I’m not going to try to now, either. The gist of what Veronica says (but please read her post) is: you have to go out and do things in order to be able to write well. Experiencing new things gives people (and therefore writers!) a fuller understanding of the world that they can write about to give their books more depth. Don’t just sit in your house and write all day, every day. Fly a kite! Move to Eastern Europe! Try Korean food! Volunteer at an elementary school! Do something! (Just to be fair, Beth Revis [Across the Universe] gave the same boiled-down advice during the Breathless Reads tour a few weeks ago that reminded me of Veronica’s post.)
I completely agree with this advice, and it’s always interesting to me to see how what I do influences my writing. Here are a few recent examples…
The Rose of Coracus (WIP)
· Read Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and realized that maybe the oomph needed as a climax in my novel was a little revolting and rebellion. Not full-blown and horrifyingly violent like in Mockingjay, but the idea is there. The same can be said about Katniss and Prim’s relationship inspiring me to build up Shayna and her sister Minna’s.
The Lady and the Unicorn’s Lover (WIP)
· Read Tracy Chevaliar’s historical fiction novel, The Lady and the Unicorn, then saw the famous tapestry in the Cloisters Museum in New York, then wrote a term paper about medieval tapestry for my art history class in London, which inspired the playful title of my novel.
· Watched the wonderful British TV series, Downton Abbey, which inspired me to increase how much the servants’ lives (beyond the main character) are depicted.
Untitled Picture Book Idea #1
· I bought new socks the other day. They’re made from bamboo. I suggested (hopefully) to my boyfriend that pandas would now become attracted to me and follow me home. This seems like a playful premise for a children’s book.
Untitled Contemporary YA Series #1
· I was thinking recently about my church youth group and some of the wonderful experiences we had together during middle and high school. There were also a lot of serious issues that had to be dealt with. Since there’s been a lot of talk about teens wanting stories about real kids (not rich/ famous ones) and/or novels that deal with ‘problems’ I’ve been wondering if my experiences with that group could be the basis of a series.
Untitled Contemporary YA novel #1
· My boyfriend has a crazy roommate. The roommate doesn’t have any social skills, barely speaks English yet reads classics (like the tome Gone with the Wind-only people like me read that!), and keeps very strange hours (often returning to the apartment at 4am only to leave again at 7am). Thus, the currently theories are that he is either a spy from a foreign country or a vampire. He’s great source material for some sort of story.
So, there you have it, by reading books, watching tv, visiting museums, studying, buying socks (!), socializing and just living- aka not writing- I’ve come up with plenty of story ideas and ways to make my writing fuller.
Mmmmm….and now I want vanilla ice cream with peanut butter cups and chocolate swirls!