Tag Archives: ideas

A to Z Challenge Video Format

I’ve been thinking about how to do the A to Z Challenge with videos. How do I make the videos? I want them to be simple and easy to make. They won’t be very long, so I want to be able to make them quickly. There will be 26 videos in addition to my regular videos. So, how will I do them?

I’ll be doing 10 facts for each video. I’ll do them when I can, recording them in random places. But I need to do so many of them. Editing must be easy. I won’t be using anything fancy, just my title screen. No end screen, just a thanks.

But I think the most time consuming thing will be figuring out the topics and the 10 facts for each. I better get to work on it.

Any ideas for topics? They’ll all be science related, and I’ll be doing a video for each letter of the alphabet. If you like, give me some ideas in the comments below.

Using a Child’s Imagination for Writing Children’s Books

My daughter has a big imagination. Some of the things she comes up with are silly, crazy, or unbelievable. I already have an idea of hers that I’d like to develop into a children’s book about dinosaurs.

I sometimes think that adults make things overly complicated. When we think of ideas for a story, we make it more complex. But to think at a kid’s level, we need a kid’s mind to give us the best ideas.

I find that a lot of my daughter’s ideas are linked to reality. The things she thinks of are related to recent events, TV shows she’s watched, or topics she’s interested in. At the moment, she likes to play princess. But she’s also interested in driving recently. She loves making the turn signal sound now. Not particularly useful for a story, but she includes these little things in her play.

Tonight, we went to the playground, and the entire theme of her imaginary life was a princess going to McDonald’s for hamburgers and chicken nuggets. At home, she’s often a pony with a towel for a tail. She especially likes unicorns. And now, she’s got a pony flying around (My Little Pony) fighting with Anpanman.

I’ll have to keep notes of her ideas. Maybe someday I’ll write about them.

For those of you with children, do you have any funny stories about your kids’ ideas? Let me know in the comments below.

Crazy Cross-Genre Fiction

There are so many different genres in fiction, and so many mixed genre books, as well.  But has it all been done? What are some crazy cross-genre ideas that you have?

Here are some of my ideas

Inspirational zombie cowboy – An uplifting tale of a cowboy and his cows surviving the wild west zombie apocalypse.

Children’s steampunk thriller – Scare the crap out of kids with this nineteenth century sci-fi tale.

Romantic dinosaur space opera – Dinosaurs in space! Dinosaurs falling in love in space! What could be better?

Okay, it’s your turn. Give me some of the craziest ideas you have about mixing two or more genres, and give a brief description of it.

What to Do With YouTube

As you may know, I have a couple YouTube channels, one under my name, and one for family videos. I don’t have a lot of subscribers, and I don’t have a lot of views. In fact, I haven’t done much with them lately. So, what do I do with them?

Well, first of all, I don’t really have a focus for either of them. I think for my main channel, I was thinking I’d do some videos on books, and then I thought it’s not exactly exciting to have only that. I have several videos about Japan there, too. But I don’t want that to be the focus, either.

But then I watched S. R. Carrillo’s video on absentee guilt and channel expansion. It made me realise something. What I should be doing is having my YouTube channel basically reflect my blog. Do some videos about books and writing, but also do videos about living in Japan, dealing with immigration, and travel. Throw in some other miscellaneous stuff, and you have something that resembles this blog in a way. I will have various series, of course. One I plan to do is a video version of my Life in Japan series of blog posts. But also, I plan on showing interesting places I visit in Japan, and once we move to Canada, show interesting places in Canada. I will also do updates on my writing, and once I have an actual book for sale, do videos about that. In Canada, I also want to get a dashcam when we get a car. If there’s something interesting, maybe a video from that can go up (or on a new channel).

So, what do you think? Any suggestions?

Authors Answer 33 – The Writing Process

Books don’t just appear out of the author’s mind on paper. There has to be some way it goes from idea to published story. But it’s different for every author. What works for some, doesn’t work for others.

320px-Modern-ftn-pen-cursiveQuestion 33: Can you briefly describe your writing process?

