Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How I Tackle Writing

How I Tackle Writing
by Celia Yeary

Did you know you can find numerous articles on the internet about how to write a novel? Most of them begin with “think of a good story.” Now that, in my opinion, is the most fascinating bit of advice I’ve ever read. “Think of a good story.” I wonder if Margaret Mitchell said that to herself as she sat down at her typewriter. She certainly had a good story; I’ll admit that.

How did Margaret Mitchell find the novel titled Gone With the Wind? I have no idea, but I don’t imagine she sat down one day at her desk and thought, “I need to think of a good story,” and voila! her Best-Selling Novel was born.

First, for me to think up a good story I need time to DAYDREAM. That’s step number one —time to stare into space and let my mind wander, imagining a scene or a character. This might occur while I’m watching mind-numbing television, or while we’re on a long road trip and I have time to stare at the highway in front of me, or best of all, the house is quiet and I’m all alone.

Second, I need A PROMPT of some kind. This might be an old weathered gray house on the side of the road, and I wonder who lived there and why. Maybe I see unique person walking along the sidewalk, and I wonder who she is and where is she going. Perhaps I read a news article, and something in it turns into a scene with people acting out the story in the article.

Third, I need to ENVISION a character, male or female, doesn’t matter. Who is this character? What is her story? I needed to write a 25,000 word Christmas story, and I thought of a couple who recently married. She is a nurse, very tall, and she married a doctor who is even taller. So, my story is based on a young woman who is to be maid of honor to her brother’s best man. She worries, but when she meets him, he stands even taller than she. And of course, he’s a hunk. In my story, my heroine is a pediatric nurse and my hero is an ex-Army medic.

In a nutshell, that is how I begin writing a story. Let me give you an example. Occasionally, we travel north about 200 miles to visit my mother in the nursing home. On the way, we pass a road sign that points west and says, Thurber 15 miles. I’ve never heard of this town. So when I returned home, I immediately Googled the name. I learned it is a ghost place with only one tall smokestack and numerous cemeteries remaining. Once, though, it had been a thriving town of 3,000 that produced coal. Ah, so Erath County had coalmines. When?

From a little research, I learned all about the town and even found a website with old photos. The citizens abandoned it around 1915, and the owners of the coal mine leveled it. Why? I found a rich history there in that area, which resulted in my imagining a young man who walked away, wandering until he came upon a farm where a young girl lived with her family. From there, the entire story fell into place.
I titled my story Wish for the Moon and is now contracted with Willow Moon Publishing. The story turned out to be a “coming-of-age” novel, which created a problem with getting someone to publish it. I refused to make it into a pure romance, and that dilemma happened more than once. I stubbornly held on to it. While it is an adult love story, romance is not the focus. In a stroke of very good luck, I ran across WMP.

Thank you for reading today. I do appreciate Nancy for inviting me to guest on her blog.

Bio: Celia Yeary-Romance...and a little bit 'o Texas
http://www.celiayeary.blogspot.com
http://www.celiayeary.com
New Releases
Texas Promise-eBook-Desert Breeze Publishing
Making the Turn-print & eBook-Wings ePress

20 comments:

Maggie Toussaint said...

I have a similar process, Celia. That daydreaming time is really essential for me, and it is harder to find in a busy lifestyle.

Enjoyed your post!

LK Hunsaker said...

Celia, I agree that daydreaming is essential! As is having the imagination to see what everyone does and while they see and dismiss, we see and imagine.

Glad you found someone to take your mixed genre. Those are my favorite stories to read. ;-)

Keena Kincaid said...

Celia,
Good morning. I like you've managed to distill your process for coming up with a good idea. I agree that time to sit and think is the key to good stories. Navel gazing is likely responsible for everything from Shakespeare to the wheel.

A.R. Norris said...

I'm a daydreamer too...and a night dreamer, and a nap dreamer ;)

Mona Risk said...

Celia--Thank you for sharing your inspiration. My ideas usually come when I am not writing, mostly when I'm on vacation and my mind is finally relaxing. All my stories are based on a real event that happened to me or someone I know, and then I daydream the rest of the story. I practically write it in my mind before typing the words.

Morgan Mandel said...

I love that title, Wish for the Moon. Also, I agree not to get your novel categorized into something you don't intend it to be recognized as.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com

Sue Perkins said...

My process is very similar Celia. I start with a scene with the heroine in it, zoom in on the heroine and then build the world around her, the story follows of its own accord.

Vonnie Davis said...

Great blog! I, too, need quiet to allow inspiration to raor in. Late Friday night I e-mailed my 83,000+ manuscript to my agent. I should have felt relief. What I felt was lost. What would I work on next: A manuscript in my drawer, badly in need of revision or a historical I'd abandoned earlier this summer? Sunday morning around 3am, I woke up with the first paragraph of another novel doing the jitterbug in my head, so I crawled out of bed, grumbling, and fired-up the laptop. No one said we have to happy when inspiration hits us...

Celia Yeary said...

MAGGIE--yes, I know you're a daydreamer--that's the mark of an excellent writer. Thanks for the comment--Celia

Celia Yeary said...

LORAINE--thank you! Yes, I was so pleased someone would publish Making the Turn. The prints are selling pretty well here in town, and I'm very happy about this. I hope they like it as much as they like my Western Historicals. It was like, "Well, I guess I'll try it." I'll let you know. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

FUNNY, KEENA! I hadn't thought that the wheel might have been invented by the same method. I must have quiet and be alone to think up that "good plot." Celia

Celia Yeary said...

A.R.--me, too! I sleep well at night, and I take a nap during the day. Nice of you to come by--thanks--Celia

Celia Yeary said...

MONA--your method is interesting. I never write about someone I know, with the exception of Making the Turn.It's difficult to find quality time to truly relax and daydream. Our world is so busy. Thank you for coming by--Celia

Celia Yeary said...

MORGAN--thanks for the support. I thought I was going to have to put Wish for the Moon in my archives. But I was never even tempted to rewrite it into a real by-the-book-romance. Celia

Celia Yeary said...

SUE--that's ane escellent synopsis of how you write--and yes, how I do, too. The character is always front and center. Thanks for commenting--Celia

Celia Yeary said...

VONNIE--oh, I love your comment! And I can identify about feeling lost when you send off a ms for submission. It's like shooing your baby out the door, then the house feels so empty. I'm glad that new inspiration hit you--even though in the middle of the night. Celia

Diane Craver said...

I daydream a lot before I start a new story. Once I have characters in my head, I think of bits and pieces of dialogue while daydreaming. I love writing dialogue.

I enjoyed learning your writing process! Have a great day, Celia!

Celia Yeary said...

THANKS--Diane--it seems daydreaming is the one big ticket item we all need to write. A universal phenomenum, I guess. And you have a great day, too. Celia

Linda Swift said...

Great blog, Celia. I agree with Mona that I usually have a story finished in my head before I put it into real words. Or I revise as I type it. And oh, that precious time when we are alone to let our minds wander and be creative. Only another writer can understand our need to have this uninterrupted space. I don't know about others, but I get grouchy when I go too long without this. Linda

Celia Yeary said...

LINDA--I can identify--getting grouchy when I can't find time alone. It's that solitary time when the voices in my head really speak loudly enough that I can get it the written word. Thanks for coming by--I appreciate every word you say--Celia

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