Writing Excuses, Week 2

Good thing I’m not just in this blogging thing for the stats. Apparently people very much dislike book reviews. Or maybe they’re all too common. Either way, yesterdays post saw a steep decline in viewership.

But, I don’t intend to stop discussing the books I’ve read. The Book Review posts will continue, and since I’m spread thin when it comes to reading, they’ll be few and far between. Maybe it’s for the best.

And so today brings us to week 2 of the Writing Excuses podcast!

Week 2 entitled, “I Have an Idea; What do I do Now?” is all about further developing ideas. It was just as fun to listen to as the first episode, and I’m looking forward to listening to episode 3 during my lunch break Thursday night.

Some things to consider when developing ideas:

  • Turn the simplest thing into conflict; Ruin somebody’s day
  • Look at specific characters; who has stake? Who has agency?
  • Combine story ideas to add complexity
  • Ask Questions to flesh out  ideas
  • Dig deeper, find the complexities
  • Come up with a problem you don’t have a solution to, yet
  • Don’t over-complicate problems

I don’t want to rehash the entire episode, so if this interests you, follow the link above to listen for yourself!

The writing exercises for this week used the story ideas we came up with in week 1.

Using the five ideas from week 1:

  1. Combine two ideas
  2. Change the genre of one
  3. Swap ages and genders of everyone
  4. Have a character make the opposite decision

And here’s what I came up with. Keep in mind that I am transcribing this straight from the small journal I use while listening to the podcast on my lunch breaks…

  1. I combined the idea of the Space Academy/Flight school with the Asshole Character that has to deal with consequences of classmate’s decision. So, the Asshole embarrasses and demeans another student until they break rules to attempt an extremely dangerous maneuver. They die in the attempt and the main character has to deal with the consequences.
  2. Instead of Flight Academy, it could be some sort of school of magic, or some other learning institution. Mage towers are pretty cliched, but so are flight academies…
  3. Change the genders of the characters in Seashells. I was already considering this, if I’m honest. So, we’d have a teenage girl, newly single father, grumpy grandpa, and a merman. This suddenly seems much more interesting to me, and has a lot of potential to be humorous than the original concept. Grandpa is a widower, wife collected the “mermaid treasure”, he keeps the jars as sentiment. Main character is troubled. Smokes, sneaks out to go to concerts, general attitudinal problems. Tired but concerned father.
  4. Instead of letting the cadet die in their maneuver attempt, Asshole character saves them, getting injured in the process. Crippled, actually. He becomes even more of an asshole, but he’s earned an unlikely friend. One he’s not even sure he wants.

If you’re participating, leave your responses, or links to them, in the comments!

See you tomorrow Blogland!


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