Allen Tiffany

Not sure I have a process as such. I will say that I never feel like I have enough time to write, which is probably how we all feel. We have 4 kids, I have a demanding job (with a 2-hour commute), and I would like to exercise for at least an hour every day. Fortunately, I only sleep about 6 hours a night, so I can generally squeeze in a few hours of writing time between 10 and midnight, and on weekends between 6 and when the kids wakeup around 8.

I do think about my writing during my daily commute, so when I find time to write I can usually get started instantly.

And after the writing comes the editing…probably 80% of my “writing” time is editing. Though my grammar is usually solid, most of the editing time is cleaning up flow (clarity, echoes, rhythm, sentence structure that does not vary enough, etc.). I spend time obsessing about specific words and how they show my characters and their emotions. This, I think, is the key to creating unique characters.

So not sure I have a process so much as just squeezing in all the time I can find.

Eric Wood

It’s a bit like a connect the dots picture. My writing process is fairly uncomplicated. While I’m not faced with deadlines and due dates other than what I’ve scheduled myself for on my blog, I’m free to sit and write a story when I have time, which isn’t very often these days. My process starts with an idea and while I usually know how I’d like the story to end, I’m not usually sure how it will start until I start typing it. I gather some ideas that I’d like to incorporate into the story. Then, as I’m typing I create the story, connecting the dots until I’ve reached the conclusion. Also, most of my short stories were created by writing some names and objects on slips of paper, randomly choosing one of each and creating a story with them. I did win an online short story contest that way.

Gregory S. Close

1) Get an idea! Setting, character, plot device, snippet of dialogue, or any combination of the above.  The Idea typically comes when there is no easy way to write it down: at work, scuba diving, driving etc. Murphy and his Law, y’know.

2) Don’t Forget the idea!  I repeat said idea in my head over and over again until I can jot it down in my phone (so the note saves to the Cloud, which is very important – the Cloud is my friend).

3) Outline. Not a hard outline that creates walls to hem in the writing so much as to create a general geography for me to place the details.

4) Mull. Mulling the idea may take an hour, a week, or in some rare cases ten years or so.  Mulling involves having lots of conversations in my head between fictional people, and can essentially be a repeat of Steps 1 & 2 several times over.

5) Write/Edit/Write again.  I write what I can write for one day, and then edit that writing the next time I sit down to write, and continue writing.  It’s exciting to see the ideas take shape, and sometimes frustrating because they take shape slower typing than thinking.

Then there’s the post-writing phase, of course, which is also important – sending it off to the Editor, Layering, and a Final Read Through.  But that’s another post for another time!

Caren Rich

I start with an idea. Work out a basic, but brief, paragraph of the main idea. Then I flesh out my characters.  I go back to my paragraph and make a lengthy flow chart and plot out the major events (some of this will just be background and occurs off scene). I pick a starting point and start writing. When I finish, I go back reread it and decide if I like where the story begins or if I need to chunk some of it or add more scenes.  Then I edit until I can’t see straight.

D. T. Nova

It’s a lot easier when I can block out my perfectionism and just let the words flow. Revising later is a lot easier than being good to begin with, but I’ve got some instinct that doesn’t always understand that.

I write character profiles and information about technology to help ensure I don’t contradict myself on that, but I don’t make true written outlines. I plan things out in my head but I don’t always stick to my own plans.

Elizabeth Rhodes

I start with brainstorming, in a loose sense of the word.  I get the basic premise and main characters down, and most of that takes place in my head.  Then I write out a rough outline of each chapter.  Once I get to writing that outline is more of a guideline for me than a rule:  I’ll write what I want to write, let the story go in the direction it wants to, and I’ll refer to the outline if I get lost.  With Jasper I made a few edits after the rough draft was done, then made a new outline adding in scenes and chapters I felt were missing.  Then I started the process over again.  More rounds of editing later, here I am.

