One of my favorite bloggers, mywitherhins, shared a fantastic idea wherein a writer creates a love list in regards to a work in progress, (which originated from Stephanie Perkins on Natalie Whipple’s blog).  The practice is meant to revitalize creativity for the project, while also helping to keep the focus on what is working in the story. Essentially, the Love List is a collection of everything a writer loves about a WIP, whether it be characters, setting, the writing process, or anything that gives a reason to keep writing!  This is the ultimate individual motivator that will give your muse a supreme kick in the butt!

For the better part of this year, I’ve been working on my second novel.  The first draft is near completion (we’re talking one chapter shy of the end), but a slight plot change I made a couple chapters ago has put a kink in the original ending I had planned.  My muse and I are working overtime to solve the problem, which unfortunately doesn’t show much in terms of overall word count.  A lack of physical progress has left me a little discouraged, but I have a feeling the Love List will put me back on track.

Novel #2 Love List

1) Experimental Beginning – The first sentence of Novel #2 came from an experimental free write. I liked what was happening so much, I kept writing.  The story came flying out of me as if it had been there all along and it didn’t take long for the entire framework to appear in my head.  I remember staying up until 2 a.m. on a work night to finish the basic layout.  I was that excited about it and I still am!

2) Fantasy Genre – I’ve read fantasy all my life, but never thought to write my own fantasy stories. Novel #2 created the opportunity to explore this genre and I love it!

3) Out of My Comfort Zone – Everything about the story, genre, and characters has me thinking outside the box.  Nothing about this book falls into my usual realm of writing.  It’s a breath of fresh air for me every time I sit down to write.

4) Main Character #1 – Amanda.  She’s tough, funky, and fiercely independent. She’s a 17-year-old who graduated high school early in order to take care of her invalid mother.  She loves the Beatles and Charlotte Brontë.

5) Main Character #2 – Ian. He’s calm, pensive, and compassionate. He has a secret that holds him back from everything he wants, including Amanda. He’s tall and lanky with sandy blonde hair and always wears a worn out pair of leather flip-flops.

6) The Setting – The bulk of the story takes place in Phoenix, AZ in the summer.  The heat plays a strong role in the story in terms of imagery and plot development.

7) The Soundtrack – As with everything I write, I have a playlist for my characters and the storyline. It includes everything from new age to rock and covers the novel from beginning to end. Some artists include: Delerium, Mysteria, Muse, Junip, Death Cab for Cutie, Owl City, Yanni, and The Beatles.  As I jump into the final scenes, Muse’s “Map of Problematique” plays on a continuous loop:

8) Imagination Meets Mythology – I’ve created a unique world that has roots in known mythologies.  The history teacher in me reveled in the idea of reinventing old myths into something entirely new.

9) New Words – The world and mythology I’ve created called for the invention of new words.  It’s been beyond fun to come up with original terms to describe things that only exist in my story.

10) First person POV – I made the decision to write in first person from Amanda’s point of view, even though I’d never written anything in first person.  In addition, I took a bigger risk in opting to write in present tense as a means to highlight a major theme of the novel.

11) The Twist at the End – I never even saw it coming until the character told me. The revelation left me reeling for days.  It’s a cliffhanger, folks!

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Whether you are writing a novel, short story, picture book, or poem try creating a Love List to keep your inspiration flowing!

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c.b.w. 2012

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