Wednesday, January 28, 2015

FLYING THROUGH THE FOG: Tips to Discovering Your Story Idea

.
.
Are you ready for SPEEDBO?“
.
YIKES!” you’re thinking. “Give me a break. It’s only January!”
.
As long-time Seeker Villagers know, SPEEDBO is short for “speed book.” Each March Seekerville hosts a month-long write-a-thon where we write our little hearts out for 31 days. We draw encouragement from each other and push ourselves to one more word, one more sentence, one more paragraph, one more chapter. Maybe an entire rough draft!
.
And...Speedbo is ONLY 32 days away!
.
Are YOU ready? Have you given any thought to where your focus will be or do you plan to sit down on Sunday, March 1, grab any idea that comes to you out of the blue, and write through the fog?
.
Due to exceedingly limited time available to write to a contracted deadline, I can’t be an into-the-fog writer. Between turning in one finished book and a proposal for the next, I try to allow myself about eight weeks to complete a beginning-to-end synopsis (12-15 double-spaced pages) and the first three chapters for my editor’s approval (an additional 50 pages).
.
.
As I begin that proposal package, I can’t afford to take off totally into the fog without a plan -- “instrument back up.” I can’t leisurely fly this direction, then that, hoping for clear skies out there somewhere before I run out of time and “fuel.”
.
Did you know that when flying through thick fog, a pilot without (or disregarding) a working instrument panel can become so disoriented that they believe they’re parallel to the earth but are, in fact, flying their plane straight into the ground?
.
In order to avoid that and get moving on my proposal, I have to quickly lay a foundation. I can’t just launch into writing a proposal for something I’ve given absolutely no thought to. Not, at least, if I hope to make it through the fog and in for a happy landing!
.
Unlike some writers who are gifted at pulling an idea out of a hat (with all the full-blown GMC trimmings), I MIGHT have a “spark” for the next book -- maybe a “what if,” a situation or a character who lodges in my brain. Or not.
.
I’m sometimes at ground zero in the idea department. Flying into the fog with the clock ticking...ticking...ticking.
.
.
So where do I start? How do I find an idea I can build on to discover a book-length story that engages me, my editor and my readers?
.
For years I’ve kept a checklist that serves as a runway, a launching pad to help me get my story off the ground and through the murky realms to clearer sailing.
.
So today I’m sharing the checklist I use (mingled with a HUGE helping of prayer!) to get my brain rolling. Please note that I don’t follow it in chronological order if one point or another captures my imagination first.
.
So see if any of these ideas help fly YOUR Speedbo project out of the fog!
.
- Peruse papers, magazines and on-line or TV news for stories that spark a “what if” (or review ideas previously gathered--I keep a running list).
.
- Find photos of who you imagine your hero/heroine to be. (I’m constantly “snipping” face photos from the web or magazines and putting them in a folder or electronic file for future reference.) Sometimes a face will jump out at you, almost as if you recognize your character! And their personality and background suddenly kindles in your mind.
.
- Come up with one- or two-word descriptors of the hero/heroine (their core essence).
.
.
- Brainstorm themes and “hooks” this story might embrace (e.g., opposites attract, girl-next-door, friends-to-lovers).
.
- Brainstorm one-line concepts of what the story is about. Getting something down on paper solidifies your fledgling ideas.
.
- Expand the one line to a one-paragraph “blurb.”
.
- Brainstorm a moral premise to see if one might give your story direction. Is there a Bible verse or saying that concisely nails what this story could be about?
.
- Brainstorm titles.
.
- Brainstorm opening lines.
.
- Brainstorm opening scenes.
.
.
- Brainstorm goals, motivations, conflicts (GMC).
.
- Brainstorm hero/heroine backstory.
.
- Brainstorm who the heroine/heroine is at the beginning and how they will change by the end of the story.
.
- Brainstorm scenes that will SHOW this change.
.
- Brainstorm what the hero/heroine is most afraid of.
.
- Brainstorm a lie the hero/heroine believes about themselves -- and each other.
.
- Brainstorm what most deeply hurt the hero/heroine in their past.
.
- Brainstorm possible big black moments based on the above ideas.
.
- Brainstorm story climaxes and resolutions.
.
.
- Scene storm how to ILLUSTRATE and build escalating conflict to reach this climax/resolution.
.
- Create a rough draft “calendar of events” as plot points come to you. Yes, ON a calendar so you get  feel for the story's timeline.
.
- Research locale, occupation, story “issues,” etc. (But don’t get bogged down in this so that you never start the story!)
.
- Sketch a map of the setting or a key building to firm it in your imagination.
.
- Locate photos that illustrate locales or scenes.
.
- Build a photo collage to capture the essence of your story as it comes to you. (I’ve never tried this, but was intrigued when I heard several years ago of authors doing it--have any of you tried it?)
.
.
The results of any one of these brainstorming endeavors -- or a combination of several -- can grab my imagination and send it hurtling through the fog. That sparking idea then draws -- magnet-like -- other ideas I can use to build my proposal as I continue through the various brainstorming points.
.
I find, too, that setting a timer to brainstorm helps immensely. Rather than “dreamily” letting my mind wander (although that can occasionally help IF I can find the time), a timer helps me focus. How many ideas for a given point can I come up with in, say, ten or fifteen minutes?
.
It’s also helpful when the essence of my story finally begins to emerge (but I still feel like I’m in foggy regions), if I begin writing the opening scene. Get a feeling for the conflict and characters. Because I always start my synopsis with a few pages of hero/heroine background before launching into “as the story opens,” developing that background in the fledgling synopsis while at the same time working on the opening scene often begins to clear the fog me.
.
So how do YOU kindle that idea spark? Share with us today where your ideas come from and the steps you take to build it into a full-length story concept that flies you out of the fog and into blue writing skies!
.
If you plan to give Speedbo a shot and would like to be entered in a drawing for one of two copies of Jeff Gerke’s “Write Your Novel In a Month: How to Complete a First Draft in 30 Days and What To Do Next,” mention it in the comments section, then check the Weekend Edition to see if you’re a winner!
.
Glynna Kaye’s debut book “Dreaming of Home” was a finalist in the ACFW Carol and Maggie awards, as well as a first place winner of the “Booksellers Best” and “Beacon” awards. Her 4 1/2 star “At Home In His Heart” was chosen as a Reviewers Choice finalist by national magazine RT Book Reviews. The first book in her Love Inspired “Hearts of Hunter Ridge” series debuts in October 2015!



