Shiver Me Timbers

A friend and I recently discussed the ability to keep on writing when the story lacks a certain quality. We’re talking passion, crunch, or shivers of excitement. Can you keep moving forward when you fall out of love with your story, or when it’s a story not of the heart? Maybe you were contracted to write a story, or a series, decided to follow a market trend, tried a different genre, or you realized halfway through that the story no longer thrills you. So you have 40K words already. Do you ditch it? Do you push through and hope for the best?

I’m almost certain that every book I’ve written came to me as a simple idea that caused a tiny shiver of excitement. From that initial idea, weeks were spent taking it in many directions before a clear story path evolved. But always that initial idea stayed forefront in my mind.     A beautiful young college student writing on a notebook outdoor

Like many writers, I will be somewhere in the middle of writing a new story when glimmers of another one start showing up. I write those thoughts down, file them, and get back to the current story. I try not to let too much of the new story idea seep in. That physical act of writing the thoughts down is often enough to quiet the new shiny thing that looks glamorous as I’m wading through the muck of the middle of the work in progress.

But what do you do when the ideas no longer appeal, or the idea well dries up? What if you realize that you are nearing the completion of your current story and there have been no glimmers of the next one? What if no saucy temptress has been flashing her cheeky grin and no hero has been giving you that sexy wink?

Pirate with Parrot, PortraitShiver me timbers! September 19th is the annual talk like a pirate day. Aargh!

Go have some fun. Talk funny, have an adventure, take a different road, walk at the ocean’s edge, or sit in a crowd and observe human nature.

I’m betting you’ll return with more story ideas than you can find time to write. Choose the one that causes the shiver…you’ll never go wrong.


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16 Responses to Shiver Me Timbers

  1. Samanthe says:

    Arrgh! Went all the way to the elementary school and back before I knew it was Talk Like A Pirate Day! I will have to wait until this afternoon to embarrass the little guy in front of his classmates. 😉

    I unusually find the 30k word mark to be my “push through” point, where I’m tempted to cheat on my characters and chase after some sexy new idea. Like you, I try to jot ’em down and save them for when I’m “available” again.

    • robena grant says:

      Oops! No, it’s September 19th, so you have quite a while before the embarrassing pirate talk must take place. I had jumped the gun. ; )

      I think my darn it point is also about 30-40 K.

  2. Kelly says:

    Ha! I’m currently being tempted by newest story. Thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow!

  3. I have a story twinkling in the back of my mind inspired by a picture I saw on Facebook. But I’m shoving it away till I finish my current revisions.
    Robena, one of the funnest things Pen and Ink ever did was our filming a Pirate Alphabet at the SCBWI Summer Conference.
    You won’t believe who participated. I Spoke to Judy Blume about doing it and she said yes, but I couldn’t locate our cameraman before she had to leave.

    • robena grant says:

      Thanks for that, susan. I will definitely check it out. We lost electricity for four hours today, huge storm, flooding, more rain on the way so I’ll shut down in a bit. But I’ll check tomorrow. : )

  4. Gina B. says:

    There’s nothing quite like that first shiver you get with a brand new idea…I need that initial spark to get me started. Whenever I get stuck or tired, I try to remind myself of whatever spark made me start writing the book in the first place. Sometimes it helps me get through the tough spots 😀

    • robena grant says:

      Thanks for coming by, Gina. I know we’ve discussed this. ; ) I’m like you, I love the shiver, if there’s no shiver there’s no story for me. And it’s funny, that shiver can come from anywhere, an interesting heroine with a story to tell, a hot hunky hero to explore, a story premise, an eerie location…shivers do not limit themselves.

  5. hehehe that’s also my mama’s birthday

  6. Dee J. says:

    Happens to me every time I get near the end of a book. I complain that I have NOTHING in mind for the next project. Next thing I know, boom, I get a sliver of an idea and manage to run with it. Aye, matie… it’s a good feeling. LOL. Hope you’re drying up over there in the desert! Scary day for you!

  7. Hi Robena – If I waited for shivers every time I began a book, I’d never get any books written. I find the middle of the book issue resolves if I’ve done my homework in advance and ironed out the GMC for the characters. Sometimes the middle of the book is the most exciting part for me to write. I cross fingers that readers will find that to be the case, anyway.

    I like you plan to write down the winky-eyed story luring you away from your book in order to complete that which you’ve already started.

  8. Janie Emaus says:

    Yep. Got to keep those shivers alive! I just read your email about the rain. I hope everything is under control by now.

  9. robena grant says:

    Thanks, Janie. We’re drying out now, and poor Phoenix is suffering. It was the wildest thing I’ve ever experienced. We had 4.2 inches in under two hours in La Quinta cove. Wild.