Overheard at Writers’ Brainstorming Weekend

(c) Sloan Parker, 2010

Recently I spent a weekend at a house on a lake with my local writing group. We alternated between writing and helping each other brainstorm story ideas. Here’s some of what was overheard during the weekend:

  • “The Fire Lube and Goo stories.”
  • “Life’s too short to spend it in retail.”
  • “We can’t help because of the prime directive.”
  • “I showed the neighbors my ta-tas.”
  • “Now that we got our juices flowing…”
  • “He doesn’t play our reindeer games” (about our only man who left the room when we started killing off characters with poisoned Viagra)
  • “I was a whiny bitch.” (from our only man)
  • “What’s wrong with his nipples?”

And perhaps my fave…

  • “My hero’s nickname is Meat.” Followed by… “His friend’s name should be Buns.” And then you know where I went… “It can be an m/m. Slap the Meat and Buns together.”

And of course that led us to…

  • “You gotta give him a T-shirt that says Eat the Meat

I love this group of writers! There aren’t words to express how reaffirming and energizing it is to hang with other people who get the drive to spend hours and hours creating characters and stories from nothing but your imagination.

You Never Know What You’ll Hear at a Writers’ Brainstorming Retreat

(c) istockphoto.com, Zhenikeyev 2011

Two weeks ago I attended a brainstorming event with some of the writers in my local writing group. It was my third year attending this annual event, and I had such a fabulous time. Not only is it productive in generating story ideas, it’s also a time to recharge my writing energy. Just hanging with these fabulous women (and our lone, brave man who slept in a lake cottage with 12 women) gets me excited about writing. These people have amazing energy and talent. I’m always in awe of their creativity.

We spent the weekend talking about each other’s stories and coming up with titles, plot ideas, ways to kill off characters (don’t worry, that wasn’t mine), and more. We have writers of all genres and heat levels in the group. From contemporary to sci-fi. From sweet inspiration to steamy erotic romance and erotica. Most write romance, but some don’t.

So what kinds of things did I hear that weekend? Here’s a sampling:

“He’s a schizophrenic vampire priest!”

“Die, bitch, die!” (which worked for several of the stories)

“Orgasmoplasm“

“Hooha goo”

“Viagraville”

“Regrow the cherry!”

“Everybody use frickidous in a sentence.” Our 18-year-old, youngest member immediately told us all to, “Go frickidous yourselves.”

“bilabial frickidousness and glaodal stoppages”

And perhaps my favorite…“We need to make his junk grow!”

So yeah, it was a blast. Thanks ladies and Ray! I had a wonderful time.

Link Roundup: m/m Role Playing Game, Customize an m/m, A Coming Out & more

  • A Rush of Ideas: my group blog post where I talk about one of the aspects I love most about writing: the start of a new story. As I work on Walter and Kevin’s book, I’m getting the ideas down for a new story, and I’m having a fantastic time with it (and yes, I still have two more MORE books coming also). I love when there is no shortage of ideas.
  • A yaoi role-playing game: Hot Guys Making Out. I read what one guy said about playing this game (in a private email) and it sounds neat. (Thanks to my uncle for sharing this one. Thanks, T!)
  • Interesting… an M/M romance in which you enter your own details and customize the book.
  • Joanna Stampfel-Volpe responds to a recent PW blog post on LGBTQ YA. On Being Used, the Lack of LGBTQ Characters in YA, and Why It’s Important to Work Together


Source: (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • Repeal of gay ban causing few waves in military
  • Airman tells dad he is gay as ‘don’t ask’ policy disappears. From his Youtube video: “I called my dad to tell him the hardest thing that gay guys will ever have to say.” Brought back memories of talking to my own parents. Not an easy thing to do even when everyone already suspects. (thanks to my niece for sharing the link. Thanks, A!)
  • As gay military ban ends, officer sheds his alias
  • I haven’t really had time to check out this blog but it looks interesting: gaytwogether
  • For the writers out there, this is an excellent article from Joseph O’Connor. He shares his tips for writing fiction and I’ve included a couple fab quotes below.
  • As Checkov said: ‘Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me moonlight reflected on broken glass.’ One of the strangest paradoxes of writing fiction is that the more you tell the reader, the less he or she knows. If you write ‘we were very happy indeed’ the reader thinks ‘big deal’. If you write ‘we grabbed each other and hugged and we couldn’t stop laughing’ the reader is in the scene. Putting the reader in the scene is everything to the storyteller. So describe what you can see, not what you know. Use visual words when possible. And never be afraid of leaving something out. Leaving something out is a powerful invitation to the reader, an incitement to the imagination of the person you must never forget. The reader is an essential participant in what you are writing. Meet them half way, and never more than that.
    - From: Joseph O’Connor
  • I think of it in musical terms. The writer is providing the sheet music. It’s the reader who is singing the song. To know who you’d like to make sing is an important factor. It also helps to stop writing being egotistical. Writing must always be about the reader, in the end, not the writer. If I have one single commandment, that’s it.
    - From:  Joseph O’Connor
  • And another one for writers: Paper Boats: Bail water or bail out? Knowing When to Abandon Your Wip by Josh Lanyon
  • And a little eye candy for everyone:
  • Lastly, because you know I love this site, here are some screenshots from Damn You Auto Correct

Have a great weekend, everyone! I’ll be doing some brainstorming with my local writing group. We have such a blast when we get together to work on our story ideas. The conversations that come up are priceless. Last year there was mention of Fire Lube and artificial immaculate insemination and orgasming (is that a word?) your way across a room full of bodies. I wonder what we’ll discuss this time around.

The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass

This week I worked on the outlines for several upcoming projects. I had some good moments, some frustrating ones, and others that were filled with horrible ideas that I quickly tore up. (Don’t ask because I will deny they ever existed)

Today, I had a breakthrough. I read a few passages from non-fiction books on writing and a light bulb went off (no, make that fireworks). Some of the best advice I’ve read about how to create believable villains and how to take a suspense story line and make it believable (no matter how implausible it is) came from a book titled The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. I haven’t read the entire thing yet, but from what I’ve read so far I recommend it for anyone writing fiction.

Anyway, just wanted to share that my outlines are moving along. My goal is to be back to writing Trapped (my third novel-length gay romantic suspense featuring Walter Simon from More) by August 1.

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. And happy 4th of July to my US followers. Happy belated Canada Day to those of you in Canada.

Sloan

Take That Writer’s Block!

Once a week I post about something I’m loving (tv, movies, books, art, photos, romances, authors, or anything else). So here is this week’s For the Love of…

Last week I started plotting a new book. I wrote character sketches for my two heroes and filled over 100 index cards with plot, character, and scene ideas. Then this week I tore up some of the cards, got disappointed with a few of the ideas that I had been really excited about, stared off into space for a while, cursed all the little note cards, and was just starting to get frustrated (as if I wasn’t already) when it was time to quit for the day. The next day I was ready to throw everything out when an idea hit me that had me excited about the story again, excited about telling the journey of these men.

I just love it when stuff like that happens. Take that writer’s block! I pushed on through and am happily back to working on Walter’s story.

A shout out to these two little guys who were playing outside my window when the frustration hit. We have a woodsy area behind our house and the neighbors call it rabbit row. Watching them chase each other and play leapfrog made for a nice break from the stressful day. Thanks guys!

(c) Sloan Parker, 2010

Hope all my writing friends had a great writing week, and I hope all you readers enjoyed a good book.

Sloan Parker

Brainstorming – my next book is calling me

Once a week I post about something I’m loving (tv, movies, books, art, photos, romances, authors, or anything else). So here is this week’s For the Love of…

Writers are usually very solitary people. We spend hours and hours in our own heads, playing with thoughts and images until we get a story poured out onto the “paper.” We spend a lot of time listening to made-up people. It’s rewarding and challenging, but it can also suck when you get stuck on something. Group brainstorming can help.

Last weekend I spent two days with a group of local writers. We rotated between individual writing time and group brainstorming. It was a rare chance for me to get input and story inspiration from others, as well as an opportunity to help brainstorm in other genres. It was a productive, fun weekend. The entire process helped me get a jump-start on some conflict ideas for my next book.  (And let me just say, I’m so mean to my characters…it’s worth it though).

That’s the great thing about group brainstorming. No matter how many of the ideas I end up using, the entire process motivated me and also sparked my own ideas after I got home and my mind kept running through my story.

Thanks to my writing pals: Connie, Jennie, Lesly, Rita, and KateLynn. You guys rock!! I loved hearing about your stories. Best of luck on your writing!

Any other writers out there ever try group brainstorming, either online or in person? What process works for you?

I’d love to hear about it.
Sloan Parker