Linda G. Hill

Life in progress

#SoCS – Novel Ideas

51 Comments

I often have ideas for novels but are any of them really novel ideas? They say there are only seven plots in the world. Just like there are only seven notes (not including sharps/flats) and yet look how many variations there are to play them.

I’ve always wanted to be able to play an instrument. I love music. I love listening to people play who I can hear are really feeling the music. But I have no talent of my own. I started with the recorder in elementary school (drove my parents crazy) then I graduated to the clarinet (drove them even crazier) and at one point I even played the oboe. I drove everyone crazy with that – they took me off it after three days.

I inherited my dad’s two guitars – a 12-string Yamaha acoustic, and a 6-string Guild electric/acoustic jazz guitar. The latter is worth some money, but I’d rather play it than sell it. Except I can’t. As many times as I’ve tried to learn, I can’t.Β  Ah well.

My NaNo project isn’t going very well. I’m having a hard time getting into it, and I think it’s because of what I’m reading right now. I need to be reading a novel that is in tune with what I’m trying to write. So if I’m writing something that is along the purely story-telling line, I need to read something like Stephen King, who is a master of storytelling. Right now I’m attempting literary fiction. It’s a huge leap for me, but I’m trying to get out of my comfort zone a little. I need to read literary fiction, to get the feel of it. Instead, I’m reading two other fantastic books, Eating Bull by Carrie Rubin and Eve of Darkness by S.J. Day. (You can find links to them both in my Goodreads widget on the right side of the screen. Below my twitter feed.) I don’t want to put either of them down but… NaNo is only 30 days long – and I’m soooo behind in my word count. I’m up to 4,300 words – by the end of tomorrow I’m supposed to hit 10K. Not going to happen with Alex at home. I need some fire under my butt. Or I need to rethink my novel. I suppose it’s not too late. What’s another 4,300 words, after all?

Or hey, maybe I just need some background music. Maestro! Where the hell are you, Maestro?

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This musical rant was brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Click the link and see how you can join in: https://lindaghill.com/2016/11/04/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-nov-516/

Author: LindaGHill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

51 thoughts on “#SoCS – Novel Ideas

  1. Pingback: One Liner Wednesday – From My Editor | No Facilities

  2. You think the oboe drove them crazy? I played the trumpet at school.

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  3. I’ve always thought November was a tough month to do something like NaNo. There’s always so much going on, it seems. January would be a better fit–it’s a gloomy month and perfect for writing. πŸ™‚

    Thank you so much for mentioning my book. Much appreciated. And best of luck with the rest of NaNo. No matter how many words you complete, it’s that many more words than you’d have if you didn’t write at all!

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  4. Dear Linda, you have always been such an inspiration. I would suggest that you take things a bit slowly and not to put much pressure on yourself.
    Here is my take on the word ‘novel’. Hope you cheer up and be a on a roll as usual. Neel
    https://neelwritesblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/07/neelwritesblogsocs-novel-ideas07112016/

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  5. Best of luck on your NaNo…I think everyone who even attempts this challenge is amazing! And you are doing it while being a fulltime mom and all the other amazing things that you do! One day I would love to write 4300 words of fiction, but I am not sure I could do it! Perhaps I will try to commit to 4300 during November in a “running alongside the marathoners for a couple blocks” kind of “you can do it” gesture πŸ™‚ Because I know *you* can do it SuperLinda!

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  6. John’s suggestion about the guitar strings is great. I’m currently learning how to play guitar and when I switched out the basic strings it came with, it helped a lot. Also, keeping the instrument cared for and easy to access encourages practice more because then it’s just a sit-down and pick-up to start practicing.

    When it comes to groups of 7, I think of colors before I think of music notes. 7 colors of the rainbow, but look at how many combinations and hues/shades can be perceived by the human eye! Human perception is definitely an adept at labeling and categorizing sensory permutations.

    As for NaNo~ when I struggle with getting into my novel during NaNo-times, well… right now, I open that document up and I stare the sucker down until it gives. Sometimes, I’ll pace around… but really, it is, a literal ‘staring it down’ like challenging an animal or one of those weird Planet Earth stand-offs.

    During this action, I go through questions that either will figure out why I’m struggling so much (do I just not want to write? Taking a relaxation break usually is the solution to that), or what to do next in the novel. Ask questions like ‘If I was reading this, what would /I/ want to read happening next’. If all else fails, just keep typing something – even if it’s completely unrelated to the plot or novel on a whole – and come back to it with an edit hatchet later.

    If you decide to start a new novel, I’d suggest to include the entire word count of both because NaNo is a process/journey. There are a fair few NaNo-ers who include any writing they do in the month as their word count, such as doing short stories and the like. It’s entirely up to you if you want to be hard on yourself when it comes to the 50k-exactly-novel aspect.

    Also, (sorry I wrote so much, lol… felt like responding) literary fiction? What does literary fiction mean to you? I was researching this just the other day, so am curious how you define literary fiction? One of my favorite literary titles is Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. :3

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    • Thanks for your detailed response and your suggestions, Dominika. I like your approach for when you get stuck. πŸ™‚
      I see literary fiction as something more in-depth than mainstream. Something that’s freer to explore themes and other literary devices such as characterization. The sort of stuff you can discuss in detail in an English class. πŸ˜› It’s proving difficult to write on the fly!

