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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Magpie Syndrome

I admit it. I love anything that glitters or sparkles. My husband calls it "Magpie Syndrome." (I haven't had the heart to tell him that recent studies have shown that magpies are NOT attracted to shiny objects.) However, this attraction to the new and shiny extends beyond just jewelry and clothing - it permeates my writing as well. A new story idea is so exciting and holds so much promise - what will it be when it grows up ? A short story? A novella? A novel?

I'm not a plotter, I don't outline. It has just never worked for me. Even in high school and college, I never wrote the outline until after I was done with the paper and then only because it was required. I mean, how could I know what I was going to write until I wrote it? When I begin developing a story I know who the main characters are, I know how the story begins, how it ends, and have a few miscellaneous scenes that go somewhere in the middle. The rest evolves as I write.

Oooh, shiny!

When writing was something I only dreamed of doing I often worried that I wouldn't be able to come up with enough story ideas. Ha! I have so many ideas I can't keep up with them. At this point my primary focus is on Dances with Werewolves, the second novel in my Kudzu Korners sweet paranormal romance series. (You can read about the first novel, Dial V for Vampire, here.) But, at the same time I have ideas for at least 15 other stories percolating in my head. Heck, I even have covers for books that I haven't written yet.

It would be easy to let all of these ideas distract me because of their freshness - so many unknowns waiting to be discovered! However, if I flit from story to story like a hummingbird nothing will ever get finished. I am (mostly) able to focus on my work in progress (WIP) but I have learned that when an idea won't quit going "Mom, mom, mom, mom! Pay attention to me, Mom" it's best to put the WIP aside for an evening or so and pay attention to it. This normally consists of just making notes to get some of the ideas out of my head. On occasion, "notes" become chapters. But, this means that when those other stories have their day in the sun, I'll already have a good start.

I know I'm not alone. This cartoon was recently shared on the Writing About Writing Facebook page. It's perfect! :-)

Distractions are a part of life, not just writing. How do you stay focused?

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  1. I don't know how pansters do it. I have to write a story outline before I begin writing. Sometimes I do tweak it after I get started if an epiphany pops up though. I don't know any writers who have ever run out of story ideas. I think it's in the DNA of writers to think of stories from ordinary happenings or just straight up out of their imaginations. The most difficult obstacle to writing, in my opinion, is writer's block which has nothing to do with the lack of ideas or laziness, but with fear and resistance. So I think you don't need to worry about losing your sparkle. LOL
    I believe it's actually crows who are attracted to shiny things and like to stock pile them in hidden places. They are actually very intelligent birds. I saw a documentary about crows on PBS in which they demonstrated how crows can discern between people with good intentions and people who are wicked. Kinda interesting I thought.
    I want to wish you all the best, Isabella. Keep shining!

  2. I, too, am a pantser. I would be hard-pressed to write an outline for a story. I get an idea and who knows where it will go until I put the words to paper. I'm as apt to write the ending before I ever figure out how the story begins.

    And now I'm earworming with the Moana song, Shiny. lol

  3. I'm a pantser, as well, so it's comforting to know I'm in good company. I never know when all those "shiny" ideas will come into play!