I'm not one of those writers who has so many ideas clamoring around inside my head that they're warring with each other to get out. Mostly I work with one idea at a time. It stews around in my head for weeks or months. Even a year. If I'm still interested as time passes, I'll write down the premise. Sometimes I'll jot notes to add to it. Describe characters I have in mind. Maybe even draft a rough outline. I'm not always that ordered and organized, though. Sometimes I use pieces of paper to jot an idea down then stuff it in my purse. They might linger at the bottom for quite some time before seeing the light of day.
Clearly I'm not someone who can take any idea and run with it. If a writing problem stumps me, I tend to wait it out rather than moving on to something else. So when something happens to spark a resolution to a plot or setting problem, my excitement for the project is revitalized.
My current project involves paranormal aspects of a well known nineteenth century work. I've always been fascinated with the Victorian era, but I didn't want to write straight historical. I'm not a historian or much of a researcher. I was having difficulty in ironing out some of the details. The last thing I wanted to do was rewrite an already perfect story, even if it was from a different character's POV.
Then finally, one of those evasive resolutions presented itself! During a scheduled #SpecFicChat on Twitter, I realized how I could resolve some of those concerns. You just never know where an idea is going to come from!
I had never read something I considered steampunk but had a sort of vague idea of what it was. Turns out that steampunk is closely related to the Victorian era. It could be past, present, future or alternate reality/history. There are no hard and fast rules, but the premise is that steam powered technology (with all the cogs, brass and gadgets, not to mention the cool clothing they wear) is used for what might be considered modern technology. Imagine a computer powered by steam being used by a Victorian gentlewoman!
All of a sudden, through the 140 character posts floating around, I'm provided with ways my characters can travel through past and future: just by adding aspects of steampunk. I'm going to use both fictional characters and real life historical figures, because steampunk is so wide and varied, with so many offshoots, that just about anything goes.
|This work attributed to Eugene Ivanov from Wikimedia Commons|
I found a steampunk blog called Steamed that was very helpful if you'd like more information.
My writerly resolution to a problem came through Twitter during a scheduled monthly Twitter chat. Woo Hoo!
Where do you get your ideas and resolutions from?
Do you stew or move on?
Do you stew or move on?
My readerly self gets a LOT of fun from Steampunk. I love that it is feeding your writerly self, and look forward to the result.ReplyDelete
Isn't it fun, EC?Delete
Awesome that the chat helped inspire you. :) I get inspired from so many things. And usually my ideas stew for a while in my head too only because they have to line up in a queue to get written!ReplyDelete
You make them wait in a line, huh? LOL. That's too funny, Christine. So interesting how we each have our own system.Delete
Sounds awesome, Gwen! Like Christine, my ideas wait in a queue. I have too many ideas, which isn't always a good thing.ReplyDelete
Haha, I just find that so funny that your ideas have to wait in a line.Delete
I admit I didn't really understand what steampunk was until just recently. Then it was like a light bulb went off and I thought it was so cool! Your story sounds excellent and I know it will be a good read. :)ReplyDelete
I'm often behind the times on everything, Julie!Delete
Cool! I'm glad we sparked your imagination. Mine was definitely sparked too. It was an excellent chat. Can't wait to read your story!ReplyDelete
The #SpecFicChat was definitely a good idea, Mary.Delete
I have to now look up Steampunk. I'd never heard of it, cloistered away from grand new ideas in my little cat world.ReplyDelete
Do look it up. It's really fun and there are so many possibilities.Delete
Sometimes I get too many ideas at once to work devotedly to any one, so then I jot them all down and work on the one that seems to grab me the most. The others either get chosen at a future date, or get lost on my bulletin board. When I have a problem in my writing, I think about it a lot. It's usually when I quit thinking about it and am doing something completely different that the solution dawns on me. Going for a walk often helps. :-)ReplyDelete
Yeah, sometimes it's when you finally let something go that the answer will come. Happens to me all the time.Delete
'Streamed' is a great blog ... can't recommend it highly enough. :)ReplyDelete
Sounds like you've been there before. I really enjoyed it, too. I'll be going back again.Delete
I love the look and sound of Steampunk, but haven't really read it, either.ReplyDelete
Play off the Page
It's really kind of fun, Mary. You should try it.Delete
I have to let my ideas stew around in my head for a long time before I can start a story. I'll jot down notes as they occur to me over time, until I get so many pages I decide I must be on to something. Then I'll start writing. Glad you found your answer on SpecFicChat.ReplyDelete
So we're similar in our process, Ken. We must be on to something.Delete
My documents on my computer is full of shiny new ideas. Some more developed than others. I can only really work on one project at a time, and if I move away from a project for too long I have a hard time continuing the writing. So cool you found a resolution in such a short post. Things always pop up just when we need them.ReplyDelete
Things do tend to pop up when you need them, Donna. So don't stress, right?Delete
When I don't know what happens next in my story, I often wait until the solution appears, just like you, Gwen. I play with the possibilities, always asking myself: what happens next? More often than not, my solutions don't come from real life but from books of other writers or TV shows. I'd take something from a modern NYPD procedural and turn it into something happening in a fantasy medieval world, with magic instead of science. I like turning stories on their heads and relocating them to different times and situations.ReplyDelete
Olga, sometimes the answers come during that twilight time (zone? LOL) between waking and sleep. It's cool when that happens.Delete
Gwen, I am surprised you have decided do delve into a new genre. Good luck to you, I love steam punk!ReplyDelete
Yes, I'm very excited about it Carolyn. Still want to write YA, too, though. I want to do it all!Delete
I do get a lot of ideas from what NASA is doing...though I tend to skew towards Victorian era writing.ReplyDelete
Raquel, I do like Victorian mysteries so often I lean that way.Delete
My brain is all over the place. I need some of your focus.ReplyDelete
A to Z Challenge Co-host
Tossing It Out
Ha! I think I could be more focused. But at least one idea at a time keeps me in line.Delete