Although Beth Caudill grew up in West Virginia, she currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, two sons and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who makes an excellent lap warmer. Blending the analytical and creative sides of her brain, she delights in creating fantasy worlds for others. Catch her online most days, except when NCIS and Once Upon a Time air. Read more about her at her website.
Creating Something Positive When Your Muse Deserts You
|Author Nightmare – The Blank Screen of Doom|
Writing a story is always an adventure. No matter how many books you’ve created, the process is full of wonder and frustration. Interesting things happen when the process no longer works.
I needed to take some time off last year after publishing Enchantress’ Destiny, the second novella in my Paranormals of Arilase series. I was homeschooling both my sons and the oldest, who had started high school, was not adjusting well. We made it through summer, and he started a new private school with small classrooms.
My youngest is still at home and while he started middle school, I do have time to write. I thought I’d be able to make good progress in the fall. Except my writing went nowhere. My usual process wasn’t working, I couldn’t get a handle on my characters, and words didn’t magically appear on the page.
I can’t express how frustrating it was for me to know I finally had the time to write, but the stories that had always been in my life weren’t there when I sat down at the computer. I’d get glimpses of scenes while driving or in the shower, but when I was at the computer there was nothing. Just a black well of emptiness.
I needed to try something new. But staring at Character and Plot Worksheets gave me hives. Line upon line of information to fill out. As a pantster, my muse shuts down every time I look at them. (You can search on “Character Worksheet” and find tons of examples, anywhere from 3 pages to 20+ pages of information.)
That’s why I’d developed my digital story bible. I could fill in a limited amount of information and add to it as I wrote. But now I needed to do something non-digital. Something tactile to help my creative muse along.
In college I had to write notes, even when professors provided copies of lectures, in order to remember things. A recent study also discovered that students have a better understanding of material when they hand write their notes versus using a laptop.
I needed to create my own paper version of my digital process. Something fun to design yet still provides the information for my story. An area for brainstorming, characters, plot, world building, and research. Pages for notes and sections for maps and character sketches.
Here is an example of one of the plot pages from the Mystery Writer’s Mini Story Bible for Bedside and Travel.
When I started, I thought it would be ten to fifteen pages. In reality, I ended up with fifty plus pages to capture everything necessary for one story.
While I write mostly fantasy, I have friends who create science fiction, historical, and urban fantasy stories. We all need to collect similar information; only specific details may differ. With feedback from my friends Judy Teel and Sky Purington, I put together a collection of six print mini story bibles for writers to store their initial story ideas.
Best of all, I’ve been able to make progress on writing again. I’m hard at work on the third novella in my Paranormals of Arilase series.
The Mystery Writer’s Mini Story Bible for Bedside and Travel
Imagine. Discover. Write.
The Mystery Writer’s Mini Story Bible for Bedside and Travel is your first stop along the path to writing. You set the pace for exploring the imaginary worlds and conflicts within your stories.
Each book section includes an area for you to brainstorm words associated with your idea, detail pages for up to five characters including picture and attire frames, diagram and notes for cataloging your plot points including the murder layout, space to sketch settings and scenes, lines for recording your research and more.
Keep your story details in one convenient journal that easily travels or resides next to your bed. Ideas come at all hours of the day, don’t lose your thoughts because you couldn’t find paper.