Thursday, May 28, 2009

Inspiration is a weird thing

So, I went to see the new Star Trek movie this weekend, and it was freakin' awesome! But that's not what this is about. The theatre we went to is in this tiny little town that is literally one of those blink-and-you-missed-it places. It's about 30 minutes drive from my hometown and it's by far the coolest movie theatre you could ever go to. Look here for more info

See, this place is owned by a guy who wanted to work in the movie biz, but for some reason, never got the chance, so instead, he started collecting film memorabilia and eventually, turned part of his house (I'm guessing he added parts to it) to make 6 small theatre rooms. Each one is furnished from an old movie theatre (pre-1950's I think) One of them is themed like ancient Egypt. Very cool. But before you even get to the seats, there's a maze of displays with old costumes, huge old cameras, movie posters and just a huge assortment of cool movie memorabilia.

Now, I've been to this place tons of times since it was THE place to go when I was a kid. This time though, I was suddenly like "Wow, this would make a cool basis for a story!"

It's strange how it happens. I admit I sort of drift through my days with my head in the clouds and most of the time don't pay attention to anything (Unless it's the kids poking at me because I still haven't got them a drink) so I'm probably missing a lot of good little story ideas.

The inspiration for "Something Sweet" came from driving past a rusty old maple syrup bucket hanging from a tree. My mind went...bucket...sugar shack...maple syrup...kinky!  BTW, this story is releasing June 18th from Red Rose Publishing.

Anyway, my point (I did have one!) is that sometimes even the most familiar things can spark an idea, so keep your eyes open.  Now I have to go clean up the mess that ensues every morning after making the kids bento lunches...I love the idea, but it dirties tons of dishes and takes more time than throwing a few prepackaged snacks into a bag with a sandwich.

If anyone wants to share how something inspired a particular story, I'd love to hear it.
posted by Jennie Andrus at 1:27 pm 0 comments

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Moving Up... with Zombies

It's been a crazy few weeks. First, I've been finishing my next paranormal for Samhain, called INFERNO, which is the long-awaited sequel to LORDS OF THE WERE. It's the story of Dante d'Angleterre, the vampire, and his further adventures in New York with his friend, the fey knight, Duncan, and a lone werewolf who's been sent to spy on him. Lots of action in this book - both in the bedroom and out of it! ;-)

I've also been writing a new novella for Kensington's Brava line, about zombies. Yes, I said zombies. It's going to be in an anthology that will come out in January 2010. The other author in the anthology is the lovely and talented Zoe Archer.
I believe her story is an historical where the hero actually is a zombie. Should be very interesting! In my story, the hero is the special ops warrior they've called in to eradicate the zombies, so it's more in the contemporary/military vein. The heroine is a Navy doctor and the hero and heroine have a history. It's a story about lovers reuniting and fighting terrifying zombies along the way. LOL.

This is my first foray into the world of "New York" publishing. I'm absolutely delighted to be working with the fine folks at Kensington and look forward to doing more with them. So this little zombie story is really a big move upward for me -- one that I've been hoping to make for a while now. It feels really great!

And for some reason, JACI'S EXPERIMENT is already available in print on Amazon and in some other places. If you're a print reader, look for it. The official release date is in June, but it seems to be available early, so have at it! ;-)

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posted by Bianca D'Arc at 12:04 am 0 comments

Friday, May 08, 2009

Brainstorming, Clustering and Freewriting: Methods to Unfreeze Your Muse

Brainstorming, Clustering and Freewriting: Methods to Unfreeze your Muse

Brainstorming: Breaking Down the Barriers

Brainstorming helps break typical thought patterns which lead to a boring, predictable plot.

Group Brainstorming

1. To do brainstorming you need to narrow down what the problem is first.
2. Try minor increments such as 10-15 minutes. If you happen to do this in a large group, you may need a longer time limit.
3. Have a person designated as the one who writes out the suggestions called out by the participants/critique partners.
4. No criticizing any of the ideas called out. Laughing is okay.
5. Examine the ideas. Which will provide a plot twist?

Individual Brainstorming

1. Decide what you need to brainstorm on such as character or plot.
2. As ideas occur write them down, but don’t analyze them. These can come as words, phrases or sentences.
3. After you’re finished see if you can put what you’ve written in groups.

Try each of these methods and have fun while doing it.

Clustering and Freewriting

Freewriting is similar to clustering and both can be fun.

For freewriting to work, a goal is needed before you start.

Example: A character’s name or what it means or how you envision this person. When freewriting you are supposed to turn off your inner critic and just write.

Freewriting is nonstop writing. You let your ideas flow in a steady stream and continue for the time limit you’ve set. Keeping your pen or pencil moving is the goal. Don’t punctuate and if you get a new idea write it and keep going. Try five or ten minutes.

Clustering uses key words that are connected. Write a word in the middle of the page. From that word, begin writing other words that are associated. Circle the words then connect them with lines. A cluster begins to form. You can branch off other words too.

Example: Write apple in the middle of the page. Crisp, red, sweet and pie all come to mind. This can help when you need to expand on connections with words and the associations from this clustering chain.
After you have your clusters finished, you separate them into bite-sized, mini paragraphs, while elaborating on others.


Clustering has helped jump start my muse by focusing on one area when I needed clarification with description or layering with some of the senses.

Breaking up the writing process into manageable pieces keeps me from feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed. This might work for you too.

I hope some of these suggestions will help get your muse off and running.

Tambra Kendall/Keelia Greer

Out now from Keelia Greer: A Cursed Heart from Red Rose Publishing
Coming this month from Tambra: Cowboy of the Night from Red Rose Publishing

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posted by Tambra at 4:43 am 0 comments