Well, this is a fun idea that I’ve seen some bloggers doing. You are provided with a section of text, and try to make something new out of it by whiting out sections of it. I’ve added my… result, below. Click the link beneath to see the original text. Try it out!
Source: Whiteout Wednesdays #8
Is it possible to run out of thoughts? Or are they in infinite supply?
I think you could only run out of thoughts or ideas, if you stopped having new experiences. Every idea is a recombination of things you’ve already seen and heard, or some conclusion reached based on those experiences.
So, if you find yourself running out of ideas, read something new. Watch something new. Go out and do something new. Go someplace new. Then stir those new ingredients up into the soup of ideas in your head and see what floats up.
Don’t let your ideas be strangled to death by the monotony of work and daily life.
Keep experiencing new things, even if they are only in imagination!
Have a goal, a simple achievable one. Not simple as in easy, but simple as in not complex.
‘Write a novel’ is simple (not easy.)
‘Write 3000 words per week, or two chapters, every other week poetry counts as x2 word count, weekends don’t count, and each story submitted counts as an extra thousand words toward the goal’ or some such nonsense, is over complicated and confusing (though not necessarily hard.)
Once you have your simple goal, make a plan to achieve it.
What does writing a novel take? Come up with a simple, straightforward plan to reach your goal.
“If I write x words per day, my novel will be complete in x months.” Are both of these x’s acceptable to you? Can you write x words every day? Can you bear to wait x months? Once they are, bam, you’re on your way.
Once you’re on that path, each day will move you closer to your goal. All you have to do is start! (I know that’s not ALL you have to do, I’m being encouraging!)
I’m about 3/4 done with Cloud Atlas and am starting to see the design of it. And it’s really great. At first I thought that the first three, maybe even four narratives had no relevance to the final two, where the action and interest really kicked off. But now, as I begin to see how they relate to each other, I’m thinking in the bigger picture they may make sense together after all.
I’m wondering how the heck this was ever made into a movie, and losing interest in seeing whatever hatchet job they undoubtedly made of it with every chapter I read.
Movies are becoming a storytelling device of the past, I think. They are short stories, flash fiction. Long-form television is the only way to properly tell a story with the depth of a decent novel–and is definitely needed for something with the narrative creativity of Cloud Atlas.
If you do check it out, have patience! Each part is more interesting than the last…
I am nearing the end of Cloud Atlas, and the current viewpoint character has a very foreign (to me) dialect. The character is Hawaiian, but in a far future ‘we forgot technology’ situation. Perhaps some of this way of speaking is familiar to Hawaiians, but it’s not to me. And this is not just dialogue, but the narrator. The text is quite dense with unfamiliar idioms and phrases. Yet, I have hardly any difficulty understanding it.
Brains are good at figuring out contextual clues and filling in the gaps. I only had to think for about two seconds that ‘cog’ was ‘understand’ and that ‘beutsome’ was ‘beautiful’ and ‘hushly’ was ‘quiet’, and so on. This is just one of an endless stream of reasons that you don’t need to do so much telling in your stories. Readers aren’t dumb. They will figure it out just fine. I didn’t need someone providing definitions, I just figured it out based on the context of what was happening. I could imagine a lesser writer feeling the need to insert a ‘fish out of water’ character to go ‘huh? what?’ at every new word so it could be explained to them.
This is the bane of many TV shows. Just pay attention next time you watch Law and Order, or some other basic cable TV show. One cop will say ‘The victim has deep lacerations on the abdomen.’ Then a second later, another one will say ‘He slashed her belly,’ to explain it to the supposed dummies who don’t know what a laceration or abdomen is. It happens every time anyone uses a word with more than two syllables. Pay attention, and you’ll notice it, though you might not be as irritated by it as me…
Anyway, all that is to say that over-explaining–or really, any explaining when you can avoid it–is not good for your story!
I’ve decided to make one to host all my unpublished stories. They’re just sitting there, on my hard drive, dozens of them, a few of them even decent reads! Why not put them somewhere readily available?
So, in the near future there will be a fancy new website for folks to click on and see fictional things by me.
I have broken my streak of donothingness and submitted a story to Clarkesworld magazine!
This is mostly a symbolic gesture, as I am well aware that the story is not of Clarkesworld caliber, but I wanted to get my feet back in the water and do SOMETHING. And since Clarkesworld has the fastest response time (around 3 days usually) that’s the one I went with.
Once it’s rejected, I may think about putting it up here somewhere. My blog might need a bit of reformatting in order to be able to host stories better. I’ve got a lot of them which, if not amazing, area at least readable! Someone should read them!
Look forward to that, if you are interested…