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  7. You are a wonderful writer Linda, so if you are not feeling it writing this novel, then it may be worth just trashing it and starting something else. It might flow better if you choose something different, and you will be able to catch up, rather than struggling along with this one that you are not happy with. πŸ™‚

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  8. Don’t beat yourself up — rule number one; know if you really can RIGHT NOW is rule number two. Doesn’t mean you can’t write a novel, means RIGHT NOW just ain’t the time for it. Deciding not to isn’t defeat — it’s a victory of understanding yourself.
    Heck, how many books do you want published in one year — don’t get greedy, lol.
    But if you continue — good luck. You have plenty of novels in you wanting to come out at their leisure I suspect.
    Lighter strings will make a different with the guitar. So will tuning. John’s suggestion about D’Addario strings is a good one. No, I have no musical talent — I play the kazoo — but hubby plays and those are the brand strings he uses — manufactured not far from where we live.
    OMG — did it again, a SoC comment. Bye and good luck. If you want some one to read stuff, I can read stuff. I used to be an assistant editor believe it or not.

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    • Thanks so much for the offer, my dear. I may take you up on it one day. πŸ™‚
      I did keep going after all, and it’s going pretty well. It’s not flowing fast enough to get caught up, but I’m not getting any farther behind either.
      Thanks for the info on the strings. I’ll look for the brand name. πŸ™‚
      Cheers!

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      • Your A+ in editing means your good — just sometimes I find editing my own stuff the hardest.
        The company has a website, and they might be able to match strings to your needs.
        Glad you don’t feel so over whelmed by the process.
        I’ll writing longer stories “on the side” but with no deadlines, I can push out an incredible number of words — not always good words — but words none the less. Good luck.

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  9. Why are you putting yourself under such pressure! Write what to know about you have huge life experience!
    Music something with a story and something inspiring

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    • Thank you, Willow. πŸ™‚ I’ll listen to the song when my computer decides to cooperate. πŸ˜›
      I am a bit of a masochist, aren’t I? The good news is the story’s starting to move along now. Maybe I just needed all the encouragement I find here on my blog from friends like you. πŸ™‚

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  10. All the best with it. I started but I am stalling because it seems I have far too many nuts burning in my fire right now. Give it your best shot.

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  11. I find that reading books and watching movies in the area I’m writing in does help a lot. You should definitely switch tactics. All the best#

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  12. I’m sorry to hear about your NaNo project. Although it’s still the first week, so you have plenty of time to make up the difference. Take a deep breath. You got this.

    You have my email. Shoot me one if you need to bounce ideas.

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    • Thank you, Matt. I did manage to pick up the pace again when the kiddie went back to school yesterday. We’ll see how far I get with his upcoming four-day weekend. πŸ˜›
      I appreciate your offer. Might just take you up on it. πŸ™‚

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  13. I’m stuck on that “there are only 7 plots in the world” stat. Never heard it before, and I have to say that it’s kind of freaking me out!!

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      • While glancing over the wikipedia summary, I’m not convinced of 7-plots-ever. It seems simplistic, relying on generalities too heavily, though offering a direction to create a plot that isn’t included in the 7 categories. I wonder how many alternative and ‘forgotten’ stories were included in compiling the 7 Umbrellas or if known/classical/popular works were mostly used to build the framework?
        I’m going to read the book, to see what the author meant, because upon glancing at the index of the actual book, it already seems a lot more complex than the wikipedia entry makes it out to be. Haven’t come across it before now, though! …Or maybe I did and back then, didn’t give it the time of day. :3

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  14. Try learning a few chords, then grab an easy songbook and learn to play one or two songs. After a while, things will click.

    As for the writing, pick a starting point somewhere inside the 4300 words you already have and pick up the story from there. If you have someone walking through a door, do something crazy when they get inside the door. You know, improvise…

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    • Chords are the worst! I don’t have the strength in my hands to push the strings against the fret board hard enough. Maybe I’m using the wrong strings… πŸ˜›
      Good idea on the writing. I’ll give that a try. Thanks, John. πŸ˜€

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      • There are lighter-gauge strings that are a little easier on the fingers. Go to a music shop and talk to the guys there. They should be able to make some recommendations. What I used when I was playing: For the electric, try Ernie Ball Extra Slinky with string diameters from .008 in to .038 in; on the twelve-string, aim for .010 on the high E to .046 on the low E. D’Addario has phosphor bronze sets in those gauges.

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      • You need lighter gauge strings or the action adjusting so my husband just informed me. As for nano… keep the word you have in the count and begin something you know. The thing is to reach the word count not that it all has to be one book. The original idea is just not yours yet. Good luck I’m rooting for you. πŸ˜‡ A perfect response to the prompt.

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        • Thanks for the advice, Ellen. I decided to keep going on the novel, and it’s starting to pick up momentum. As for the strings, I’ll definitely look into it. πŸ˜€

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          • The Husband say’s any good music shop will chck the action and advise on the strings. Nurse your baby (book) but remember fresh air encourages growth, though a darkened room gave way to Miss Haversham. πŸ˜‰ good luck.

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  15. I loved Eating Bull. I wish you the best, but it might prove harder at times. You’re a great writer and you’re accomplishing a great deal given your current lifestyle limitations πŸ™‚

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  16. I’m trying to figure out how many posts I have to go back to get to 4,300 (disconnected) words. I think I’d be starting over 29 or 30 times if I tried this.

    Thanks again for the SoCS challenge – I always have fun when your prompt gets the words flowing.

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  17. Nothing is easy is it especially when there are distractions living around you…..as i say in my SOC I admire those of you capable of writing any sort of work that requires your attention for long periods of time, my immature and wayward mind prevents me doing that as well as a lack of interest….I only wrote interesting things in my life (Plays and musicals) because I had a ‘captive’ audience you might say….and it was fun exploring the many ways to say any one line…..good luck with your venture Linda..

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    • Thank you, Michael. πŸ™‚ I’ve been having a hard time getting into the “zone” of late, knowing that I’m likely to be interrupted at any given point. To get there, I’ve been playing silly mindless games. Long periods of time are a rarity for me.
      I admire your ability to write a musical. That would be much more than I could handle.

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