H. Anthe Davis

I sit in front of my computer and type!  Then when I’m not in front of my computer, I carry scratch-paper around so I can note down any ideas/edits that crop up.  Then when I’m back at the computer, I put those notes into my various informational and outline files (depending on what the ideas were for), and get back to typing!  And then I edit!

Seriously though, I don’t do anything very complex until I get to the editing phase.  I do at least one complete rewrite, which I call the Parallel Rewrite because it involves retyping the entire book from the original document to a clean one, tweaking and trimming it along the way.  For my third book, I also did a Thread Rewrite, where I separated the three intertwined stories into their own documents and went through them individually to make sure they were internally consistent, before braiding them back together again.  But really it’s all just sitting here and typing.

Jean Davis

My writing process consists of going out my daily life until an idea smacks me upside the head. As soon as I sit down at my computer, it then spews out onto the keyboard and I am obsessed with writing until either the story concludes or I run into a dead end. The dead ends go into a file to be tinkered with later. The completed stories get edited and submitted. It’s the same process for both novels and short stories. Either I’m manically writing or editing, or I’m in a lull where I’m contemplating the issues with those unfinished stories and waiting for that next trigger thought to hit me.

Linda G. Hill

Many times I start with a “what if” but I always always start with a character. Once I have someone to write about and a scenario for him or her to deal with, the story is out of my hands. Everyone deals with different situations differently. That’s life. Therefore, what I would do has nothing to do with it… that’s how I see the process. That is, for me, how it works.

Paul B. Spence

No. LOL. I think all the time about my writing. When I sit down to write, I put some good music on, then I usually write 500 to 5000 words at a time. I rewrite as I go along. I constantly read over my chapters to make sure I keep on target. I don’t outline, but I have a goal in mind. Getting there is the fun part.

Tracey Lynn Tobin

My writing process is really less a process and more a complete mess that would make many professional authors cry themselves to sleep at night. First, I usually come up with ideas as a result of my nerdy habits; I’ll be watching a movie or playing a video game and something will strike me and I’ll be suddenly overcome with a desire to write. Second, depending on whether or not my laptop is available, I’ll either start a new Scrivener file, or grab a blank notebook. And I’ll just start writing. Mostly I tend to start from the beginning and force myself through the story, but sometimes – if, say, the main idea in my head is for a scene that’s near the end – I’ll write scenes out of order as well.

While writing I rarely commit myself because I have a full-time day job and a family to be doing with, so sometimes I’ll write thousands of words in a few days, and sometimes it’ll take a month or more for me to slug my way through half a chapter.

Eventually I’ll manage to come up with something that is more or less complete, and then I’ll start the revisions and editing. I know many writers say you shouldn’t do both at once, but it’s what works for me. I’ll basically open a second new Scrivener file and re-type the entire thing, making the changes as I go. It seems like an enormous waste of time when I could just copy and paste the good bits, but for some reason it’s what works for me; retyping forces me to reread, which helps me get into the story enough to see where the issues are.

When that’s done I send it off to my beta reader, make a quick final round of revisions and edits based on her input, and then (theoretically), it’s done! Mind you, I’ve only gotten to this step once so far, so we can only assume that it’s how it’ll happen in the future as well.

S. R. Carrillo

It goes a little bit like:

bhfjkhsdjkfhsfgsdl fdshjks’ faFSFGSSffffffff**!!@~1oen
breathe breathe breathebreathebreathe wander breathe okay
Let’s at least brush this into a neat little pile now good
fjdjjjjjjjjjjjjj what about this makes sense NOTHINOMG
Ah stroke of genius!!!!!!!!!!!!e==* Guess I should outline now#####
Voila, work of art is born. Do it again on something else.
Hey can you tell me if this story full of disturbing shit moves you?

Jay Dee Archer

I don’t think my process is very consistent at the moment. I come up with an idea in many different ways. Ariadne started out as a map. My future solar system short story series started out as an idea to explore the solar system somehow.

