September 25, 2009

Fat-Less Friday & Plot Ideas


For my Fat-Less Friday, I am announcing another loss! Woohoo! I stepped on the scales and held my breath. The lady at the computer stared intently at the screen and, after a long wait, looked up at me and smiled. I sighed in relief and eagerly looked at the sticker she stuck into my book. I lost 2.2 lbs, which gives me a total of 8.2 lbs.

I am well pleased.

My writing status:

I've been musing over ideas for my next ms and while I have a few ideas, I haven't really dug deep and fleshed anything out yet. I started taking my book Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell to work and reading it during my lunch break. Can I just say, "WoW"?

Chapter 3 has really hit home with me as it delves into how to gather up plot ideas. He has a Top 20 list of ways to get plot ideas that just held me enthralled! I can't wait to try a few of these. Here are just a few:

  1. Flip a genre. An example of this would be The Wild Wild West. It is just James Bond set in the Old West.

  2. Obsessions. You know, money, looks, ego, etc. Ahab obsessed about a whale in Moby Dick. Create a character, given them an obsession and see where they run.

  3. Titles. Create a great title, then write a story to go with it.

  4. Steal from the best. Yep, you read right. Bell says even Shakespeare took other's plots and weaved his own magic into them. We've all seen movies with similar plots. Take a plot and ramp it up, make it new, let it sing!

Bell had so many great ideas for generating great and interesting plots. Now I just need to sit my backside in the chair and let my mind go roam wild and free. I've definitely got to let some things go. Hhhmmm. TV and the new shows coming on are very tempting, and oh, the books in the pile of my bed are calling! I've got to learn to let things go.

So how do you writers brainstorm ideas? Do ideas come to you in your normal, everyday life? Or do you sit yourself down and get down to business?

What things to do let go in order to write? Is it painful?


14 comments:

  1. I like those ideas too!
    I do like to take a plot that I already love, usually a well-known romance type plot (secret baby, revenge, marriage of convenience, etc) and then try to add some type of unique hook. LOL NOt sure I've succeeded, but it's definitely fun. I hope you enjoy your new phase of starting a book!

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  2. You've got a new blog look today?! Cute!

    And I love Bell's plot ideas too! He has an awesome list. I often get ideas as I research and read through history books.

    And yes, there are SO many distractions! Hope you're able to find a way to carve out time!

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  3. Congrats on the weight loss! How are you doing it?

    I'm going to check out that plotting book. Sounds like a goodie. But yes, sometimes plotting can be quite painful. LOL!

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  4. Super congrats on the weight loss!

    It's hard to come up with ideas. I've been trying to come up with the perfect one for weeks/months now. I started a new project this week and it is a super touchy subject...even for me as the writer. But they say write what you know...and I definitely know this story!

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  5. That is so cool about the weight loss, you go girl :)

    Ideas just find me... I don't know how to explain that. It's like a book is floating around out there and it chooses me to write it. I don't know where the story is heading or what it's all about for quite some time, but I like the adventure :)

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  6. Happy Friday! Keep up your happy dance- congratulations on the weight loss! My husband lost sixty five pounds this year and it makes me so happy to see him happy.

    That book has been on my list of "Must Reads." I plan to rush out and get it very soon. Funny you are talking about plot ideas. I started one in my dreams last night, all I have are two characters though. I will jot it on a index card and tuck it away. One MS at a time for me!

    Blessings to you...

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  7. Great ideas all ready! Mine tend to come to me in spurts, when I least expect them. If I try to force them, I'm almost always dissapointed. Happy plotting and writing, Sherrinda!

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  8. 1st: yeah on the weight loss! I've been side tracked and need to get disciplined - thanks for being encouraging :)

    2nd: I'm not usually at a loss for ideas (right now). In fact, I get frustrated because I'm still working on one novel while three other ideas swim around in my head. I can't wait to start tapping into those :)

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  9. So excited for your successful and consistant weight loss. Proud of you!!!

    It seems a lot of my ideas come when I am finally on a vacation to the Colorado mountains--perhaps relaxation is the key. I remember even cutting out a historical write up about one of Lake City, Colorado's more colorful pioneers and thinking "this is a great story". Now if I can only find that article. . .

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  10. Congrats on the weight loss. I'm doing Jillian Michaels' Making the Cut. It's for toning more than losing weight. In the first week, I actually lost INCHES and three pounds.

    For me, ideas are all over the place, but not necessarily when I need them. LOL

    Lynnette Labelle
    http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

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  11. Congrats on the weight loss :)

    As for ideas, sometimes I peruse newspapers and try to gather ideas from odd stories that way, but on other occasions, the ideas just come to me. It usually starts with a character first, and I start asking questions... and build on it that way.

    Lately I've tried mind-mapping to generate ideas, based on a technique from Holly Lisle's 'How to Think Sideways' course, and so far it's been really interesting! It's basically mining the subconscious for gold, I mean ideas. It's random, but a great way to generate ideas on short notice. But the best ideas come, I've noticed, when I'm not really looking for them. Those ones are the most interesting :)

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  12. I'm a big fan of that book, AND that particular chapter. My third book in the current series I'm writing revolves around obsession, and I got that straight from good ol' James. :)

    Enjoy letting your mind percolate!

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  13. Congratulations on the weight loss, Sherrinda! That's awesome!

    I like getting ideas from movies. Good luck getting rid of distractions. I'm so easily distracted. I found myself watching Dancing with the Stars the other night with commercials. I never do that. If I like a show, I at least PVR it and skip commercials to save on time.

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  14. Jessica, it seems like I heard somewhere there were only about 20 original plots and everyone just makes them their own. Interesting, isn't it?

    Jody, I got the idea for my book while researching medieval times. I think it is a great way to get ideas for historical novels.

    Jennifer, I've heard wonderful things about James Scott Bell and so far, he hasn't disappointed me yet!

    Marybeth, good for you in writing something rather difficult and yet that which is a part of you. I've been thinking along those lines myself and wondering if I have the gumption to do it! :)

    Tabitha, I love that ideas chase you down! What a beautiful thing! Adventure is definitely a good thing!

    Tamika, that is great about yor husband's weight loss! That is so encouraging. I would love to get plot ideas in my dreams. How awesome that would be!

    Eileen, so you let your ideas come to you instead of having times of brainstorming! That would be so nice. Maybe someday I will get there!

    Karin, I love to hear of writers who have lots of ideas running around in their heads! It is so exciting to me to think of all the books in people's heads, just waiting to hop on the shelves.

    Ava, I think being on vacations and being able to clear ourselves from the hustle and bustle of life allows our creativity to flow. I so long for some time like that! Things seem to crowd out all the peace and solitude I need to let my mind go and soar!

    Katie, I knew you like Bell! And it is good to hear you have found success in his ideas. I can't wait to hear the good things that are going to happen with you!

    Heather, I wish I had Tivo. I don't even have cable, which is probably a good thing, given my love for TV at certain times of the year.

    Thanks everyone for all your nice comments! I love the encouragement!



    Lynnette, you are the second person this week who has mention Jillian's workout! I wonder if it is a sign for me to attempt it! Losing inches in a week! That is insanely amazing!

    Faith, mind mapping sounds amazing! I've heard of it, but I have never tried it. I may have to check out that technique!

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