 


105 comments:

Keli Gwyn said...

No comments yet? No problem? Since I'm not a coffee drinker, the fact that none has been served is fine by me. I'll leave the java to those who can handle the caffeine. I'm wired enough without it. =)

Great post, Glynna, and timely, too. I completed revisions on my second LIH this past weekend and will be diving into proposal preparation pronto. I'm going to use some of your brainstorming tips to defoggify the process.

Cindy W. said...

I enjoyed the very informative post Glynna. I would love to be a part of Speedbo this year but I'm not sure I'll be able to do it this year do to some March commitments. But I will pray about it and see where I am led.

I would love to be in the drawing for Jeff Gerke's book. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

COFFEE IS HERE!!!!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

SPEEDBO!!!!

Oh, what fun! I've tried to incorporate the Speedbo (that is such a bad, bad, name) mindset into my everyday writing. Grabbing an evening hour, doing writing sprints on my days off.... It's been a great help to keep a strong word count and still have time for family and home.

My Swiffer Duster has become my new BFF!!!!!!!

:)

LOVE IT!

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, KELI! I'm not a coffee drinker either but it sure always smells yummy!

Congrats on getting your revisions completed on your second LIH!! The proposal for my next book just flew off to NY on Monday morning, so I'm off and running toward my next book-length deadline.

Hope today's blog post helps you get launched on your next proposal!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hello, CINDY W! Maybe you can do a "modified" Speedbo...I'm sure there will be more talk here over the coming month as to what that might entail for those who aren't ready to leap into a book-length manuscript but need to complete a synopsis, do research, do revisions, etc.

Jessica Nelson said...

Awesome ideas, Glynna!!! I'm in the fog, for sure. *sigh*

That fact about pilots flying into the ground is alarming.

Brainstorming out loud is a great way to go. I like to bounce ideas of nonwriters too. They usually come up with something I didn't even think of! lol

Thanks for the coffee, Ruthy! *slurp*

Glynna Kaye said...

Hey, RUTHY! I often set a timer to see how much I can get written in a given length of time and try to keep my focus on track on a daily basis.

Those Swiffer's ARE a BFF, aren't they?! I have a framed quote in my kitchen that reminds "Housework, if done properly, can kill you." Not ready to die--too many books remaining to be written! :)

Mary Curry said...

Good morning, Glynna. I have to rush off to work, but I'm looking forward to coming back to read this carefully.

I sold the book I wrote during SPEEDBO last year so I'm psyched.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, JESSICA N! Yes, bouncing ideas of someone is a great idea and I should have included that as it IS something I do. My sister is often my sounding board -- "it could end like this, this or this--which one do you think would be more satisfying to a reader?" "I've written myself into a corner with the story thread--how can I get out of it?" "I need to have my hero and heroine spending more time together but I don't want the scenes to be episodic--would it work if I...?"

