Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reviving Your Writing: The Epiphany Mode

Okay. So. Aside from my guest post about NaNowrimo on another blog, I completely failed to post regularly during November. But that’s okay, because I’m reviving the blog now that December is upon us.

                It seemed fitting to write a post about revivals. Plus, it lets me tell you about all the things I’ve been doing that have not, unfortunately, been blogging.

                I’ve been in Epiphany Mode, dear readers. I’m sure some of you know what I mean, even if you’ve never called it that.

                You go about your business. Mow the lawn, take a shower, brush your hair, etc. etc. etc. Mundane things, that don’t take much brain power. This leaves your mind open to thinking about other things…

                Like stories.

                And suddenly, the ideas rush in. Plot points click together, character motivations finally make sense, and you suddenly realize The THING that will give your story the potential to be perfect.

                This, dear readers, is why I am now steampunking ALL the things in one previously genre-confused series (Any experts on meteorites or electricity?  Contact me, please). It’s also why I wrote down thirteen dialogue snatches the other night after my shower – and those were only the things I could half remember.

                It’s why two extensively-plotted series are currently battling for attention in my mind, with others lurking in the background. I’m working on a comic book for one of them, for heaven’s sake. [And since starting to write this blog post, Series #3 has landed back on the table. *sigh*] [And since adding that line, Series #3 has completely crowded out the others and soared into awesomeness.]

                To put it mildly, readers, I am not often the writer who has trouble finding ideas.

                But if you are… Or even if you’re just wiped after National Novel Writing Month, but still want to keep writing every day (this is where I’m at, but I understand that some might need time to recover. ;) ) here are some things I’ve found helpful for reenergizing.


                Put your music on shuffle. All of it. Think about your stories and character as you listen, and when your mind snags on a lyric, see if the rest of the song relates to your book as well. Add it to a playlist for your novel, and go back to listen to it whenever you need to find the story again. Lots of authors do this, and it’s interesting to see what inspired them. Even if you’re the kind of person who needs quiet to write, that doesn’t need to stop you from listening to your story playlist at other times.

                Also, movie soundtracks and instrumentals are lovely.


                Certain books exist in this world, that catch our minds on fire.

                You read them, and get the warm fuzzies inside at the thought that you are a writer. You could write things like that someday. Scott Westerfeld’s books do this to me all the time. I finally read Divergent by Veronica Roth this weekend (and passed it on to friends; the infiltration of my school has begun. >:) ) and l finally understand why I’ve heard so much about it. I also read Bloodhound, by Tamora Pierce, during NaNoWriMo. The feel of the book, the language, the ‘dog’ terminology, and even the journal-style format all kept me thinking about my NaNo novel, which was sort of my plan to begin with.

                There are also books that make you think “I could do better than this.”

                When those books come along? Do better.


                I don’t claim to be a serious artist. It’s a hobby, it’s fun, and it can really help me finalize ideas about a story – about scenes I’m picturing, the world my characters inhabit, the look of the characters themselves… I’m good enough to impress some classmates who watch me doodle over my shoulder, but I’m not as good as I’d like to be.
(click pics to embiggen)
                This was my ‘cover’ for this year’s NaNo Novel:

                And this page will be part of the aforementioned comic book: a short little thing depicting some events that take place before Book 1 in the series.

                I would post the actual cover, but it’s taking forever to color/shade etc. Obviously, things like this take up time I could’ve spent writing. But like I said, doodling things from my stories helps me finalize ideas. What do I think about the whole time I’m working on something like this? The characters. The story.

                And if you feel like even stick figures can be a stretch for you, why not look around on some photo-sharing websites, or magazines? Start gathering pictures that scream the title of your story, whether that means artistic shots of people who resemble your main characters, or a random pic of spider webs that find their way into your setting.

                Sometimes having something to look at is all the nudge you need to get excited about a project all over again.

                How do you revive your writing? What music or books have inspired you? And do any experts want to help me research some things? ;)

1 comment:

  1. Oh, is Bloodhound finally out? Must be sure to get my hands on that soon!

    This is where my mind has been since I finished my NaNo novel. I've been dreaming, plotting, reading, and listening to music. And a whole new story is creating itself. I don't do the art bit much, but I definitely want to try, now! :D