This weekend my husband and I went on a road trip to the Willamette Valley and Portland to celebrate his 43rd birthday. While down there, around the birthday celebrations and copious amounts of wine tasting, I planned on reading, relaxing, and planning how I was going to attack my writing homework. I was successful in celebrating with P while wine tasting and exploring the Oregon wine country and Portlandia, but I didn’t do much else.
One thing we did do on our adventure that hopefully will help move me forward was visit Powell’s Legendary Bookstore, not once but twice! The first time, P wanted to see this monstrous, legendary bookstore, but we didn’t spend adequate time really looking through the stacks and stacks and more stacks of books. I did buy a Powell’s t-shirt. I L O V E bookstores. P and I both mourned when the Borders in our neighborhood closed, we used to visit that bookstore at least 2x a month just to wander. The closing of the Borders coincided with both of us getting Kindles as well – and now we rarely visit bookstores. Both P and I decided to go back to Powell’s after dinner at Kell’s and really dig in a bit. He wanted to explore the sci-fi section to see if they had any old 50’s style sci-fi books and comics. I went to look for writing aids.
I ended up purchasing a couple of books, the first by Janet Evanovich (author of the hilarious Stephanie Plum bounty hunter series) on how she writes her books (having read 11 of them, I figured I would be able to relate to what she had to say) and the other a real gem called The Write Brain Exercises. Evanovich formatted her book with ‘tips’ written by a friend of hers and Darmouth writing professor, accompanied by Q&A with Evanovich on how she writes the Stephanie Plum books. Easy read, and basic advice, but good stuff nonetheless. The Write Brain Exercises on the other hand is a super fun workbook that has a different writing exercise on each page. The book encourages you to write in the book. I may take the book exercises and write them here instead (per my last blog post). There are 365 exercises and it encourages you to move through one a day. And BONUS- by reading these two books, I’m adding to my 52 in 52! woohooo!
The last tool I picked up are a set of cards called Story Forge cards. Last week in class one of my classmates had these cards arranged on the work table when I came in the room in a sort of tarot card layout. He and his friend were talking through a writing exercise. Each of these cards gives you a direction, an emotion, or something otherwise to help you get started in writing a plot, a character, or other part of the story. The creator, B.J. West billed these cards as “The ultimate tool for quickly and easily brainstorming and outlining works of dramatic fiction or smashing through “writer’s block.”” I was intrigued by the cards in class so immediately started trying to find them to buy myself a set on Amazon mobile (in class!). When I couldn’t find them on Amazon I set up a note to look for them the next day when I had a proper screen to search. I ended up finding them on a Kickstarter page. B.J. West crowd sourced the funding to create the cards and got double the amount he needed from fans. How COOL is that? Anyway – I bought a set from the Kickstarter page and they were in our mailbox when we returned from Portland.
So, between my homework assignment and all these great tools I should be rolling into full fledged novelist any second now… (or I may just go read the number 12 in the Stephanie Plum book series!) 🙂