I think that flying a plane into the ground in dense fog is most often a danger with smaller, private planes--so nothing to lose sleep over on your next commercial flight. :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Hello, MARY C! So neat that you SOLD a book written during Speedbo! It's a great time to feed off the month-long encouragement and momentum of knowing other Villagers across the country (and around the world?) are pounding away at their keyboards right along with you. :)

Jackie said...

Hi Glynna,

I think you've given us a brainstorming idea for each day between now and March 1. I've had an idea rolling around in the back of my mind, and you've inspired me to brainstorm it. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, JACKIE! Glad the post will help your brainstorming efforts. Sometimes "attacking" a spark of an idea from several different brainstorming directions can really help solidify it.

Tina Radcliffe said...

LOVE YOUR NAVIGATION IDEAS. I am irritating ground control with my lack of a flight plan.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Mary Connealy is responsible for the name Speedbo and subsequent awful images. hahahaha

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, TINA! So very glad we have something to BLAME MARY for! :)

Mary Hicks said...

Good brain storming ideas! I don't like flying in a fog. :-)

I use a timer for everything—the one on my iPhone is neat and easy to use.
Once I start writing I don't want to stop—I set the timer so I'll know when it's time to go on to one of the 'necessary' un-fun chores.

Kelly Bridgewater said...

Good brainstorming ideas, Glynna! I will be printing it off and use as I think of my next book. Thank you! I would like to be entered in the drawing for Jeff Gerke's book.

Rose said...

Great tips, Glynna!

I have to know what direction I'm going too-I have too many time constraints not to.

Hmmm....Speedbo is fast approaching, guess I'd best get to planning.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Glynna, Love the photos of the area in the fog. We had some here the other day. So still and silent in the fog.

Your list is awesome and I'm printing it. I know all this but forget to apply it half the time. I need it now.
So thank you so much.k

I always admire your work ethic and ability to plan and organize and accomplish so much. Go girl.

Sandra Leesmith said...

So Mary gets the blame for that word. LOL

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Mary H! I'm such a timer person, too--if I didn't set one I'd get busy writing and forget to go to my day job! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, KELLY! Glad you think the post might be helpful! I hadn't realized my checklist had gotten so long thru the years until I started prepping it for this post. As you can see, since I keep collecting brainstorming strategies I can sometimes be pretty desperate to dislodge a reluctant story idea out of my subconscious! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning SANDRA! We had a TON of foggy days in the mountains in December. The clouds would descend overnight, then take their own sweet time in rising again.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, ROSE! I can relate to your time constraints. I don't have a single minute to think a personal thought at the day job, so no "mulling over ideas" throughout the day. Have set a time to sit down an focus, focus, focus.

Cindy Regnier said...

Very informative and helpful info. Thanks Glynna. I will sign up for Speedbo - its been very motivating to me in the past. I'm looking forward to it! Please enter me in the drawing for one of the books.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

This actually happened in Florida recently with a pilot in Florida. Very scary.

Thankfully, it's not quite life or death for those of us who write. I'm looking forward to Speedbo so I really appreciate this checklist to get my act together. I have a number of things already checked but there are some I need to work on!

Put me in for the drawing and thanks a bunch!

Peace, Julie

Julie Hilton Steele said...

Duh, haven't had enough coffee. My ideas come first and foremost from places I love. Because I am writing WWII and love the research, there always is a story to tell. I go to oral histories A LOT. Truth is often better than anything I could come up with. I can embellish from there!

Thanks again for a great post.

Peace, Julie

Wilani Wahl said...

I am planning to do Speedbo again this year. Please enter me for that drawing.

I keep a list of ideas as they come to mind.

Wilani Wahl said...

I am planning to do Speedbo again this year. Please enter me for that drawing.

I keep a list of ideas as they come to mind.

DebH said...

hi Glynna
I love this list. I've long been a news clipper for saving story ideas. A file folder with text files of stories and some old, old, folders with actual newspaper articles clipped. I've also gotten a few story ideas from the writer's challenge thread on the Harlequin website boards.

I like your list. Must remember to copy/paste and save in my idea folder on my computer. Never hurts to have a list to look at when brain-fog rolls in. I was thinking about working on my R&R during SPEEDBO, but I need to plow forward on that now, so I think I'll browse through my clippings and prep the one that leaps out to capture my imagination.

Awesome post. Would love to be in the drawing. Those books sound really cool.

Thanks for sharing your process with us. I know I can use at least one or two (or five, six...) things from today's post.

Elaine Manders said...

