Home > Writing and Poetry > Day 3 of NaPiBoWriWee–Is It Soup Yet?

Day 3 of NaPiBoWriWee–Is It Soup Yet?

Paula Yoo’s challenge ( http://paulayoo.com/) continued today with writers from around the world posting their progress, ideas and encouragement to others.

If anyone’s interested, I did get my third picture book written this morning and devised a new one for tomorrow before sitting down to dinner this evening. Number Four will be creative non-fiction for the 5/6 yr. old group.

As I watch the comments on Paula’s blog regarding the energy created by this challenge, I wonder at writers everywhere. Do we all become Energizer Bunnies when we talk and brainstorm with other writers? Do our brains shift into overdrive and take our bodies with them at the mere thought of throwing ideas around a table, across the ether, or during coffee at the local Starbucks?

What is it about sharing creative ideas that brings the energy level of the average writer up to 150% and keeps it revving for hours after the encounter? I’ve been wondering about this phenomenon for years now and I have my own answer, for whatever it’s worth.

I think that when we brainstorm on ideas as writers, a small switch gets toggled inside the brain that allows us to freely devise, extrapolate, and detail corresponding ideas that make logical sense within the framework of the original idea and its path to completion.

It doesn’t matter whether that idea revolves around SF, Fantasy, Literary, Children’s, what-have-you. The process isn’t genre specific. The process acts as a furnace of sorts, taking the ideas thrown out by participants and uses them as fuel to be consumed by those same participants. That’s why excitement swells and people become animated, fidgety, vocally louder, etc.

This same resulting energy spike can be seen within the mob mentality. One instigator begins the process by using an emotional situation to generate even more emotion. The generation is done through words, as often as not. Once the process begins, there are no longer any individuals, but rather a group moving the situation and process forward for the sake of the energy created.

At some point a threshold is reached during that process and it must boil over into action. For those mob members it usually becomes violence against property or living things.

For the writers it happens when someone begins writing down the thrown out ideas onto chalkboard, whiteboard, paper, computer, whatever’s handy.

So, does this mean that a group of writers in any group brainstorming or challenge situation who share ideas, storylines, or thoughts, becomes a mob with violence on their minds. Well, if you’re in a group of SF/Fantasy writers who’re trying to work out a long, involved plot with villains, victims, etc., it may sound like it when you hear references to lopping off people’s heads and the like.

But, no, they aren’t a mob. They are a group of energetic, talented people who love chasing ideas until they’re cornered with nowhere to run.

Everyone can recognize the mob and steer clear. But come upon that writer’s group and chances are you’ll get sucked in until you right in there shouting out ideas for how to get that hero out of the pit with the venomous lizards without benefit of a ladder. Besides those lizards have a few tricks hiding in their armpits that you may not know about yet.

If you’re not a writer, you may not have every experienced that rush of adrenaline when someone asks you how an idea sounds or what can they do to push the story forward without bringing in a new character.

If you’re not a writer, you may not know what it feels like to have something swimming around in your head at three o’clock in the morning that would be perfect for that new novel you’ve just finished, that you just have to talk to your editor about since the manuscript in now in those hands, an idea that will change not only the energy of the book but also the entire direction of the action and make for a better ending.

Ah, to be innocent of those surges of creative exuberance. If you’re not a writer, be glad that you don’t have to compete with those of us out there who deal with this kind of activity on a daily basis. Okay, maybe a weekly basis. But the book-thingy happens with short stories and articles, too. I can think of a dozen writers in the past two weeks I’ve heard talk about that experience.

There you have it. Paula Yoo’s challenge echoes those we make for ourselves every day. Strive to write more and faster. Strive to resist the urge to revise immediately. Push yourself to more imaginative story ideas for this market. Make them tight, likeable, and memorable.

If other stories come to mind during this challenge–ideas for other markets and audiences–all the better. You’ve increased your marketability. And that is the name of every writer’s game. Be as diverse as you can, write well for each market, and keep learning how to do it better.

Oh, yeah, and network your brains out. That sums up the challenge. And the reference to soup? Concerned about that?

The soup is the end result of all that idea stirring, pacing, plotting, naming, etc. Is it soup yet? asks the writer if is it ready to go to a publisher. The challenge isn’t for polishing a manuscript but for the creation of many manuscripts. The soup is simmering on many back burners right now.

Well, people, I’m off to work on a story having nothing to do with Paula’s challenge. This one’s for an editor instead. Have a great week, all. Live well and enjoy the trip.

A bientot,


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