Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Space Chicken, Intergalactic Milk Delivery Poultry

In which I eventually get to my new favorite technique for getting unstuck while writing, I promise. But first, a word on zombies and poultry.

My husband* would take issue with my last post. He says you can't have a checklist of what makes a great novel without one of the following:

  1. zombies
  2. nanotechnology (preferably a swarm of tiny robots gone bad)

He would probably also grudgingly accept the following:
  1. fire
  2. defenestration
  3. shape shifters
  4. a biological villain, such as a supervirus**

In fact, whenever I write something new, my husband inquires which of the above it contains. He is always disappointed. He would like the social conflicts in my classroom oriented picture books to be more often resolved through clone wars.***

Now, Tinkerbell loves my books. But, she REALLY loves the stories her dad tells her in the bathtub, which revolve around the exciting adventures of Space Chicken, Intergalactic Milk Delivery Poultry, whose efforts to bring fresh cold milk to all of our universe's children (alien and otherwise) are constantly thwarted by circumstance and occasionally goofy bad guys.

The fact is, the Space Chicken stories are fun. Fun to make up, fun to hear.

Which bring us to my new favorite technique for getting unstuck. You know those times when you have something to write, or to revise, and just isn't coming? It just looms over you, dreaded and humongous? Your house is spotless, your bills are paid, and you've created hand-made paper scrapbooks for your pets -- anything to avoid putting pen to paper? Here is your assignment:

Choose one item from the lists above and use it. I am not joking. I don't care if you're writing an 18th century romance; have the lovers attacked by zombies. Make the mama bunny toss the baby bunny out the window.

I am willing to bet three things:
  1. It will be much easier to write the scene (or whatever) than however you're trying it
  2. It will be much more fun to write as well
  3. Even though you can't use the scene like this, you'll find something, some little tidbit, that you can use. And hopefully having that little bit will make the whole thing start to come together.
Let me know. And if you need more, try here, which is what inspired my sharing this.

* My husband is actually quite well-read and enjoys many books without any robots. Just not as much, I think.
** Preferably one that speeds through the air and is neurologically devastating so that our hero can be a pediatric neurologist with a penchant for research and several letters in track...
*** Also, he would also like me to refer to him in future posts as "The Mighty Thor."


J. Thorp said...

I gotta meet your family ...

Jacqui said...

Does this mean you-know-who may have zombies in his next speech?

J. Thorp said...

We have zombies in every speech. Oh, wait -- you meant in the text, didn't you?

C.R. Evers said...

Oh Jacqui! You made my day! It's not every day my blog is linked and cause for inspiration! :0) (big grin)

That sounds like such a fun way to approach writers block! It's just crazy enough to rocket launch a writer out of sink hole!

p.s. your family sounds like fun!
I like the way you guys think.

Angela Ackerman said...

I like how your hubby thinks. You can never go wrong with zombies. Great idea for when I get stuck!

Mary Witzl said...

I'll have to try that zombie thing -- it sounds promising! Currently what I do is go out and dig up dandelions in our backyard. We have approximately two zillion and never seem to run out, which is a comfort, considering how often I get stuck.

Another thing I might recommend is editing engineering papers. I once slogged through a dreary, error-filled 158-page dissertation on mineral assemblages and was just chomping at the bit to get back to my stalled protagonists.

Jacqui said...

Mmm. Mineral assemblages as punitive measure for failure to write. I like it.

Boni Ashburn said...

Jacqui- I have been meaning to tell you how much I am enjoying your blog (but have been both busy and lazy, if that is possible), and this post reminded me and seemed like the perfect occasion to finally do so. I love your sense of humor- and apparently the Mighty Thor's too! Keep up the great work :)

Jacqui said...

Boni! Thank you so much.

And I, too, feel both lazy and busy almost every day...

Tk said...

See, I suck at storytelling. Lack of imagination or fear of imprecision, take your pick. But I will for realz use that list next time I need to do some of the yarn-spinning. (And who says I can't comment on a post 8 months old?)

Jacqui said...

Not I, Tk.