Hi Glynna,

Is it that time of year again? I have so many projects going, I'll probably be editing during Speedbo this year. Like you said, my initial inspiration comes from the "what if" moment. Then I go into research mode and that keeps me out of the fog.

Glynna Kaye said...

Hello, CINDY R! Glad the post is helpful. Kinda scary, though, how quickly Speedbo is coming up -- just over the horizon!

kaybee said...

GLYNNA, I agree with the need to know where you're going. I have limited time and can't fly blind. My plan for Speedbo (IF I reach the deadline I've set for myself for Jan./Feb.) is to rewrite and finish the draft of the novel I wrote for NANO. I figure if I work on that book in these two special months, it will eventually get done. And done right.
Please put my name in drawing. You can never have too many craft books. This fall I read "Save the Cat" and "Writing With Emotion, Tension and Conflict," which I won HERE. I'm also doing an intensive structure tutorial with my crit partner because she really, really gets it.
Thanks Glynna,
Kathy Bailey
Snowed in and snowed out in NH

kaybee said...

I have no problem with the original spark of an idea, I practically have to lock my brain to keep too many from coming in, but my challenge comes in developing it. So I'm focusing on structure this year. Apparently, according to contest judges, I can turn a phrase, create a character and establish setting with the five senses, but my crit partner is, well, critical of my structure and I think she's right, so 2015 will be the year of GMCs, MRUs, and other techniques which will I hope lead to an HEA for both me and my characters. We shall see.
KB

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning JULIE H.S.! Sometimes it FEELS like it's life and death when you have a proposal deadline looming! LOL

Apparently a pilot's "inner instincts" can get all out of kilter in the fog--they really have to trust their instruments because if FEELS wrong to them. So very tragic about the Florida pilot.

You're right, real-life stories and locales can get the ideas bubbling. So often we make assumptions about people and the way things were before OUR time and research brings the truth alive.

Glynna Kaye said...

HI, WILANI! Keeping an ongoing list of ideas like you do is a great practice. I sometimes go thru mine to see if anything snags my imagination or if multiple ideas could be combined to make an even stronger single one.

Glynna Kaye said...

DEB H - I'm like you...I have file folder FULL of clippings--some from WAY back when! :) And now that there's internet, I find myself "clipping" news articles from there, too, and saving them electronically. You just never know where your next character, plot, backstory, GMC or whatever might come from!

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, ELAINE! Another Villager who finds research leads them out of the fog!

I've actually missed out on Speedbo several years running due to edits and AAs (or day job deadlines!) arriving right smack in the middle of it. I think, though, that I'll be free to participate THIS year!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, KAYBEE! Great idea to focus rewrite/finish your NANO book in March!

That's wonderful that your crit partner really "gets" story structure so she can give you feedback on your actual manuscript. Larry Brooks has some good books on story structure as does Martha Alderson that you might helpful.

Julie Lessman said...

WOW, GLYNNA ... this is a powerhouse of ideas, girlfriend -- THANK YOU!! Especially since I hope to begin a new novel in February, so PERFECT timing!!

One of the ideas you mentioned was: "Brainstorm story climaxes and resolutions."

I don't know if I can call it "brainstorming," per se as this idea for my second book, A Passion Redeemed, kind of just popped in my head when I was absently thinking of the story one day. I think I was on the treadmill, when I saw the final scene in my head, words and motion. I immediately stopped whatever I was doing and wrote it down as best I could, so basically what wrote that book for me was that last scene, and simply backtracked to get there.

Of course, I was not purposely brainstorming, mind you, which makes me think that for me, the process of "brainstorming" is more casual and usually related to physical activity at the time, which apparently primes and lubes my creativity because thinking of an idea is easier when it's more "natural" or "stream of consciousness." I guess for me, it's a wee bit like a relationship -- I do so much better when I'm relaxed and not "trying" to be interesting, you know?

BUT ... if one is on a tight schedule such as you are (and I need to be!), then one has to be more focused and purposeful, I realize, so when I get into those straits, I hop on the treadmill! :)

Great post, Glynna!!

Hugs,
Julie

Pam Hillman said...

I think I discover ideas for stories in different ways. Most of the time when I'm ready to start a new story, I look at my idea file to see if something there is what I want to work on.

Bone of contention stories seem to be my go-to theme.

Currently, I have a situation where I have TOO many directions for the plot to go in. I need to finalize a proposal, but can't decide which of the 4 paths the villian will take. Sigh.

Becky Dempsey said...

I seem to come up with ideas from watching people around me the most. I need to write faster/more to get to all the ideas I have already. So Speedbo is a challenge to write every day in March with no specific word count like NaNo has? I think I could do that!

Andrea Strong said...

