Sunday, September 8, 2013

Novel Inspiration, and how to get some

NaNoWriMo season is coming up. National Novel Writing Month, for anyone who might find that first word meaningless. The NaNoWriMo kickoff day, the Day of the Dead (which is also our wedding anniversary) is soon after my major skeletonizing surgery, which will be in the latter half of October.

I have participated in the Nano circus for the last two years, and I think I remember winning last year. My novels tend to grow post November, so I'm not totally certain about this...

I think I will try to do it again this year. An acquaintance of mine, Usha Bilotta, mentioned that having all the lymph nodes out meant not being able to raise that arm for weeks. As the surgery is in my right arm, that means no bowing arm for the fiddle (although they would've had to be awfully simple songs if my left hand couldn't do the fingering) and no drawing or painting. Probably.

But I could still type with my left hand.

This means that, for me, it's story brainstorming season. Which means that I am spending a lot of time on other people's blogs, trying to glean their ideas from them.

Maggie Stiefvater (my hero) wrote a blog post on starting novels, not exactly telling me where inspiration comes from, but what to do when it has arrived. It's kind of anti-NaNo, in that she advocates quality over quantity, and starting only once you know how a scene will end, and stopping at the end of that scene. In fact, she even recommends knowing the entire book's ending before starting to write.

I am never very motivated by other people's finish lines, but more my own interior goals, so Stiefvater's advice makes sense to me.

But back to that inspiration thing. I really love writing novels and inventing characters, but coming up with the original storyline is like pulling teeth. Why? I never have any problems coming up with painting ideas, or drawings, or even poems (very bad poems, though, I have to admit), but I can't seem to think a single plot line without rolling my eyes, dismissing it as trite, or prurient, or depressing, or just super lame.

I think my writing brain is not on very good terms with my dream brain. Or id. Or subconscious. Or whatever. Maybe it's because I started writing books as an adult, whereas my visual art had no choice but to suffer the idiocy of adolescence.

So I am trying out a different approach. I began a document called "100 Story Ideas" a few days ago, and am now on number 19. At first, each entry was only a line, and you don't need to see the eyes rolling to know they were there. Number 18 was nearly a page long.

I'll let you know what happens when I get to 100.

If you write, let me know in the comments how and where you get your inspiration!

Other posts about NaNoWriMo, and writing: The End of NaNoWriMo,  Southerners must be laughing...,  NoMo what?,  Preparing for National Novel Writing Month,  Fiddle Advice, Noveling Novelties, and Wildness,  and  Writing "The End".

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