Monday, February 27, 2012

ABC


Sometimes when I’m at a loss for what to write, maybe I’m not connecting with a character, or maybe I just don’t know what they want to do next.  Maybe I’m between projects and want to brainstorm for my next one or get ideas for a new one, I sometimes turn to an exercise created by the wonderful Ron Wodaski over at compuserve. 

It’s called the ABC’s.  Yea, we didn’t waste time writing a name for it.  What you do is take a character or story and go through all the letters of the alphabet.  Here’s an example of one of mine. 

J is for Jars of jam:  (double word point!)  Sun glinted off the jars of ruby red preserves.  Enough strawberry jam to last a year.  Or not.  With three men in the house food didn’t last long.  Still it was satisfying to see them.  She trailed her fingers over the smooth glass and thought of all the ways she provided for her family.  It was nice to be needed.  Even if it was only for Jars of Jam.

It’s first draft goodness but I found out some things about my characters.  I’m a panster not a plotter so I don’t fill out character sheets listing my characters favorite foods or colors.  This is writing from the characters pov and helps me find out the story and people. Some of my alphabet created scenes. Some just gave me ideas for themes or emotions. 

Do you have any writer’s exercises that get you in the mood for writing or help you get to know the characters and plot?



14 comments:

  1. I love, love, love the ABC's! So much that I did not one, not two, but *three* different ABC's the month Ron introduced us to this nifty tool. Thanks for the memories, Sara. ; )

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    1. Yea, that was a great exercise. I ended up using quite a few of the letters.

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  2. Oh what a great trick. I don't fill out character sheets either. I will definitely remember this one.

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  3. That sounds like a nifty idea. Like you I don't fill out character profiles or anything, so it would be a good way just to find out random things that might inspire something in the plot.

    Are you doing the A-Z Challenge? This would be a great idea for it and would get people intrigued about your characters.

    Another good method is to quiz your characters. Ask about their likes and dislikes, what they would do in certain situations etc.

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    1. I thought about the A-Z challange but I just can't commit to that much time right now. I'd like to try next time though.

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  4. I like that, it's a great tool to use in our writing, letters inspiring words, words inspiring thoughts. I'll definitely keep it in mind ...

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    1. It's definitely an organic exercise. I like it because it doesn't box me into what other people think I should know about my characters.

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  5. This is great! I will definitely be using this trick :)

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    1. Hope it useful to you! It's helped me so I thought it might help others.

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  6. That was a really good exercise. I love how what you wrote told me so much in such a concise little paragraph. As for what inspires me, or gives me ideas- I don't do well living in the rules. I have to just let the words tumble out and paint the picture. I brainstorm all the time driving my kids around, but sometimes I worry I'm not focusing enough on driving!

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    1. Yea, I figure it out while I write too. Loo, I have that same problem while driving.

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  7. I *loved* the ABC exercise. I got so many scenes out of it.
    Jars of jam - so sweey [g]

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