Monday, August 23, 2010

Trying New Things

Welcome back to Monday, everyone. Hope you had a good weekend. We've had a lot scheduled the last two weekend, and even though we didn't have anything planned, we were still busy as well. On Saturday, I took Alex both to the library and the pool. We shopped for a new bed for him yesterday, then visited the Chicago Botanic Garden and wound up having dinner at a restaurant with my in-laws. More of my husband's relatives stopped by, so we ended up with a spontaneous family dinner for twenty!

Saturday with my son turned out to be a success because he was able to overcome his fear of loud public bathrooms to do these activities. For a long time, he showed no interest in going to the library because he was spooked of the bathroom there. I told him we'd use the bathroom at home so we wouldn't have to use the one there. When we got to the pool, we had to go through the women's locker room to reach the pool. He balked at first, but luckily there weren't any hair dryers running, so I hurried him through. He wasn't interested in the wading pool at first, but after he played in the sand area for a while and had a snack, I was able to coax him in. Once there, he had a wonderful time.

To bring this around to writing, I think it's very useful to keep trying new things. By challenging yourself to do something different, you learn and gain new skills and perspectives. For a long time, I wrote by the seat of my pants. This meant that after completing a first draft, I'd think of new plot points and end up writing an entirely new draft. Sometimes I'd go through several loops like this. I've had ideas for the sequel to Across Two Universes (working title: Catalyst in the Crucible) for quite some time now, but although I had a decent sense of the plot, other areas really need to be fleshed out before I can progress further. So I started by writing myself a rough outline of the story. I was surprised by the inspiration that came from doing this; I generated other plot ideas as I wrote. In some sections, I have multiple ideas listed. It's nice to have a map of my novel that still gives me flexibility to change the story as I write. I'm currently working  a series of character sheets to help me keep everything consistent. When I get those done, I'll be ready to return to my draft and keep going with it.

Have you tried anything new with your writing--a different genre, style, or technique? What did you learn from it?


Christine Fonseca said...

I try to do new things often - I think it keeps you learning that way. In my writing life, this means finishing up a major rewrite taking my novel from 3rd person into first person, dual POVs...whew, what a job!

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I once wrote a story I was hoping to submit to an anthology of zombie erotica. Yeah, I know. It was interesting, though, made me think a different way.

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