Please help me welcome horror author Derek Clendening!
The most frequent question I hear is Where do you get your ideas? Questions on how to get published are a close second, but one I hear sometimes is how I flesh out ideas and whether or not I outline. A quick answer to the latter: yes, I do outline. My outlines aren’t terribly complicated. I have a general idea of how long the novel/story in question should be and I draft the scene sequence one by one. I also have a general idea of how long each scene must be to hit my word count, but I never push it. A story should only be as long (or short) as necessary, and I see no point in harming the telling of the tale for those purposes.
But back to fleshing out ideas. A writer’s eureka moment can come at any time. Expected or not, there’s nothing quite like stumbling upon a killer idea, though it most likely will appear uninvited. When it happens, you want to have a pen and paper near to jot those ideas down before they sail past.
I’ve heard that Ernest Hemingway fleshed his ideas out while standing up and that Agatha Christie did it while soaking in the bathtub, eating apples. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised. I used to try to take walks to flesh out ideas and I still do that occasionally, but it really doesn’t work for me. The only way to bring an idea to fruition is to keep the pen and paper handy.
That’s right. There’s nothing romantic or sexy about it. I need to move beyond just jotting down ideas. I have to basically write out a conversation with myself in which I answer at least a few basic questions about the story. Sometimes there are few and other times there are many. Also, sometimes ideas hit me like a tidal wave and other times fleshing the idea out is agonizing.
The practice lures the idea out of some dark corner of my mind into the light. What’s craziest about it is that, once I’ve written all of that stuff down, I usually don’t need to look at those notes again. I’ve already told myself all I need to know and I’m free to draft my scene sequence. That said, I couldn’t tell you what others writers do. That’s just what works for me.
What works for you?
To enter to win a Kindle Fire, leave your name and e-mail address in the comment form below. You can enter once per blog stop. Visit each blog stop to increase your odds of winning. If I crack the Kindle Top 100, I will give away another Kindle Fire. E-mail me for the tour newsletter including a full listing of tour stops at derek (dot) r (dot) clendening (at) gmail (dot) com.
Visit Derek on his blog!
Books by Derek
|The Between Yearsby Derek Clendening(2011-07-25)|
|The Breedingby Derek ClendeningMausoleum Press, (2011-10-26)|
|Two Little Dead Girlsby Derek ClendeningMausoleum Press, (2011-09-07)|
|The Vampire Wayby Derek Clendening167 pages, (2011-07-11)|
|Clock Strikes Two and Other Storiesby Derek Clendening123 pages, Mausoleum Press, (2011-06-25)|