Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Write Where You're Planted by Nancy Gideon


Some readers think paranormal authors are hunched down by candlelight under the eaves in a dark garret while lightning flashes and thunder ominously growls, Poe's raven peering over their shoulder at the furiously scribbled prose, quothing, "A little more! Go for a vein!"

Writers write wherever they can find the time, space and energy, be that garret or grocery line. Inspiration isn't picky where it strikes, and like lightning, is swift and unpredictable. We plant those seeking rods at our comfy desks in hopes of drawing that sizzle during the allotted hours (or minutes!), but more often than not, it lights up the imagination in the most inconvenient places. In the car on the way to work. In the middle of a manicure. Watching baseball practice. Waiting for your fast food order. That flash, if not quickly seized, just as quickly fades and is gone. And even as I repeat a phenomenal line of dialog over and over as I pull in the parking lot to hold onto it, by the time I find my keys, unlock two sets of doors, find the lights and a notepad on my desk, what I have is a ghost of what I envisioned at the stoplight.

Authors need to steal their mantra from the Scouts: Be Prepared! Learn to use the recording app on your cell phone and have it assessable in the car on drives long and short (Use them at the stoplight, not while changing lanes, please!) to capture those pithy quotes. Carry a small notebook in your bag to jot gems of plot while in the wild. Consider a light weight tablet to capitalize on any available barista table or bleacher knee. The bottom of my purse is littered with Post-It notes (my drug of choice) to memorialize that clever twist of tormented backstory needed in Chapter Twelve.

There's no such thing as a non-writing trip (or moment). Who knows when those electrifying mental images will strike. I never leave on an overnight without my trusty HP and power cord . . . just in case my characters decide they have to have sex in my hotel room. And I have a lighted keyboard just in case they prefer to do it in the dark.

A missed opportunity is rarely recaptured with its original vim and vigor. Be prepared. Be vigilant. Keep an eye on the sky and have that lightning rod at ready. Here are some places my computer and I have found ourselves working in a few paragraphs:

On a cruise ship balcony in the dark watching the sun come up by the light of my monitor and keyboard while my fellow travelers were still sleeping . . .

Finishing a chapter during a power outage trying to type fast enough to outlast fading battery...

Stretched out on the floor on the Miami airport . . .

On the train . . .

E-mailing chapters of work done over the lunch hour to my home computer . . .

Over breakfast at the Cubs Bar in O'Hare during a four hour flight layover (see above) . . .

Watching the dessert come to life at sun rise in Tucson (I seem to always be getting up earlier than the sun!) . . .

Sneaking out of a workshop to tuck away in a game room with one heck of a view . . .


Where's the most unusual place you've had that "Ah Hah!" moment strike and how did you capture it?

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Nancy Gideon on the Web



3 comments:

Diane Burton said...

Can't say I've written somewhere unusual. I do have the neatest thing in my purse--a bunch of 3x5 cards, hole-punched in one corner, and clipped with a ring; a plastic cover & back with an elastic band. I think I found it at Staples. Great for jotting down notes and keeping a 2-yr-old occupied at a restaurant. Amidst my gems of notes, I have Toddler Girl's scribbles. Love it! I'm prepared. LOL Now I just have to find that recording app on my phone.

Nancy Gideon said...

Multi-tasking! I like it!! And a family heirloom. When Toddler Girl becomes a famous author or artist, you'll be set for life.

Victoria Craven said...

You are an inspiration. Taking the very few moments I have should be spent writing those ideas. Like you, if I don't, those ideas will be lost. I like the idea of post-it notes. I will definitely use that idea.