Monday, December 5, 2011

What I Write in a Pinch

Last night at ten o'clock, I realized I hadn't written a blog post for today. Not only had I not written it, I hadn't even thought about what to write.

I haven't done that in a long time. So if this sort of rambles all over the place, you'll know why. Even at ten o'clock I didn't get to writing this right away. I'm thinking on the fly. The time is late. And I'm tired. So my words will get a brief proof before I place the post in the queue.

It's not really anything new. Thinking on the fly is pretty much what we do when we create a story.

It doesn't matter if you're a plotter or a pantser, whether your thoughts come out as bullet points on an outline or as your first draft.

The Original Idea comes first. For all of us. It doesn't always have to be the same thing. Original Idea can be a character, place, time of year or time of day, a setting, a premise, a what-if, an action, or absolutely anything.

We may not stick to it. We may change it as we go. Or we may switch it around. Or we may do countless other unspeakable things to our words before we're done with them and call it a story.

But somewhere in that story is our Original Idea.

It may not have grown up as you thought it would, but it's in there someplace. When you find it, dust it off a little, make it shine. Then send it out in the world to play.

After all, Original Idea is just that. It's part of you. You are the only one who could have written the story exactly as you did. You had help from critique partners, betas, editors. But you created the story based on your Original Idea.

Be proud of it. It won't let you down.

Happy Monday!

35 comments:

Joanne said...

I love that, that our Original Idea is a part of us. And my Number One motto is to Own It, which your post says to do today ... It's never a mistake.

Slamdunk said...

Yeah it took me awhile to realize that I had original ideas. Now, I just need to work on developing them and executing a plan--rather than just letting them float away.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That sounds like me - the core of the idea is there, but it will change thousands of times before I finish.
And you did good for not knowing what you were going to write!

Jan Morrison said...

I'm a firm believer in the original idea. I see it - it could be just a moment when I thought 'what if?' and then I work with that bit of an idea. Sometimes it is an image - I see a woman look at a man on the bus with tenderness and a story erupts, or something I overheard 'I loved being a rock walker - it supported my artist habit.' All the gold in the world isn't worth that original idea.

Linda G. said...

Great post. Procrastination obviously doesn't impede your original ideas. :)

L.G.Smith said...

Good for you for coming up with a great post on the fly. I would have gone to bed. :P

Linda Kage said...

I see you're still a genius, even when you have to write something in a pinch. Those original ideas really are special. I thin they're the sentimental part of the story, even if they're an awful rough draft.

Terry Odell said...

Great reminder. I was pondering whether or not I'd actually written 7 versions of the same book. But even if the themes are similar, the stories are different.


Terry
Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Well put, Carol! I've never thought of it that way.

Carol Kilgore said...

Joanne - Gotta own it!

Slamdunk - You can do it.

Alex - Mine always look different.

Jan - "Those looks" give me ideas every time.

Linda G - They just keep coming...

Stephen Tremp said...

So right. My original ideas are a part of me. Thanks as I needed that. Its actually encouraging. Great way to start out a Monday and a new week.

Rula Sinara said...

Great inspirational post for a Monday morning! Here's to starting the week off right :)

KarenG said...

Inspiring post! I like that phrase "original idea" simply because we're so fond of saying there are no original ideas. Yes, there are! The way I write my ideas is original so there :)

Carol Kilgore said...

L.G. - If it had been Saturday night, I would have gone to bed, too :)

Linda K - I think they are the heart of the story, too. It's the moment it takes us a book to capture.

Terry - I think most authors stick with similar themes. The stories are different, and the story theme may range all over the place, but the core theme underlying it all comes from the author's heart. Somebody calls this the author's theme. I think it's Vicki Hinze, but I'm not sure.

Elizabeth - I usually think of everything different from everyone else - LOL.

VR Barkowski said...

I agree. I don't think it's possible for a writer to ever know exactly where a story is going because the key element, the original idea in the first sentence is what give birth to the second sentence and the second to the third, etc.

Carol Kilgore said...

Stephen - Happy to encourage :)

Rula - And to inspire :)

Karen - I agree. Without original ideas we'd be without way too many things we love. Including a lot of wonderful books :)

VR - Even when I think I know, it's never exact. And it's often nothing at all what I expected.

Mason Canyon said...

For creating on the fly, you do a great job.

Mason
Thoughts in Progress

Carol Kilgore said...

Mason - Thanks :)

Arlee Bird said...

I write pretty much the same way. And I've done many a blog post in the same manner. Often the more off the cuff and rushed they are, the more reader response I get. There's something good to be said for spontaneous thinking.


Lee
Coping with adoption
Wrote By Rote

Carol Kilgore said...

Arlee - Often really good ideas just appear. I love when they do that. But I don't like to bump so close to the deadline for anything, even a blog post. When I started blogging, I wrote them all the morning they posted, but as I started getting busier, I've written them ahead of time. Doesn't usually take me longer, but I have more time to edit and then not think about them anymore.

LR said...

I love the original idea concept, Carol, and also lots of people's comments here.

Definitely, the original idea is a part of us. That's why it's nice when a story is praised, and why it hurts when it's criticized.

But we can only try our best and be real.

Ayda Recknagel said...

Hi Carol, great blog! I found you through other blogs I've started to follow, and I'm glad I did.

I love the Original Idea concept. I can go back to the stories I've written and immediately come up with the moment the idea came to me. It's the heart of every story.

I did the same thing this week, only I woke up Monday morning and realized I hadn't so much as thought about what I was going to post to my blog! Ack!

Talli Roland said...

Happy Monday. Or, er, Tuesday. I'm like that, too. I always change things a zillion times before settling on what I want.

Julie said...

I'm amazed that this was an "on the fly" post, I'm impressed! Great post, and I love thinking about sending our Original Idea out into the world to play. :)

Carol Kilgore said...

LR - So true. Our Original Idea makes our stories unique.

Ayda - Thanks for stopping in. The welcome mat is always out.

Talli - Same here.

Julie - Thanks, but very much on the fly.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Good for you on getting the blog post done - I would have spent a good hour just thinking "Oh, crap." You're right about remembering that Original Idea - I went back to it when I was doing my query letters.

Carol Kilgore said...

Elspeth - Excellent idea!

Southpaw said...

That's so true and I like the way you put it.

E.R. King said...

The original idea gets you writing. If you get lost, it's what makes it worth continuing until you find it again. Great thoughts!

McKenzie McCann said...

I call it the story's soul, but I understand exactly what you're saying. It's the foundation, and having a strong sense of the original idea is so essential to crafting a solid novel.

Carol Kilgore said...

Holly - Thanks.

Emily - Yes, that's it.

McKenzie - Absolutely!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I just love this idea that the writer is the only one who could have come up with the original Idea. It does take a village to bring that idea to its full potential, but the original idea is unique to the author. Very special.

Carol Kilgore said...

Cynthia - I also think this Original Idea is the one thing the writer needs to guard throughout the process. This is what makes the writer's work hers.

Theresa Milstein said...

What an inspirational post! Love the idea of the original idea.

Carol Kilgore said...

Thanks, Theresa :)