Monday, November 3, 2008

Blood and Spirits: Writing Prompts -- What Did They Do For Me?

For the past few weeks, the gals here at the diner have been doing a little experiment. We’ve taken the same writing prompt:

A paranormal customer finds out the Diner where he or she likes to eat because it's supposed to be a secret paranormal sanctuary is NOT secret or safe.
and each of us have run with it in a different direction. The results have been very interesting!

So, what did the exercise do for me? Well, for starters, it showed me I’m not the most creative person to write by the seat of my pants on a Monday morning. You wouldn’t know it by the chaos of my house, but I’m a very organized writer. Yep, I’m one of those dreaded plotters. I tend to see my whole story as a movie in my head first and lay everything out in a spreadsheet, chapter by chapter, scene by scene--complete with major plot points, love scenes and the Black Moment--before I write the first word. So sitting down to write a story and not knowing where it’s going from scene to scene has been a challenge for me.

What didn’t surprise me:
I already knew from my normal writing habits that I’m a dialogue and action gal at heart. My first drafts tend to have a lot of talking heads and movement, but little to no description, setting or internal emotion. Those are things I go back and layer in during the 2nd and 3rd drafts. If you look at the Blood and Spirits installments, you can see they’re pretty bare bones for the most part. That’s what my 1st drafts tend to look like.

What did surprise me:
Part of what I do as a writer is to incorporate repetition of themes, symbols, and imagery in my stories. As with description and setting, these things usually don’t fall into place until my 2nd draft. Let me tell ya, I had no clue where I was going with the wine vamp thing in Part 2. That idea came out of nowhere. So I was surprised in Part 3 when the Keith Richards/Let It Bleed Tour thing popped into my head (you can thank my old college roommate who practically worshipped the Rolling Stones for that bit of inspiration). It worked into the story so seamlessly and perfectly, you would have thought I’d planned it from the beginning. Nope, it was just blind luck…or maybe my muse was being especially helpful that day. Who knows? But it’s moments of pure gold like that that make writing so much fun for me.

Anyway, this has been an interesting exercise but I think Blood and Spirits has run its course. It’ll be fun to see how long some of the others can keep their stories going.


  1. EE gads! I'm not sure I can keep my story going at this time...I have edits people! The golden heart!! A d*mn syunopsis to revise! Can you spell YUCK?


    Honestly Lori, I don't consider myself much of a pantser either, so I completely understand that "AHA!" moment when something just clicks for you.

    Sometimes it makes it all worthwhile.


  2. You're right about those pure gold moments. They do make writing a joyous discovery process.