

As far as ideas for stories go, I've discovered that you can find them anywhere! What is something I struggle with? What is one of my most fervent prayers? What is a career I've always wanted? What is a place I've visited or always meant to? Are there any interesting stories in my family tree? Is there a more complex reason beyond just plain old OCD that my writing desk needs to be completely clean or I can't write there (realizing why I tend to write on the couch...)?

God has given us an amazingly interesting, incredibly entertaining, wildly weird world to soak in - so let's use the gift of observation He's also given us and go find that story!

How about you guys? Where do you get ideas? How do you start your books? :)


  1. Great post, Erynn! I love this blog already :) Hmm, I get my ideas mostly from the things around me. Something a family member said, a line in a movie, a person on the street, nature, etc. Then I usually play the 'what if' game. What if that person on the street got involved in a robbery? Or what if one of the most important things in life to him suddenly got ripped away? It usually works :)
    And I'm currently editing my first book, so I don't have a lot of experience :) But I started my first one with pretty much no out lining or planning. I'm working on my second book right now, and I've decided to out line with this one. I think I work better with a little planning :) Sorry for the long comment! LOL.

  2. You and I are both seat-of-the-pants writers! Love it!

  3. As a fellow writer, I am greatly looking forward to learning more about the process you girls use. Do you keep a writing schedule? Do you write every day or just on certain days of the week? What time of day do you find you write your best work? What does your creative space look like (pics would be fantastic!), and notably, how on earth do you girls manage to stay in shape when your job requires you to be stationary for the greater part of the day?

    As far as writing inspiration, most of my best ideas come to me when I'm in the shower. With a household to run and three rambunctious boys clamoring around for my attention, it's the only quiet time of the day (well, until after bedtime, at least) when my imagination can come out to play. Apparently, it's very skittish. :o) I'm known to take long showers, and then rush to my desk to jot down the ideas.

    Now, if they just made waterproof laptops, I could get a lot more actual writing done!

  4. I write the same way. My sister says that I am disorganised, but I say that I am just really good :)

    I want to be published, but I don't know if I actually could...