Coloring Outside the Lines

15 Feb

“I believe the act of writing is itself the muse.” Bret Anthony Johnston

Thanks to Cheryl Sease who presented another informative workshop at our IRN meeting today, I have some ideas to share with you.

The old stand-by is brain storming. This is an exercise you can do by yourself or with a group. One suggestion I have heard is to write down 20 ideas and then write down 20 more. By then you will have gone past the cliche’s and come up with something fresh. If you are doing it in a group you could just start with a prompt and have everyone brainstorm and share their ideas.

The next method was free writing. If you have never tried this, you should. Just turn off your editor and start writing whatever comes into your head. Some people suggest setting a timer and don’t stop until the time is up. No editing.Some writers say that you should do this with pen and paper rather than on your PC. Personally I would do whatever works for you.

One of my favorite books is ‘The Writer’s Book of Days’. It is packed full of writing information and a daily prompt. I have used the prompt for my current work in progress. I just direct my brainstorming toward how I can use that prompt for a scene in my story. If you have never thought of this, do give it a try. There are also websites where you can sign up for a daily prompt. Some will email it to you. That can be dangerous though. To meet my daily writing goals, it really is best if I avoid the internet. It can really suck me in. Before I know it, I need to head to bed and did not achieve my goal.  I have to watch my internet use and the time I spend watching T.V. I try to use that as a reward for meeting my goals and that may be another post for in the future.

How do you begin your projects? What do you do to get your ideas? Please feel free to comment and share and if you don’t mind I would love to highlight your ideas in a future post.

Next week I will have some more methods for kick starting your project.

If you live in the Des Moines Area and are interested in local writer’s groups. I belong to Iowa Romance Novelists, a local chapter of RWA. We meet monthly to critique and have a program about the business of writing. Feel free to contact me for more information. If you lean more toward mysteries, I also belong to SINC-IA, a local chapter of Sisters in Crime.

Until then, keep writing.




Posted by on February 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


6 responses to “Coloring Outside the Lines

  1. Barbara M

    February 16, 2014 at 8:58 am

    I’ve never had a problem coming up with ideas, its having too many ideas and narrowing them down to one. When I’m stuck in a story I’ll often work backwards going from where I want to end in small steps to where I am.
    Come spring I’m hoping to make it to more meetings.


    • virginiagruver

      February 16, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      Thanks for commenting. Are you a member of IRN or Sinc?


  2. virginiagruver

    February 15, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    I really enjoyed your program today Cheryl. You set the bar high for me next month but you also gave me some really good ideas. Looking forward to presenting.


  3. Cheryl Sease

    February 15, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    This is a great post, Virginia. Thanks for the mention, and thanks for more wonderful ideas. I’ll be looking for “The Writer’s Book of Days.” Isn’t it wonderful that there are so many ways to achieve the same end? Each writer can choose the brainstorming method that works best for them.


  4. Margot Kinberg

    February 15, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Virginia – I like the idea of just letting go, at least at first, and simply letting our creativity come out to play. The discipline of writing and the revising and so on can come (need to come) later, but if there’s nothing interesting to revise, the book’s going to be dull.


    • virginiagruver

      February 15, 2014 at 8:53 pm

      Thanks Margot. Sometimes just got to get it on the paper. Hope your writing is going well. I think this is going to be a wonderful year.



What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

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

Google+ photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: