Sometimes writers can be very… weird. Sometimes they just plain don’t make much sense at all. I’m here to help you figure out if your writing friend has a new idea floating around in their head. As a fellow writer, I think I know exactly how it goes.
- The random burst of inspiration. This is the part where a writer is doing something perfectly ordinary and then… it strikes. The inspiration! The amazement! It might come from a certain photo on Facebook, or an innocent remark made by a friend. Sometimes it comes from following writing prompt boards on Pinterest or even a photo writing prompt board. Something! Anything! Things to watch for: wide eyes as they suddenly see something amazing, randomly changing trains of thought, making no sense, babbling.
- The plotting phase. There’s this segment of time in between getting the idea and actually writing. It’s the plotting phase. This is the part where the writer has to decide what in the world is that main character’s name?? and more importantly do the horses talk… or not?? Occasionally they also worry about minor things like the motivation for the main bad guy or why the ponies can talk. But usually not. Those things come during the writer’s block phase. Things to watch for: muttering under their breath, asking which guy in the photo is more hero-y looking, acting out pieces of dialogue… among other things.
- The writing phase. This is the phase where the writer actually writes. Furiously. Expect to be unintentionally sidelined. Trust me, the writer does not want or mean to hurt your feelings, it just… just… the story! The characters! The people! With all that stuff living in the writer’s brain, it can get a little crowded. The only way to make things better up there is to get it all out. Things to watch for: furiously writing. Everywhere. On napkins, scrap pieces of paper, on the computer, in their notebook(s)… The story must be written.
- The writer’s block. This doesn’t take that long to set in. As you can tell from the plotting phase… not much time is spent plotting! So when the writer runs out of steam… they can get a little lost occasionally. If they don’t have the right kind of nudge right about here, they can get a little lost, and flat out give up on their story. This is the time when they really need you to come up beside them and give them that nudge and explain how they aren’t a terrible writer and how the world is not going to end and how they can write this story. Things to watch for: discouragement, listlessness, excessive TV watching, the strange lack of writing…
- The second writing phase. After your encouragement, the writer is back at it, writing away. However, it is no longer a new idea and thus out of the range of this post. Tell them good luck on their soon to be New York Best Seller and Newberry winner!