Saturday, October 12, 2019

Creativity Exercises (1)

Over the last two months, I've begun exploring some creativity exercises to jog my Muse. I always wanted to learn artistic techniques and dabbled on and off years, but now that my writing is back on a regular schedule, I'm finding that sketching or playing with pastels before writing helps me to feel more relaxed when I approach the page. Artist Lisa Congdon's lessons on Creativebug have been very helpful in that regard. I'm working on her class "Creative Boot Camp: Reinventing the Basics with Lines and Circles" and have had so much fun playing with colors. As Lisa says, "You're allowing yourself to loose up like a  kid and free up and not worry about being super accurate or perfect." We should think about "creating a balance"- good advice for the sketch pad and also good for life/writing in general. At the end of the process, "go back and add any detail that might need to be added." This is also a great revision tips for writers. We should check for scenes that could be more developed and for the little details that can make a scene more true to life.

I didn't spend a lot of money on materials. I found some good sketch pads at the Dollar Store and bought a few inexpensive oil pastel sticks at Michaels and some watercolors at Michaels. Doing these exercises has helped not only with the creative process but also with alleviating stress- just allow yourself to play and have fun! As you can see from my exercise below, based on Lisa's instructional module on creating a sketched oil stick village, I just had fun and played with color and overall the process and the results made me smile.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Brainstorming the WIP

I'm about halfway through my current work-in-progress (WIP), a Regency romance novel set in Shropshire, and kept forgetting key details (it used to be easier when I was writing drafts in my 20s). I had attended the Philadelphia Writers Conference this past summer (a topic for another post in the future; I'm so sad that this was the last conference), and particularly enjoyed Terri Brisbin's presentation on romance writing. In one of her handouts, she mentioned Jami Gold's website as a resource for writers (seriously, check out her wonderful worksheets- I'm working on filling out one of her beat sheets), and I became happily lost in sorting through all of Gold's marvelous posts for a few hours.

This weekend I especially focused on the article "Complex Story? Use a Crime Wall" written by guest editor Kitty the Retro-Writer. I've had a corkboard for years that I had been planning to use to organize my writing, but it's been gathering dust in my closet. Well, I dragged it out this weekend, rearranged some of the pins I had already placed, and began working on my wall. Since it's a romance, I'm mostly focused on the hero and heroine, and in the future will be adding other key characters plus setting details. It's so handy to have the corkboard perched close to me when I'm working- no more forgetting pesky little details like the heroine's eye color! As for the other material, I love the image of the man and woman dancing at the foot of the stairs - I tore it out of one of my old Victoria magazines a few years ago. I also have some inspiring quotes up, like Nora Roberts' classic "I can fix a bad page but I can't fix a blank one." To make the planning a bit more fun, I use my glitter gel pens. Like my novel WIP, my corkboard is also a WIP. I'd love to hear from other writers how they organize their information and keep track of all those details.