Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Process, Part I, Ideas

I was so happy to receive a question in my last post! Yippee! (If anyone else has any, feel free to lay them on me.)

Joseph asked: "Do you think you could blog about your process as a writer and artist? I'm interested to know if the story or the art comes first or if they both sort of emerge simultaneously."

I think I'm going to break this down into three sections: Ideas, Writing, Art.


Most of the time my ideas start with words. For example, Wink, the Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed, was born from something my husband said about a trick-o-treater trying to get our attention. "Look, it's the ninja who wants to be noticed." I love the poetry of Billy Collins and that inspired a story once. I'm most often inspired by humor. Sometimes I get an idea for a title, then I have to try to come up with a story that fits the title. This is a less successful process for me. A funny concept is the best bet.

Then I think about it. I think about it when I'm walking home from dropping my son off at school. I think about it when I'm folding laundry. I think about it when I'm baking cookies. I just play with the idea and different outcomes. This usually goes on for months. I won't write something down until I think I have a good shot at finishing it and that means I have to have interesting characters, a good storyline, and, hopefully, a satisfying ending. That doesn't mean it's done in my head and when I write it down it's a masterpiece. It just means I don't write it down until I have it finished enough to graduate to the next step.

Right now I have two story ideas in my head that are shaping up and getting ready to be drafted. I'm also tinkering with two stories that have already been written down. So I've got at least four work-in-progress stories that pop in and out of my mind on a daily basis. And they have to share space with new ideas, and the two projects that I am actively working on at the time: the new WInk illos. and my secret project.

Someone once compared mulling ideas to tending pots on a stove. You stir a little here, you add some salt there, you tend the masses until some dishes get tossed out and some are ready to serve. That's a good way to describe the idea process of my mind.

Tomorrow, I'll talk about writing.


Joseph said...

Awesome! Thanks so much for answering this question for me. I am looking forward to reading your other posts on this.

Julie_c said...

My pleasure, Joseph. Thanks for chiming in.