Wednesday 18 January 2023

What I Do to Write Fiction When I Have No Ideas

My desk buddy, Marvin The Martian
Last year I told you that I'd downloaded a copy of the eBook, Writing into the Dark: How to Write a Novel without an Outline, by Dean Wesley Smith.

It's an absolutely fascinating book about how to start writing a story with nothing but a character and a situation/setting. So for instance, a female ballet dancer at a truck stop, or a recovering alcoholic standing outside a bar wondering whether or not to go in.

And when you've got your character and setting, you just start writing without any idea where the story is going.

I had to read the book twice before I gave it a try because it seemed insane, but I figured if such a prolific writer as Dean Wesley Smith could do it thousands of times AND earn a lot of money from it, why not give it a go.

But it wasn't easy because I'm an avid outliner when it comes to writing. I can easily spend a couple of days writing nothing but my outline before I even begin writing a book.

So I decided to start small with a short story.

And it worked.

I tried it again only this time I went online to a random word generator page, got my 3 words, and started writing.

And I have to admit it was quite a blast. I was writing with no idea where I was going, but I did have to pause once or twice to try and think.

Since then I've done it several times and each time it gets easier, probably because it doesn't feel as scary the second, third, or fourth time.

I'm also quite surprised at how creative I am and how quickly ideas can actually come to me.

And funnily enough, all this writing short fiction into the dark, is what I do in the evening. For some reason, even though I'd swear I'm a morning person and it's when I do most of my writing, the evenings seem to be for fiction writing, which is another thing that surprised me.

I still don't think I could write a whole novel this way because my short stories have to be done in just one or two sittings. After that, my ideas start to fade.

It's probably why I prefer writing outlines for my books because once all my ideas are captured in my extensive outline, I can relax and write, knowing that nothing will be left out, and even as I write, more ideas keep coming to me.

If you haven't tried writing short stories "into the dark" give it a try.

You don't have to show your work to anyone else. It's just some fun writing for you to do.

I find it's a great way to start writing even if I don't have anything to write. I just get my 3 words and start writing. It means that I can write anywhere, anytime. All I need is a notebook and pen/pencil (I prefer to write by hand, me and Stephen King both I discovered), 3 random words, and I can write for hours.

I bet next time I have to take a long train ride into the city (which usually takes over an hour) I can write a brilliant short story during the journey there and back, even if I don't have a clue what I'm going to write before I get on the train.

What I'm going to do with the stories I've written so far I have no idea. But if I find a freelance market looking for a story like one of mine, I'll submit it. I may also collate them into a book of short stories.

Who know?

For now though I'm going to keep on writing, because that's the most import part of being a writer.

And being able to write into the dark anytime I want to, is a game changer.

NOTE: The photo above is of my little desk buddy, Marvin the Martian, who I complain to when I'm struggling to write, or who I smile at when I'm inspired to write and getting loads done. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share Your Comments