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Clearing out those writerly sinuses


Lately, I haven’t been able to get excited about doing revision work on Waking up Jack Thunder or the rewrite of A Union of Snakes

This surprised me, because I rarely find myself uninspired. 

I decided the best thing I could do to unblock my writerly sinuses was to write something completely new, and that’s when I realized I haven’t started any new fiction this year, it’s all been rewriting or revision work on either the above novels or Fur-Face.

No wonder I was feeling stale.

Within an hour of recognizing my problem, I came up with half a dozen short story ideas. Of those six, I’ve picked one (tentatively) called ‘Hunted’, because I really like the opening line:

Nobody likes getting stabbed first thing in the morning.

Now I’m excited about writing again and my ancestors are no longer ashamed of me (with the possible exception of my old gran – but then, she was always hard to please).

How about you?

What do you do to get the old creative juices flowing?




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Comments

( 74 comments — Leave a comment )
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martyn44
Mar. 3rd, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC)
Keep on trying ideas until something works. Nothing is ever wasted and sometimes the imagining muscles just need a rest, or maybe a little formal exercise.
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:02 pm (UTC)
I don't often have unintentional breaks from writing but this latest stall crept up on me. Still, I know to watch out for it in the future.

All revision and no new fiction makes Jon a dull boy.

Hey, that's catchy! maybe I should use it in a horror story :)
(no subject) - martyn44 - Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:13 pm (UTC) - Expand
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nathreee
Mar. 3rd, 2010 12:59 pm (UTC)
Roleplay does it for me. First time I tried to make a story into a novel and I got stuck, I released a bad of five unsuspecting players into the premise of my story, to see what they would do and what they thought about it. It really opened my eyes.

Second time was when I got really stuck on a story with a lot of secrets and intrige. I got three players together and I gave them only the information their characters would know, just to see what they would or wouldn't say to each other. A great learning experience for me.

Third time was much the same, only even more helpful. I got stuck on the ending of my novel, knowing exactly what my characters would do, but not exactly how they would react at the reactions of others. So I had four people play it out for me. I loved every second of it. But I had really good players.
http://nathreee.livejournal.com/270034.html
http://nathreee.livejournal.com/270102.html
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:04 pm (UTC)
Interesting. Were any of these folks writers too?
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(no subject) - tracy_d74 - Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
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lunalila
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:12 pm (UTC)
Like you, I don't really get stalled in a normal way.
But my longer novels tend to agonize over time and I need a little sense of accomplishment. So, I write a picture books or short story just for the sake of finishing something.
And then on to my novels :)
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 04:49 pm (UTC)
'...just for the sake of finishing something.'

I know what you mean. When I've read about other people getting stuck, I usually suggest writing a 100-word drabble or two to get things going again.
(no subject) - asakiyume - Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
ex_naomi_ja
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC)
Problem in a similar way to you - try working on something different. One trick that usually works is to reread whatever I last wrote on the current WIP, which gets me back in that mindset.

And heck, sometimes you just have to sit and write, even if you're writing crap. You can revise anything but a blank page!
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 04:51 pm (UTC)
'You can revise anything but a blank page!'

Hehe, very true :)
tracy_d74
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:19 pm (UTC)
I had the same issue . . . not interested in revisions (which was a first). In the past listening to playlists helped or talking about scenes or talking about ideas with betas. This time, I had to start a new project.

BTW, I really like your opening line and title. Nice. Very Nice.
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 04:52 pm (UTC)
Thin Lizzy's Johnny the Fox usually gets my brain pumping :)
kmarkhoover
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:32 pm (UTC)
That's a great first line!

For me, researching a story is usually enough to get the juices flowing.
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Mark :)

I know some people don't like researching a story, but I'm with you. it's fun, and helps spark new ideas.
clarionj
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
Hahaha, I LOVE that first line.

And your post gave me my first morning smile. Just knowing so well that feeling of new creation. Enjoy the new work. Drink up that juice!

EDIT: Oh, your question ... to get my creative juices flowing when they aren't naturally, I pick up a book by an author who I know stimulates my imagination quickly--often a poem will do it. Or I come on LJ and hear other writers talking, like you are today, and something gets triggered, something wakes.

Edited at 2010-03-03 01:50 pm (UTC)
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
'Or I come on LJ and hear other writers talking'

I find reading other folks journals motivating too.
dferguson
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:50 pm (UTC)
Get drunk
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
Sadly, not an option :(
(Deleted comment)
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
That makes perfect sense. Even the treadmill has the same effect on me.

Thanks for sharing :)
out_totheblack
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:55 pm (UTC)
Great opening line.
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC)
One done a few hundred more to go :)
positive_pat
Mar. 3rd, 2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
Don't you hate when that happens. But at least you figured out why. :) Usually for me when this happens, I do either fan fic writing or use a picture or phrase prompt and write something short for it.

That usually wakes us the creative juices and gets them flowing again. :) If not, I take a long walk or do some inspiring reading.

Hugs
Pat

Edited at 2010-03-03 01:58 pm (UTC)
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC)
Walking definitely helps clear the mind.
xjenavivex
Mar. 3rd, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC)
Nice opening!
Yay for new fiction. I haven't been stuck for new ideas yet or because I haven't started any new ones yet. I still get stuck working within ideas. You've read about it recently.
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I have indeed - it's on my 'Picks of the week' list :)
(no subject) - xjenavivex - Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
bogwitch64
Mar. 3rd, 2010 02:14 pm (UTC)
One of the perks of being a serial novelist is that I'm accustomed to working on the same thing for long stretches of time. I've never gotten a taste for that 'quick writing fix' of short storying. In 13 years, I've written all of 2 full short stories, another one that clocks in around 1000 words, and four flash bits. And 26 novels.

So far, the creative juices flow consistently. Turning on my computer usually does the trick. ;)

Now old gran will curse my arrogance and I'll dry up like a grape in sunshine.
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC)
You're supposed to turn them on?

Dang! Nobody tells me nothing :(
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
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karen_w_newton
Mar. 3rd, 2010 02:40 pm (UTC)
I find that spending some time with my writing group friends talking about stories and story ideas tends to kick start things for me. Either that, or a long hot bath.
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:14 pm (UTC)
You must have a big bath (or a small writing group) :P
(no subject) - karen_w_newton - Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
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bondo_ba
Mar. 3rd, 2010 03:05 pm (UTC)
I generally need some kind of good news to get me going again - my times of low productivity seem to be linked to the "what's the point" feeling caused by too many rejections in a row...
jongibbs
Mar. 3rd, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
I guess the plus side of not writing much short fiction is you get less rejections.
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Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there


No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there















 











THE MEAGER PUDDLE OF LIMELIGHT AWARDS


Books by my writer friends - compressed

NJ Writing groups - compressed

NJ writing conference - compressed

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