WIP Wednesday: Pantsers Have A Point

I have no qualms about sharing my love of the almighty worksheet.

I've gone on and on about my penchant for the neat & orderly stack of questions, prompts and things-that-make-me-go-hmmm about my story.

But every now and then, I like to throw my Muse for a loop. It's funny what having a smaller, less distracting set of notes can do for one's productivity.

I laid out my basic set of scenes; I know the tone and where everything will take place; I know what happens, who makes it happen and who it happens to; and I know a bit about how it will all lead to the final outcome.

For now, I'm satisfied with knowing that and nothing more. And so far, I'm enjoying the freedom.

So, what do you think? Is less more when it comes to planning a story? Is there such a thing as over-planning? How do you combat that tendency (if you have it) to plan until you've completely lost sight of that original story spark that gave you goosebumps?

WIP WednesdayCurrent WIPs

  • flitting between a short and a flash piece this week. I kind of like it. The flitting, I mean.Keeps each story fresh. Let's hope the words are, too
  • List of WIPS: still haven't pared my list down yet. I'm 'fraid!

Fellow WIP Wednesday participants:

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments! More info on the WIP Wednesday initiative can be found at Kate Karyus Quinn's blog.

Fellow members of The Creative Alliance:

Music Monday: Seething & Festering

Festering creativity...If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you'll know by now that music is an important aspect of my writing routine.

When writing articles, I tend to listen something upbeat and peppy (live stuff by The Clash, Yeah Yeah Yeahs or Chemical Brothers work well) – anything to keep me moving and to help me get my work out of the way so I can play.

Fiction writing, on the other hand, needs music with a little more finesse. Ambient, trance, drone – these are the genres that help me tap into that deeper place where my creativity seethes and festers.

My latest playlist includes:

Somehow, this music helps me to unearth my voice by allowing me to channel to that deep, dark place, where the words seem to come from someone (or some place)…else.

At the very least, it allows me to provide a place for those strange thoughts to mushroom up into something that will hopefully scare your socks off.

I tell myself that so I don't have to think of my sinister alter-ego and the strange whisperings at night…

Photo: tijmen van dobbenburgh

WIP Wednesday: Ums and Uhs

A little teaser - inspiration for my latest WIPIt took a little brain-twisting but I finally nailed down the premise for my crazy little story idea, so the past few days have been spent working on my latest WIP.

This photo is my inspiration…

I won't even talk about the fact that all my other WIPs groaned at the thought that they would be put squarely on the backburner (but there are so many of them now, there is no risk at any of them feeling alone).

I've run the gamut on writing this one: handwritten notes, sitting at the keyboard tap-tapping away, and today, I dusted off my trusty headset and dictated the latest session directly into my voice recognition software.

I've also made some discoveries along the way:

  • my voice is very nasal-sounding (not in a Fran Drescher kind of way but nearly); I should definitely not harbour the dream of taking a job in voice-over work
  • while saying 'um' and 'uh' my inflate my word count quite nicely, they do not make for compelling storytelling; thank you DEL key

So, now that my dreams of reading you all a creepy little bedtime story have been dashed, it's back to the writing nook for me.

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments!

Fellow WIP Wednesday participants:

* Aaron Polson: WIP Wednesday – The Taint of Teenaged Angst

Did you know that Aaron has released his short story collection, The Bottom Feeders and Other Stories, as well as a special "bonus edition" via Smashwords for 99 cents? High-tail it over there and grab a copy! 

* Cate Gardner: WIP Wednesday – Draft Dodger

The lovely Miss Cate's short story collection, Strange Men in Pinstripe Suits and Other Curious Things, will be published by Strange Publications! For now, you can read stories by Cate at her blog

* Katey Taylor: WIP Chugs Along Happily

Hi-fiving addict and kick-ass cool chick Katey will be featured in an upcoming edition of The New Bedlam Project

* Writing buddy Barry Napier also has great news to share – his chapbook The Final Study of Cooper M. Reid is available for pre-order. These babies are limited edition, yo! Better snap one up while you have the chance. Barry will also be pimpin' his writing in an interview with Kody Boye on The Tattered Muse this Friday

* Kudos also go out to Natalie Sin, who I hear has just received an acceptance for one of her smutty little tales. Go Nat!

* Writers! Artists! Are you looking for a way to connect, network and help out your fellow creative-types? Join The Creative Alliance! No dues are collected and with such a deep talent pool, you'll have no problem gathering a healthy supply of tips on how to do away with that pesky neighbor

Photo by Katherine Carington Smith

World Domination

MissWrite.netIn an effort to further my plans of World Domination, I have secured MissWrite.net.

Right now it forwards to my articles as Toronto Writing Examiner, but I hope to expand it and build a full website, highlighting all my writerly pursuits (including my fiction & copy writing).

You would think all of these endeavors would burn me out (and occasionally they do), but I love writing ever so much, and being able to explore it in all its facets makes me the happiest girl!

Today, I'm working on that totally-crazy-so-not-me-yet-devilishly-addictive story idea I mentioned. Chris (my fiancee) gets a little impatient because when I'm working on something new, I don't like to share many (read: ANY) of the details until I have at least gotten the first draft down.

By then, I am usually stuck, and like to bend his ear for tidbits to unstick myself, but right now, I am holding my cards close to my chest because I lovelovelove this idea and really want to find the words to make it work. Eep!

When you get a story idea, how do you keep yourself from falling too much in love with it (just in case it doesn't go the way you hoped or envisioned)? Or do you think you do have to have that level of intensity about every story to make each one a success?

Addendum (and the Importance of Napping)

I have a few more tips that should be added to my Note to Self:

  • never go to bed without writing down that idea you got while dozing off. You'll never remember it in the morning
  • that stray thought that seemed brilliant by the light of the moon? It may not be up to snuff come daylight

I hate to be redundant, but I cannot discount the importance of the nap. Especially after that latest story idea that popped in my head just as I was dozing off last weekend. The cool thing? It happened again!

I made just a few simple notes on the story, but it wasn't quite there yet, so I left it to percolate.

Last night, as I was falling asleep, the Muse must have been kneeling by my bed, whispering more tidbits, because my eyes snapped open and I got my trusty notebook (as per tip #1 above) and jotted down the final threads of the story.

So, my plans for the weekend include a quick outline, followed by my diving into the first draft of the story. Thankfully, all it took was a little time for my brain to conjure up more creepiness, and thus my idea didn't fall prey to the horrors of tip #2 above.

Now, to write the strange little tale. Hopefully I won't blow it :)

WIP Wednesday: What A Muse Wants…..

Something happened. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing yet. It all depends on me.

Last weekend, I dozed off on the couch. Nothing is sweeter than the afternoon nap. But our couch isn't conducive to a comfortable snooze, so after waking up and moving to my more comfortable bed, I was wide awake while my mind played over all the things I should be doing instead.

I put in my earplugs (required tools for a writer w/a snoring mate), donned my sleep mask (any writer/insomniac worth his or her salt must have one) and gave it another try.

Just as I dozed off, a strange little scene played out in my head.

And now I can't stop thinking about it.

It sneaks into my thoughts when I'm doing the dishes. Sometimes it calls to me while I'm working on another story. It just won't leave me alone.

I'm a bit afraid of this little idea. It's so not me. It's something completely different; a challenge; and like the kid who has been told to stop poking the family pet, I've got my fingers poised over my keyboard, itching to relent to the idea, to just…poke at it a little…

If you’re a writer participating in WIP Wednesday, post a link to your blog in the comments!

Fellow WIP Wednesday participants:

Photo: Jakub Krechowicz