I've never had to brainstorm for ideas. They've either hit out of the blue or sort of crept up on me a little at a time. I am at a point now where some brainstorming is probably in order to smooth out some rough spots.

The idea for my current (perpetual) wip came from a song on the radio while we were driving down the road. The dramatic gasp I let loose when the idea struck nearly caused my husband to run off the road, thinking something was wrong with me. He was less than impressed when I told him what was up. The ideas for the 2nd and 3rd book grew naturally from the first.

One of my favorite story ideas came during a funeral. Yes, a funeral. My husband's uncle passed a couple of years ago. I didn't know the man well, but by all accounts he was a really wonderful guy. His wife and step children told some of the funniest stories about when they met and were dating. Those stories sort of meshed with stories my mom tells about her own step-dad. These two beautiful real-life tales will hopefully someday find their way into a book, beautifully blended into one sweet romance.

I'd love to be entered. Speedbo always sounds like such a good idea, but I've never participated.

Marianne Barkman said...

SPEEDBO! Ooooo I'm looking forward to reading all the books that come out of that one! Though that means winter is over have over...and I have to face life again. Hahaha

Julie Lessman said...

Glynna, you also said: "Research locale, occupation, story “issues,” etc. never start the story!"

I certainly can attest to this on my latest novel, Unfailing Love, which is book 1 in the Isle of Hope Series. I had the skeletons of a story written before I ever got published (a plot idea and a first chapter), but what really put the story on the map for me, was researching the location. I knew I wanted an East Coast setting, but I'd already done Boston and I'm not brave enough for New York (smile to Ruthy), so I was thinking Savannah or Charleston. But ... I needed an island in which one had to cross a bridge to get to it, and lo and behold, I discovered on a map, Isle of Hope, Ga., which was PERFECT because my novel is a novel of hope restored and bridges rebuilt.

Then I read about it and discovered not only does it have a rich Civil War history and the small-town Low-country island appeal I wanted, but a number of movies have been filmed there including Forrest Gump, The Last Song, Cape Fear (the original one with Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck, and The Last of the Belles with Blythe Danner (and Gwyneth Paltrow as a baby), a story about F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

So, BINGO ... I was enthralled with the setting, which helped me be enthralled about my plot too. :)

Hugs,
Julie

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, JULIE L! Don't you love those AHA! moment? Yes, physical activity where your mind is free to roam is often helpful. Repetitive motion things like knitting and sewing are good mind regenerators, too.

I used to do a lot of sewing for the home and it was a good time for my brain to relax and wander--but no time now that I'm a contracted writer! :) I have a big box of beautiful fabric that I HOPE to get back to some day!

I also find that riding distances in a train, plane, bus or car gets the right brain flowing, too.

Glynna Kaye said...

Decisions, decisions, PAM! :) That's hard at the beginning when ideas are formulating -- you could go so MANY ways, but which one? Each road will take the story in a different direction.

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, BECKY! Ah, a people watcher--that's another good idea. I'm NEVER bored waiting at the airport to go someplace or waiting to pick someone up.

For Speedbo, you set you OWN goals. Then we cheer you on to attain them!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, ANDREA! So glad your hubby didn't run off the road!

I love that ideas that you can develop into stories come so naturally to you! I'm envious! I get "ideas" but have to discard so many, then really have to work at turning one into a full blown story with a beginning, middle and end! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Love the sound of that setting, JULIE L!

Glynna Kaye said...

Well, I have to step out for bit, but I WILL return!

Have fun sharing brainstorming methods!

Glynna Kaye said...

HI, MARIANNE! Almost missed you before I have to sign off for a bit. Sounds as you may have a TON of books to eventually read after everyone makes progress during Speedbo!

Missy Tippens said...

Glynna, these are great ideas! I've felt very foggy lately, and I found that envisioning and writing the opening scene really helped.

Although now I'm totally re-writing that first scene! LOL

Myra Johnson said...

What a compendium of great ideas for brainstorming a story--thanks, Glynna!!!

However, I am still puzzling over what Swiffer dusters have to do with Speedbo. . . . RUTHY???

Myra Johnson said...

JULIE, I'm rediscovering the art of brainstorming while on the treadmill. I absolutely despise long stretches of boring exercise, though, so lately I've taken up 5-minute "strolls" (usually about a quarter-mile) one or more times during my afternoon writing session. When my you-know-what is tired of the chair and my brain has shut down, getting up for a quick walk usually resets everything while also providing valuable "think time."

Janet Dean said...

Glynna, I love your post! First, I'm comforted that you don't always have ideas swarming in your head, demanding a story. Second, your tips to find the next story are excellent! Thanks!

