Over the past couple of months, I have have been doing some work on my novel-in-progress. I am determined to get a substantial amount of it written this summer, for I feel that if I don’t write it now, it shall never be done.
My sister is extremely excited for Camp NaNo, starting next month, so I hope that her motivation and influence will rub off on me. Which is not to say, of course, that I am not excited for NaNo, for I very much am, but rather, that I keep coming to a standstill with the actual writing and dialogue. It seems so dry and as soon as I write it, I despise it. The general ideas flow quite unrestrictedly, however. I think that is my favorite part of writing: reaching out for the ideas and images that float into my head, capturing them before they escape, and immortalizing them on paper. It is because my ideas are all the moments of action and excitement; but when it comes to the actual nitty-gritty details of writing the story down successively, all the in-between, boring, dry parts are unavoidable.
There is some hope of rescue, however. At the library, I discovered a gem of a book called “The Writer’s Idea Book” (what more tempting title could there be?) written by Jack Heffron. It is replete with over 800 prompts to help the writer recall his own experiences and feelings, and then weave them into the lives of his characters to give them greater depth. Brilliant, in my mind.
Here are a couple sample prompts:
“Write about a public gathering you attended in a place you visited. A baseball game or street fair, an outdoor concert or historical reenactment. Put yourself there by freewriting or clustering, allowing your mind to wander back. Write about the people you saw, the smells in the air…”
“Use the description above as a backdrop for fiction, writing at least one scene in which characters deal with some sort of conflict while attending the event….”
“Begin a scene with a line you’ve overheard someone say recently. It needn’t be a catchy or powerful line. Something mundane will work: “How much are these pants?” “If you’re good, I’ll let you pick out some candy at the counter,” “Is he ever on time for a meeting?” Begin there, and move forward, providing a completely different setting and context for the line.”