Beyond that, I then go on to expanding the idea. I establish the main character and generally what’s going to happen. I tend to write notes about the story, usually noting down the main plot points, then expand from there.  I do a rough outline, but I don’t do a very detailed one. While I’m writing, the story often develops further. It sometimes goes in directions I didn’t anticipate. At different points of my writing, I do a little editing, mainly to keep the story consistent, and also to work a bit on my dialogue. The part I’m at in Journey to Ariadne is being rewritten, because I’m completely unsatisfied with the way that part was going. All through this, I have my story critiqued.

After writing, and I haven’t gotten to this point yet, I’d like to have an alpha reader go through it, then I’ll do some seemingly endless editing. Then when I think I’m ready for publication, have beta readers read it.

And that’s about it. I’ll be going the self-publishing route, and I’ll have to get someone to edit. That’s something to think about in the future.

How about you?

Are you an author? What’s your writing process like?

So Many Ideas, So Little Time

Are you the kind of person who is always thinking of new ideas?  I definitely am.  I have no fewer than twelve book ideas.  Of course, I’m not working on all of them.  All but one are sitting on my computer, my phone, or on paper collecting new ideas as I think of them.  They’re not just sitting there collecting dust.

But I get ideas for many things.  Take this blog, for example.  I had an idea for the Hugo and Nebula Awards which I need to get to work on.  I also have a new idea for geography (in the Knowledge section of this blog) that I’ll talk more about as I get it started.  But I really need to focus on Journey to Ariadne, if I can get the quiet time I need.  I can do many things while being interrupted by my family, but not writing a book.  I need absolute solitude and uninterrupted time for that.  Holidays are coming.  I may get a little time.

Are you an idea factory with incredible storage capacity, but issues with timely production?

Story Foundations

Like every house needs a strong foundation, so does a story.

But not like this foundation. This one isn’t finished.

When I have an idea, it begins to form a basis or a foundation for a story.  That foundation can be just one aspect of the story.  While a house should have concrete as a foundation, a story can be more varied.

My story ideas come from many different things.  For example, Ariadne started out with the setting.  I created the world first, then it started to become filled with stories and people. My most recent idea for the solar system short stories was founded on the concept.  The character and story came after.

A few months ago, I did an online writing course, and one of our tasks was to write a very short story based on a person in a picture.  I wrote a story about a young enlisted man in a space-based military who approaches a woman in a cafe who turns out to be his commanding officer out of uniform.  This actually got me thinking about a bigger story idea.

How do your story ideas form?  What’s the foundation?

Evolution of the Story While Writing

I had my entire plot planned out for Journey to Ariadne beforehand, and now I have to change things, but just a little.

I had a bit of inspiration earlier this week while washing dishes.  This inspiration made a lot of sense, and in fact, made my story much stronger.  It’ll only be hinted at in Journey to Ariadne, but it features strongly in the book after.  Not only that, it gives future books a greater sense of purpose.  I like this idea.

Of course, I’m not going to say what it is, and you’ll never know what this idea is, even after reading the books.  It’ll appear as if it were something that was originally thought of when developing the story. Nope, not at all.

Curious?  Well, I might tell you long after the books are done.

Anyone have the same thing happen?

I Get My Best Ideas Where?

I wish I could get my best ideas while I’m sitting at my computer ready to write.  But it rarely seems to happen that way.  I get my inspiration in places where I have less man-made stimulation, it seems.

My best ideas come in three places:

  1. The majority of my ideas come in the shower.  This is one place where I can’t do anything about the idea except just remember it.  I then write it down after my shower.  Maybe it’s because I feel the calmest at that time.
  2. Many of my ideas come while I’m outside walking.  I have nothing to write on!  If I’m on a long walk, I have the risk of forgetting my idea, unless I spent a significant amount of time developing it.  That happens often, though.  I get an idea and run it through my mind while I’m walking.  This is my ideal idea development time.
  3. The third is the most irritating, and probably very common for many people.  In bed before going to sleep.  I can rarely remember these ideas!  Why does this happen?  I wish I had some kind of notepad I could write on while I’m falling asleep, but my mind and body aren’t in any condition to respond that way.

Where do you get your best ideas?