I used to question if I was a "real" writer since I didn't have stories and characters chattering in my head. I've come to accept we writers are all different.

I've gotten story ideas from historical tidbits, tried and true hooks and even a sentence that popped into my head. The latter is not typical and a sentence is far from a full blown story. Still, it was a trigger.

Janet

Mary Connealy said...

I was at a writer's retreat with some local authors a few weeks ago and we broke up into groups and did brainstorming and each person got an hour and fifteen minutes.

I thought that was waaaay to long.

But we all found that, at about the half hour point we felt 'done' and then because we had more time...the ideas sort of changed, we got a little wilder, a little almost....sloppier, throwing out stuff and in that second part of the brainstorming session is when the really COOL and original ideas came out.

It was great.

It really was a productive retreat. I was in a group of four and we all felt like we came away with really interesting stuff.

Mary Connealy said...

SPEEDBO!!!
WE MUST PREPARE OURSELVES!!!!!!

ARE YOU READY???

(am I ready!?)

Meghan Carver said...

I would love to do Speedbo this year and be entered in the drawing for Jeff Gerke's book. We have a Spring Break trip planned, so I'm not sure how I could keep the momentum going, but thanks for the reminder that it's coming. Time to get ready!!

Glynna, thank you for sharing your secrets. :-) Most helpful!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Hi Glynna,
Fantastic list! I am printing this off for sure and it will come in handy for a writer's retreat I'm going to in April!

I get a lot of ideas from news articles or news items on the radio. Stories that make you go Hmmmm....

Thanks so much for the list and I'd love to be in the draw for Jeff's book!

Cheers,
Sue

Susan Anne Mason said...

Won't be doing Speedbo this year though, since I'm up to my ears in edits! Trying to polish the draft of book 2 which will follow "Irish Meadows".

Jan Drexler said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Glynna, this is perfect!

I still feel like such a newbie writer - getting a new story off the ground has been an anchor holding me back. But I have a contract and a deadline hanging over my head, and your checklist is just what I needed to get this story organized and going. I have several of the items done already, but some I need to catch up on.

I'm printing this out before I type another word!

PS - Loved meeting you face to face at ACFW in September :)

Jan Drexler said...

Oh, and I'm preparing for Speedbo. I hope to be writing the second half of this new story in March.

Hmm. That means I need to write the first half between now and then.

Kav said...

Love this...especially since I seem to have been flying through a lot of fog lately. :-)

Yes, I'm doing Speedbo. Have the idea, hero/heroine's backstories sketched out, rough suspense stuff filled in BUT it's all in my head so I'm thinking after reading this I should get it down on paper before Speedbo starts up.

I like the idea of the collage. I think I'll try that...make a kind of inspiration wall that I can always look at. I know some authors do that on Pinterest but I'm more of a practical application person so I think I need the tactile part of physically cutting pictures out and creating a collage. So excited over this idea. A great thing to do at the end of the day when I don't have a working brain cell left.

CatMom said...

Great post, Glynna!!
A huge THANK YOU for sharing your checklist with us - - a keeper for me and something I can use a lot. :)
I do plan on doing SPEEDBO - - Lord willing, if I finish my current WIP to send in before then!
Have a wonderful Wednesday, and please enjoy the Pecan Pralines I'm setting out (very sweet, but great for energy, LOL. And good with Ruthy's coffee!) :)
Hugs, Patti Jo

LeAnne Bristow said...

I love your brainstorming ideas! I'm going to make a notebook just for that. I'm excited to do Speedbo this year. I started NaNoWrMo but had to quit in order to begin revisions on a story for my agent. Now that I'm finished with that, I'm going to use Speedbo to pick up where I left off.
I would also love to be in the drawing for the Jeff Gerke book.

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, MISSY! I think OFTEN first chapters get rewritten, but taking that first brave step sometimes seems to unblock the idea flow of even better ideas.

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, MYRA! A nice long walk can really help--fresh air and a change of scenery do wonders!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hello, JANET! I get ideas for "oh, that would be a neat situation" or "ooh, that would make a great story" -- but when I begin to delve into GMCs, character development and book-length challenges it's, well, just another dime-a-dozen idea.

So I have to find just the RIGHT idea that carries me forward and intrigues me enough to want to invest the time and effort to spend months writing it. Character voices DO sometimes chatter in my head, but not all are book worthy. :)

Glynna Kaye said...

That's interesting, MARY, that the really good stuff came out later in the session. Sort of like Shirley Jump's "Rule of Six" where she says you have to push past those FIRST ideas that come so easily and go deeper.

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, MEGHAN! Yeah, Spring Break hits in March for most people. April for some. But that still gives you 3 weeks to jump in on the fun -- and ANYTHING you accomplish by March 31 is something that you didn't have done on March 1!

