Friday, February 27, 2009

THE WRITE WHISPER: A gem of an idea

One of the most common questions I'm asked as an author is 'where do you get your ideas?'

The answer?

Everywhere! A glance, a couple holding hands, a newspaper headline, a magazine article or often in that strange half-awake/half-asleep state where I scramble frantically for a pen and pad in the dark and scribble down that nebulous idea/opening line/title before it fades (I'm always scared I'll forget it by morning if I don't write it down!)

Right, so you have your idea.
Where do you start?

Last year, I wrote an article for Romance Writers of Australia's monthly journal on 'What Drives Your Story?'

The article revolved around plot driven stories versus character driven stories.
For me, I'd come up with an idea and immediately dive into the plot, imagining what my characters would do in such a scenario.
For others, the characters strut into their mind larger than life and a plot develops from there.

As writers, we all have tried and true ways of doing things. You'll know if you're a plot or character driven writer; it's what comes easiest to you. That is, after you come up with an idea, which do you find easier, coming up with a plot or the characters?

So what happens when we shake things up a little?

Next time you have a gem of an idea, try this:

If you're a plot driven writer, let your characters drive the story.

If you're a character driven writer, play around with the plot first.

You'll be amazed at how a fresh approach can inject a bit of 'oomph' into your writing.
And we're always learning, right?

Ideally, every story we write needs to be character driven.
We want to create believable, real, compelling characters that keep readers turning pages long into the night.
And that comes back to motivation, mentioned in an earlier post.

Whether you're a plot or character driven writer, motivation is what drives our characters, what keeps them believable, what makes them leap of the page and into the readers' hearts.

But in the early stages, when that new, nebulous idea has shimmered into your mind, play around, shake things up and see where your gem can take you.

That's my 'write whisper' for this week.

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