Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Great Minds Think Alike?

by ANDREA MACK on APRIL 9, 2010

Yesterday I read an interview with Sue Grafton from the February issue of Writer’s Digest. Though not an MG or YA writer, you have to admire her for sticking with her alphabet mysteries. She’s now on letter U. But what struck me about this interview was that like me, she uses a journal for each novel. Mine are also full of “self-talk” about what I’m thinking about and working on. I thought it was cool, because I haven’t run across another writer who uses this process before.

My book-specific journal is especially helpful when I have a sticky plot problem. I use the space to brainstorm possibilities for what could or could not happen, then pick them apart, before I move on to writing. I ask myself questions about my characters, or think about the novel events from the perspectives of non-viewpoint characters. It also helps keep me motivated—I note how many words I’ve written each day, and that inspires me to keep going.

– Andrea

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate Fall 04.09.10 at 9:03 am

Andrea, you’ve given me this advice before and it inspired me to buy a journal. It really did help. I found it much easier to scribble down an idea before I forgot it in the journal rather than opening up a computer file. I also used to write down character ideas and “what if?” questions. I never stayed disciplined enough to write down how much time I spent on writing activities, but that journal was well worth the bargain bin investment I made in it.

Carmella 04.09.10 at 10:37 am

I have a journal for each project, too. The one for my current WIP is the tiny, soft leather journal that ties up. (I think I spent the first week just smelling it and holding in my hands!) It’s filled with random stuff – lists, brainstorms for a plot or character issue, research and lots of lots of “what if questions.” I find having a journal very helpful for catching all those ideas that would normally fall aside.

Christina 04.13.10 at 6:25 am

I keep a journal for all my books too! I always like to get a really cool one (I splurge on these), that will match the book I’m writing. I put all my brainstorm ideas in them, venn diagrams, work lists, thoughts, questions, and character sketches.

So, I guess we all have a lot more in common than we thought!

Andrea 04.13.10 at 2:13 pm

Isn’t it neat to find out that your process is similar to someone else’s? Kate, I love having a space to work on those “what if” questions, because sometimes they change the whole direction of my novel. Carmella, I love the fact that all the stuff related to the book is (mostly) in one place. I’ve never used a Venn diagram for a novel yet though, Christy. Hmm.

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