Glynna Kaye said...

HELLO, SUE! I don't know if you stopped in at our Weekend Edition last weekend, but I'd mentioned that your "Healing The Widower's Heart" has hit the Arizona Walmart and Barnes & Noble stores -- so I got copy! Congrats!

Glynna Kaye said...

HI, JAN! It WAS fun meeting you and so many other Seeker Villagers at ACFW. It's like bumping into family!

I'm glad you think the brainstorming list will be of help!

Those contracts DO motivate us, don't they?? :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, KAV! Be sure to report back and let us know if you find the collage idea helpful. As one with an artistic bent who used to do a lot of "crafty" things (pre-writing contract days!), I've been intrigued by the concept for years.

Glynna Kaye said...

PATTI JO -- I LOVE pralines! Thank you!

Best wishes on getting that current manuscript done before March!

It's so neat to see so many Villagers ACTIVELY writing!

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, LeANNE! (I can still say MORNING to you because I know you're another Westerner and we have 5 minutes left until high noon!)

I print out and keep Seekerville posts, too! Some just hit the spot on something I'm working on -- or WANT to work on!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hope I didn't miss anyone! Have to dash off again -- but will return again a bit later!

Missy Tippens said...

I'm glad to see several of you are considering doing Speedbo! Should be fun--and of course productive. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Love knowing how you work, Glynna!

I'm rushing to get a proposal done. The three chapters are ready, but I need to pull the synopsis together. Not my favorite thing to do.

So...I'll be referencing the steps you mentioned. Very timely. Thank you!

Susan Anne Mason said...

Oh, thanks, Glynna. I missed that comment on the weekend.
Thanks for buying my book! Hope you enjoy it!

Janet Dean said...

Glynna, I hadn't even considered that all the characters writers have in their heads aren't necessarily book worthy. Which proves writers must be gatekeepers. Not everyone gets a book.

I get excited about characters once I know their back story. From that stems their self concept, the lie they tell themselves. It's fun to help them grow and finally "fix" themselves.

Janet

Sandy Smith said...

Glynna, I enjoyed this post. You had some great ideas. I've never really thought about actually cutting out pictures of people and places. However, in the novel I am planning I need an old church and have been looking for pictures online of those that might be what I have in mind.

The idea of using an actual calendar is also a good one. I always have a bunch of freebie calendars.

My novel has had several sparks for ideas. It centers around a tornado, of which I am familiar living in Nebraska. My idea for my main character comes from the Grand Island, NE tornadoes of 1980 when our local weatherman was on air doing storm coverage while his family was back home in the path of the tornadoes, not knowing how they were doing.

I hope that I can use Speedbo to finally get started writing the novel. I am still doing the plotting, etc. and will try to get that done in February. I have set up a writing schedule for myself that I am beginning on February 1.

Please enter me into the drawing for the writing book. I do have an old book on my shelf called Write the First Draft in 30 Days. I should read that, too.

Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It said...

Glynna, I just poured over this post. I am very, very new to Seekerville. This is the first time I have heard about Speedbo. I love the idea! I will be searching out to find more about it. I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, and I found it so encouraging. I also found it VERY difficult. I love your tips, because they have given me direction that I would definitely need for this. I can't offer tips myself, because I am just getting into the whole taking writing seriously thing. :)
Thank you so much for this. You have blessed me today.
I would also like a chance for the drawing for Jeff Gerke's book. I definitely could use it.

Blessings,

Kelly

Tanya Agler said...

Glynna, Thank you for this post. I will be participating in Speedbo. March is particularly busy as there's spring break in April and then May is the last month of school for my kids. So I try to get a book written in March and April so I can edit it over the summer.

These are some great prompts for me as I usually come up with an opening scene and then have to plot a book around it.

Thank you for your blog.

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, DEBBY! Saying a prayer for you and that proposal! Synopses are so hard to think all the way thru to a satisfying end when you've barely started the story. At least with LI we don't have to do a chapter-by-chapter outline like some publishing houses require.

Glynna Kaye said...

JANET -- That's a good way of putting it -- that we have to be "gatekeepers."

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, SANDY! Yes, I always locate a photo of my hero and heroine--keeps them clear in my mind, PLUS when the book is completed, my publisher needs photos of the hero and heroine for the art department.

I always track my stories on a calendar-- www.sunrisesunset.com/usa is my favorite as you can plug in a real city or one near your fictional one and it tells you what sunrise/sunset times are for each day.

That sounds like a very interesting setting and situation for a story!

