Tag Archives: creative

IDEAS by S.M. Senden

People often ask where I get my ideas.

I can’t say that there is one well from which I draw when it comes to ideas.  There are many places inspiration can come from; most of them have some relationship with one another but none is exclusive.  Here are a few of my best sources.

Read.  The more you read, the more you learn, and the more you come up with questions that send you onto something else to read.

Research. The more I read, and research, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I want to know.  So many times in my research I find a nugget of truth to build a story upon.  I love to read old newspaper articles.  Not only do they provide ideas, but also a wealth of information about an era or place.

Play the ‘What If’ game.  This was a game someone told me about years ago when I was beginning to write. You begin with an idea.  I will use one that I recently read about. A family has been living in an older house, built somewhere around 1900.  One day one person got curious about the grate in the hall by the entrance.  It looked like it would be a vent to the HVAC, however they did not have central air.  Removing the grate revealed a deep, dark place below the floor.  One of the family members went down there and discovered an abandoned sanctuary with a large cross on the floor.

Now ~ here is where the ‘What If’ game gets fun.  What if there was a hidden treasure down there?  What if there was a catacomb of bones down there, or tunnels that lead to more secret chambers?  What if they entered an alternate reality, universe or era?  What if they discovered a body?

The ‘What If’ game takes your imagination for a long journey that is rarely dull.  It also can provide for a number of good story lines.

Dream.  Sometimes when I am working through a story I will set it into my mind to look for a solution as I sleep and dream.  Often dreams will provide answers.  More often a good nights rest will allow the ideas to come through as if they had been there all along.  Rarely do nightmares provide a story line, but it has happened.

Have No Fear of looking like a geek.  Arm yourself with paper, and a writing implement that works, so you can scribble down the stray thought that had been elusive and comes when you are thinking or doing something other than writing.  Sometimes a conversation will bring that key phrase or idea sought after for a character, situation or event.  Scribble down the idea, but be sure you can read your writing later on!

There are many more I could list, but these are some of the best ones.  Feel free to employ any of these ideas and methods.  Happy Writing!

Author of Clara’s Wish and soon to be released ~ Lethal Boundaries.

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Diversity Among Colleagues

[A few months ago several Second Wind authors were having an open discussion in which their inner anxieties about literary unworthiness were being expressed.  To be sure, Alfred Adler was correct when he said, “To be human is to feel inferior.”  So we all feel inferior and we’re all imperfect, but the fine writers who make the unique college of Second Wind Publishing authors have nothing to be ashamed of.  In part to encourage and in part because of the heartburn I feel toward the traditional publishing establishment, I replied to the authors.  Today I’d like to share these thoughts here on our blog.]

It’s just not that hard to believe in good writers who have produced good stories that are well told.  I would not expect this extremely individualistic group of authors to agree on the process of writing, the end goals of writing, how to edit what is written or anything else about our “art and sullen craft” (wasn’t it Milton who called it that?).  The truth is that everyone at 2nd Wind does have a few things in common: 1) an inexplicable need to write (that separates us from 95% of the population); 2) the ability to  produce a coherent novel length, consistent, literate story (that separates us from about 90% of the 5%); 3) each of the novels you all have written is engaging–drawing the reader in to the world you have created (that slices the remaining 10% of 5% by another 50%); and finally 4) a willingness to trust a total stranger you met online with your most precious internal creative art (that whittles it down to about two dozen people out of the rest of the human race).

But among these two-dozen writers, the differences are astounding.  No two of the romance authors even have the same style (not even the two who are sisters).  No two of the crime/mystery writers have remotely similar interests.  There is no common thread among our mainstream novelists except that they have extremely readable, distinctive voices that people need to hear.

I would encourage everyone, as you participate in this list serve, to share your thoughts and to share what works in literature, in promotion and in the creative process, knowing that what is helpful for me might not be helpful for another.  The worlds being created by our romance authors are not necessarily accessible to the people who have not written a worthy romance.  My point is, the writing being done by each of the writers in this loose association is unique according to genre and individual voice.

That sounds trite until you ask yourself this: what is the plot of the Hollywood movie.  I say “the” rather than “a” for this reason.  The next time you see a big budget Hollywood movie, the plot will be as follows: an engaging, attractive hero/heroine will become caught up in a worthy effort to change/protect/ restore/create something against great odds; after some initial discouraging resistance, our hero will make progress to a degree and encounter an attractive person of the opposite sex with whom he/she will have a problematic relationship; just when it seems our hero is about to succeed, there will be additional complications and, at just about 90 minutes into the movie, our plucky hero will at last accomplish his/her goal!  Is it any wonder people aren’t wowwed by Hollywood anymore?  Well, the publishing industry is in the process of doing the same damn thing to fiction novels.  One of my personal goals is to allow each writer published through 2nd Wind the opportunity to express his or her literary voice without editorial homogenization (which is not to say you won’t be challenged if I think something needs to be fixed!).

In the meantime, don’t expect your readers or even your colleagues to always get what you’re doing.  I don’t necessarily agree that great writers write alone.  Rather I think that great writers stand their ground when they have something original to say.  My job is to let you say it and to get people to read it.  –Mike

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NAME RECOGNITION

Claire Collins is the author of  ‘Fate and Destiny’ and ‘Images of Betrayal’

 

The other day, I was a patient waiting patiently for the nurse to call my name. I grabbed the magazine closest to me on the waiting room table and perused the pages. The publication was an interior decorating magazine aimed at people who have six figures to spare. Each of the rooms was decorated with an abundance of top-dollar items designed by well-known names and firms in their circles.

 

I have no idea who they were. 

 

Obviously, I am not in that circle. On one cream colored wall was a framed drawing in a childlike scratch of x’s and o’s. My thought? How sweet, the wealthy homeowners framed artwork created by their child or grandchild.

 

Nope. The artwork, which looked exactly like something one of my kids would have rendered at the age of three, was some kind of a big deal by some famous artist.

 

I can’t remember his name and it really isn’t important to me, however it does make me want to give the kids a pack of crayons and some poster board and see if I can’t get rich selling their scribbles as art since that seems to be all the latest rage.

 

Books are similar. People will buy any book written by an author they have heard of, even if the book itself isn’t any good. There are forums across the internet devoted to authors who have created one good book, and a lot of mediocre books. Readers rave about how many they have read and the plot points of each, and if anyone disagrees with the fanatical ravings, then they are immediately quartered and drawn by the other members of the group.

 

Now, I am off to go find an artists page and let the fanatics there know that if they insist on adorning their walls with a particular style of impressionist artwork, I can get them quality originals for a fraction of the price. All I have to do is build the name recognition.

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