Onward and Upward

Essential Writing Support

It’s a sunny day here in Luxembourg. The heatwave has eased, the rain has stopped, and it’s perfect weather for sitting out on the patio and pouring thoughts and words into my laptop.

I started looking through my Scrivener folder of “Unfinished Works“. More accurately, it should be called, “Started and Stalled“.

Some authors struggle to find ideas. I’m of the other type: story ideas constantly tumble through my mind, especially when I’m in the middle of redrafting a story. (I HATE redrafting.) So I type out a few notes in my “Unfinished Works” folder and get back to the task in hand.

(It also happens when I’m swimming, which is a terrible time to get an idea as my iPhone is not waterproof!)

Every now and again, I look through my Unfinisheds to see if there’s anything worth developing. It’s usually an unfulfilling task. I find sketches, first lines or paragraphs, or even whole chapters that lead nowhere I can follow – yet. Worse, I find the plots of movies and novels released AFTER I noted down the original idea. I really wish I had one of those author mind-reading gadgets!

But sometimes I strike gold! Today, I managed to fill out and reach a (to me) satisfying conclusion for two short stories. (Now I have to do the redrafting…) Major sci-fi authors have advice…

  • Golden era writer Isaac Asimov’s advice was to finish what you write, submit it, write another. He also advocated writing every day, whether you feel like it or not.
  • Ray Bradbury wrote a story every week on the basis that you can’t write fifty-two bad stories in a year. (Hmmm… not too sure about that applying to everyone!)
  • Stephen King promotes writing for four hours every day and reading for the same amount of time. (Not easy if you’re holding down a job with a commute…)

As for the authors without storyline-polluted brains, I do sympathize.

In FaceBook’s many writing-related groups, I often see posts from would-be authors asking for plot ideas or even character names. Without an overview of the story, this is impossible to provide as a character’s name should fit the:-

  1. historical period (and social class)
  2. culture (and age of the character in that culture as popularity changes)
  3. geographical location
  4. gender (usually)
  5. etc…

And (of course) it should match the tone of the story and hint at the character’s personality. Ariel “BuzzBrain” Starfighter is a different starship captain than Kurt Stone and in a different type of story.

Picasso said, “Good artists borrow. Great artists steal.” So steal an idea from a successful novel/movie/TV series and write it your own way. After all, the “Shades of Grey” series began as “Twilight” fan fiction, and “Fifty SHEDS of Grey” was a modestly-successful parody.


Back to redrafting… YAY!

Hmm… or maybe I’ll take my own advice for once? I’ll rework in my own way those stories copied in advance by other famous writers! Onward and upward!

Meanwhile, whatever you’re reading right now – ENJOY!


23 thoughts on “Onward and Upward

  1. lol – I wish I had your problem, but my brain is a serial monogamist. I can’t seem to start something new until I’ve finished the current story. Unless it’s not worth finishing. Every few years I take a look at the very first sci-fi story I ever began. It seemed compelling at the time, but I think I was enjoying the research more than the writing. One day I’ll find a way to resurrect it.
    Best of luck with your re-drafting. 🙂


    1. My “parallel thinking” has been a bane for years but… I now have a bank of “starts” and “concepts” to work on. As someone said, “For a writer, nothing is wasted”


  2. I am the same about ideas. And they have to be let in. I stalled my creativity over the past few months by deciding not to blog and that’s my ‘ideas diary’. I also have ideas in the bath or shower. Archimedes had a really BIG idea in the bath, didn’t he? There must be something in the water.


    1. I end up writing several stories at the same time. It’s stalled my publishing rate, but I should have a bunch of works hitting the shelves in quick succession!

      As life began in water, it seems only right that it should affect our inspirationary insights!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I couldn’t be persuaded to drink tea from a very tiny child, until the day ‘they’ forgot to add sugar. More than 60 years later if someone accidentally adds sugar to my tea, a mouthful makes me nauseous. 🙂


      2. My mother hated coffee.
        In later life, she moved into a Care Home as Alzheimer’s took away ever more of that wonderful person.
        A carer mentioned to me how much Mom loved coffee.
        Mum had forgotten that she hated coffee.
        I have no words.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sorry for the delay in response. I’m preoccupied with offline stuff right now. My response looks callous now. Forgive. For what it’s worth I do understand. Something similar happened. A family member developed memory loss. Prejudice (and pressure from others) obliged him/her not to like me but of course, that prejudice was all forgotten. We then developed a very good relationship. The various little things I was able to do were much appreciated. Memory loss strips away social conditioning. It’s ironic. Have a nice Christmas or whatever you celebrate.


      4. I’ve been snarled-up with Xmas preparations and trying to finish 2 inter-connected novels at once. NOT a recommended project.

        Your response doesn’t seem at all callous.

        Memories are such strange things – some we depend upon, but some we are better off without.

        I celebrate whatever involves good food, family gatherings, gift-giving-and-receiving!

        May 2020 bring you peace, happiness, and joy!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Thanks Andy. Hope Christmas and New Year were good ones for you. I’m impressed you have had the ‘problem’ of TWO novels to finish by Christmas. Hope you made it. I managed to finish a project in chaos management I started LAST New Year. Which was good as we had a visitor between Christmas and New Year. Last year was NOT a year for blogging. May 2020 bring you the same you wish for me. Keep in touch. 🙂


      6. Well, I have either an epic doorstop of a novel that switches between so many points of view it gets confusing, or two that run in overlapping time frames with some of the same characters in each. It makes sense (I hope) when read.

        I am also now working on the prequel that sets up a lot of the history, so that’s really three novels. But I can’t publish any until the trio are 100% consistent, sigh.

        Sounds like I need some chaos management in my office here 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      7. ‘Prequels and sequels’ all at once. Crikey. I recommend ‘chaos management’; I have found, as I peel back the layers of chaos, there is a ‘core chaos’ that started it all; not to say that I live in chaos like a hoarder does; my chaos has been very cunning; it is like a person or a ghost/persons or ghosts, in fact. A character in a novel that personifies chaos – that’s an idea I will have to use someday. I watched ‘Joker’ last night, with Joachim Phoenix. I found it absolutely terrifying – because it was so true. So modern and NOW. I cried in the end. Good luck.


      8. I haven’t seen Joker, yet. It’s on my list: a long “Must do” list
        The parallel writes were hard, but at least I could get consistency from the get-go and avoid those face-palm moments when I find I needed X to be the case in the beginning. I outlined and drafted sections of further sequels and do they need heavy tweaks!!


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.