And your idea of establishing a set time to write regularly is a good one. I don't have long stretches of time to write, but writing regularly gets me where I need to go! Having the month of February to develop your plot and characters should put you in a good place for Speedbo!

Glynna Kaye said...

Welcome to Seekerville, KELLY -- and welcome to the "taking writing seriously thing"!! We have a lot of fun here and learn a BUNCH from each other.

All the Seekers met as unpubbed writers...and eventually ALL of us got published. Seekerville is our way of giving back -- making friends with writers and readers, giving other writers encouragement (it can get pretty lonely out there at a keyboard!), and providing the kind of information we wished WE had had "back in the day." :)

Of course, our hope to BE a blessing has been such a blessing TO US through all the friends we've made here.

Hope you can join us in the crazy month of March!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hello, TANYA! Glad you think the post will help -- AND that you'll be joining us for Speedbo. Your plan to write, write, write in the Spring and edit in the summer sounds like a good one!

Chill N said...

Hi Glynna! What an amazing list you've shared. Thank you.

Story ideas are no problem for me (over-active imagination) but brainstorming guides me to the heart of the story. Best brainstorming is with two non-writer friends. They also have over-active imaginations.

Those are gorgeous pictures. I wonder what's just beyond sight in that fog :-)

Nancy C

Walt Mussell said...

What? It's time for SpeedBo?

I'm not ready, but I have time to cut through the fog.

Yes, I'm in for Jeff Gerke's book.

How can anyone start their morning without coffee?

Rhonda Starnes said...

Great post, Glynna. I'm always needing ideas on how to navigate the fog.

I'm planning to be a part of Speedbo. I loved it last year! Please, enter me in the drawing for Jeff Gerke's book. I need all the help I can get! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, WALT! Sorry about that...as a NON coffee drinker it didn't even dawn on me to put on a pot when Helen was a no show. But you probably wouldn't have liked my sad attempt anyway. :)

Glynna Kaye said...

Hi, NANCY C! I posted a response before Walt's but guess it didn't "take"!

Having writing buddies to brainstorm with who understand "story" is a true gift!

Glynna Kaye said...

Hello, RHONDA! Glad you'll be joining us for Speedbo in a few weeks! In looking back over the comments here, looks like even a whole month away we have many who are making the commitment!

Lee Carver said...

Thanks for this post, Glynna. Your organized list is helpful, and I'm going to keep it. I'd like to be entered in the drawing for Gerke's book. With the collapse of Heartsong Presents, I'm looking for a new direction--meanwhile writing a full-length novel and a one piece of a novella set. In working out of my plot fog, my very best device is brainstorming, which my husband has become so good at. Often his idea doesn't click, but it stimulated exactly the right plot avenue. I give him lots of praise and credit so he doesn't feel slighted by the change.

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, LEE! Yes, the demise of Heartsong was a heartbreaker for sure. That's fabulous that your husband will brainstorm with you. Even if the other person isn't the one who comes up with the final answer of choice, just the mental exercise of bouncing ideas off someone and letting your imagination run with their suggestions can reap great rewards!

Carolyn Chambers Clark said...

Wonderful ideas, Glynna. I've never thought of most of these. So great.

I'd love to be in the drawing for Jeff's book.

My husband also brainstorms with me. For such a solitary enterprise, those moments are nurturing and effective.

Patricia A Radaker said...

Thanks for the great ideas, Glynna! Two years in a row I've started NANOWRIMO and had to give up on it early in the month because of chronic back pain. I am now under the care of a good pain management doc, so I hope to try again with SPEEDBO in March if I can pick up some umph using your brainstorming ideas. Please enter me in the drawing. Thanks. Pat

Natalie Monk said...

Glynna! These tips are amazing!!! :)

I'm probably going to be brainstorming and putting together a proposal package for book #3 during March, then looking at a fresh, unrelated project. I may have to make it Plotbo for me instead of Speedbo. :)

I'm so keeping a copy of this post. The collecting images looks like the fun part. Pinterest would be so handy for that! And the collage idea, too. Man, this post makes me excited to try a new story! :)

Glynna Kaye said...

CAROLYN -- Ah! Another who is fortunate to have an at-home built-in brainstorming partner! :) I'm glad you found the post helpful!

Glynna Kaye said...

PAT-- sorry to hear of the back problems during NaNo. Not fun when you have to be glued to your chair and keyboard for a whole month, so I hope the meds continue working and you can be 100% in March!

Glynna Kaye said...

NATALIE -- Speedbo, Plotbo...make the month what you need it to be! So happy that the post has sparked excitement about starting a new book!

Christen E. Krumm said...

Oh this sounds like a lot of fun!

Xo,
Christen
ChristenKrumm.com