Friday, January 29, 2016

Again at the middle school, while subbing today, I had another "aha" moment. It gave me an idea for one more element that will tie in with Ben's conflict. I love how ideas for writing come from so many different places in my life. Part of being a writer is being observant--of human nature, of what's going on with a horse, of what detail my piano student might be missing, of interesting words or conversations, of just everything. Another aspect of writing is being able to see how  these pieces-parts might be related and could work together to create a story with various sub-plots and conflicts. Perhaps I developed this ability through my love of jigsaw puzzles. Or perhaps that is why I have always enjoyed puzzles--because my mind likes to find connections. So it's always fun to see how a seemingly unrelated piece of life, like a sixth grade reading assignment, can play into my book idea!

During the past three months, I have been brainstorming ideas for my book. It was coming together, but two missing pieces stood in the way of progress--a title, and a name for the new character. Both of those pieces fell into place last week, so now I feel I can move ahead. As soon as I had the title, I had a better focus: a better beginning, a better ending, and new details that would tie things together nicely. I know some people create a title last, and can even begin writing before they know what's going to happen, but that doesn't work for me.

When I wrote the first book, I started writing at the beginning and wrote it straight through, stopping every time I got stuck. On the second book, I was pleased to discover that if I got stuck, I could just jump ahead in my outline and continue expanding it until that part shaped up, and later I could back to where I got stuck. I liked that strategy so well that I'm thinking I may not even start at the beginning this time. I have sketched out the story and am adding details to my outline as I think them up, anywhere I please. I will continue doing this until it rounds itself into a complete book. This strategy feels kind of "freeing" and less intimidating. I'm kind of excited to see how that works out!

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