Tuesday 20 May 2014

Developing my Writing Ideas

May 20

How do you develop your writing ideas?

I'm behind. I kind of skipped out on writing Monday. I was lazy. I think that's allowed every once in a while. I'm back now. So that would have been my writing update, and since I don't have one, I guess it's okay that I missed the post.

By the way, I was wrong. In my last post, I said the next questions were Creative prompts, but it looks like they are writing question prompts. Which is good. Gives me more time to get ready for the fiction portion.

I also said I promised to write two different entries about Flat Stanley and the 'r' word (religion), but I'm behind in writing and life, so I haven't got to either. Flat Stanley's post won't be written until I send him back to Ontario. It's started though.

So, with that being said, back to the prompt:

How do you develop your writing ideas?

I write. I usually don't plot or plan, I just write and watch where the characters go. I have an idea in my head, and I follow through in my writing. They develop as I go.

I learned a lesson when I was in high school English classes. I wrote a really good short story. I can't remember exactly what it was about, but it was a basic real life fiction situation type story (and I'm just assuming it was really good). We were in the Creative Writing portion of class, and I was really excited to share. I'm not sure I had shared my stories that often, and I looked forward to sharing with our English teacher. We were given the freedom to pick any topic we wanted. I think I was in grade nine or ten. This was  a long time ago, which is why I can't quite remember any details.

I didn't listen to the instructions very well, so I just wrote my great story and handed it in. When I got my grade, my teacher (my favourite teacher) told me she was surprised at how good it was (because she didn't know I wrote), and I am sure I received a pretty good grade. However, I lost marks because I had no outline (as requested). I didn't do an outline at all because I simply wrote the story. It was part of the instructions.

Here's what the lesson I took from the situation. Always do an outline. So, the next time we had a short story assignment, I did exactly as I had previously. I had an idea (in my brain), and I wrote the story that went with it, deciding where the story went, as I wrote. After I was finished, I wrote the outline. (Sorry AnnMarie - I practically cheated!) I do believe, the outline helped my grade, and proved I could follow directions (although just barely).

I've never been good at the outline, but I do write notes as I develop a story. Even with my novel, I didn't plan it out before I wrote it. I kept track of character names, and details as I wrote because it makes it easier to remember everything.

The new novel I'm going to write, probably won't have an outline either, BUT it will have characters figured out. I am going to figure out what has happened to each character in the last year, and will be doing character outlines. The story will just happen as it happens. I like surprises in my writing. I always have a basic idea, but the things that happen in my novel sometimes aren't planned, and if I planned it, I don't think it would work as well.

Once I write the story, I still do edits and make changes, so I guess my first draft is the outline, but I don't think my English teacher would have believed me. Just a side note about this particular teacher, I credit her for the confidence I have in my writing. She encouraged me from the first story, and on throughout my life. We are now Facebook friends, so I'll be tagging her in this post.

Last, a picture I took this weekend. I wrote a quote on it that pretty much suits this post almost perfectly. I also realise the picture wasn't taken at night, but it wouldn't have looked as nice if it had been.

Most of my ideas are coming from http://erinisawriter.blogspot.ca/2014/03/march-24th-looking-forward.html It's leads to another blog where I found the ideas. My April onward details start with that post.

And as always:

©ErinLeahMcCrea All photos I share on my blogs are my own, please Ask Me For Permission Before Using Them.


  1. You brought a tear or two to my eye, Erin! The compliment was lovely (and you were wonderful to teach, btw), but the trip down memory lane was wonderful: remembering young Erin waiting impatiently for the next creative writing assignment, then waiting patiently (ahem) for her grade and the comments. (And of course, I was always so quick to get them done.) :-P

    And I have a secret for you: I don't use outlines, either, in most of my writing! ;-) I find them only occasionally useful (and usually in more formal writing) - but when they *are* helpful, they are *really* helpful (mostly as a second step between a first draft (when you know the story points you want to hit) and a more polished draft). And another secret: when we teach kids to use outlines, it's meant to help those who have trouble with writing - those who have a gift for it just have to jump through the hoops. :-)

    And one more thing, Miss "Devolping" Erin - you're still letting proofreading errors escape. LOL! Thank goodness for copy editors!

    1. Oh my gosh! And in the title and everything. I am slowly getting better at proof reading, but it seems I don't check out the titles... oops. Haha. It's fixed now (but forever in the url)