Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Not for Sale

"But for any writer worthy of the name there are moments during the writing process when the rest of the planet might as well have gone to Venus. And those moments are not for sale."


Today, let's take time to acknowledge our "aha!" moments.

Don't think about revision muck or query concerns or the waiting game or plot holes or time, time, time... Think about those moments when the words pour out of you and the rest of the world disappears.

Those moments are the reason we write - the small, but euphoric, victories.


What is one of your "not for sale" writing moments?

46 comments:

Aubrie said...

I usually have those moments when I drive and I have quiet time to think about my story. And then I try to jot whatever comes up on a receipt and shove it in my purse!

Thos are great moments!

Dawn Embers said...

When I get an idea is a good moment, but I think there is one better. The moment/time when the book seems to want to be written. I've spend long times on first drafts in the past, but this year I wrote 67,000 words on one novel just in March. That first draft is now finished and it felt great to write.

Great post idea here. :-)

Heather said...

My favorite aha moment was when I decided to let my character do what SHE would do and end the book that way. It was so natural and right that it brought tears to my eyes! I don't want to give the end away though ;)

Valerie Geary said...

Last week right before I fell asleep the complete plot of a short story I'd been thinking about writing slammed itself into my brain. I sat up until around midnight jotting down whatever my Muse shouted at me. Over the next 2 days I flushed the story out and perfected it. When I was done I sat back, took a deep breath and said "Damn... this is good." I felt like a genius for that brief, beautiful moment in time.

Lydia Kang said...

I love those moments! When I've just written a great scene, or got an incredible brainstorm. Love it!

Tracy said...

I can always tell when I have had an "aha" moment in one of my stories. It's the scene I keep going back and re-reading, because I like it so much!

L. T. Host said...

I just love writing. Well, first drafts, to be specific, when everything can still go my way. But I adore that fresh, clean story smell!

Carolyn V. said...

Ohhh, good question Shannon! I think when I finished my first book and said, "See! I knew I could do it!" Best aha moment ever. =)

Sheri Larsenッ said...

When I'd written my first YA ms, realized how much of an amateur I was, but for the love of my main character couple--took them, renamed the ms, re-wrote it from start to finish in less than a month knowing that this storyline was much better for them. That's when I'd known I'd grown. A'ha...

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Like Aubrie, I had an "Ah, ha!" moment while I was driving. As I drove home some nights back, I studied the lonely strip of interstate ahead of me. I reflected on how it intertwined into the dark oblivion where the lances of my headlights died, much like our lives do into the unknown of our future.


I looked up into the sky. Great waves of clouds washed over one another in misty billows. It felt as if a night of dark intent was coming. No, more than that. As if an age of dark intent seemed to be crouching just beyond the known horizon. And I thought of the beckoning sea with her whispered mysteries and tragic legends.

The thoughts turned inside my mind just a bit and the rusty mechanism of my muse went "click." And a way to describe the climax of my historical fantasy crystalized.

And, no, I didn't run into anyone while dream-gathering. It was a lonely rural interstate. Have a beautiful week. Roland

Kristi said...

Oh my goodness, thank you, Shannon!

I'm in one of my "revising is horrible" moods today and missing the fun, writing moments that always begin with a new idea.

Ahhh...thanks for the reminder. Well, timed. ;-)

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

I tend to have my aha moments when I'm eating. Strange ... perhaps my senses come alive during that time.

Janna Qualman said...

Love this post, Shannon.

For me, it's any moment the words finally gel and say exactly what's needed. Better than any other combination or phrasing. That's it.

KarenG said...

Thanks for visiting my blog today! I love this idea of "not for sale" moments. I'll have to think about it!

Kimberly Franklin said...

Aha moments are the best! It's the only reason I write. But they are always better when you can execute them properly, which is sometimes easier said than done! :)

Roxane B. Salonen said...

I had an emotional moment when I came up with the ending that was right with my memoir. Like others here, I cried in that moment because of how things fell into place (this was after several go-arounds, mind you), and in recognition once again of the power of words!

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Great post. I love those not for sale moments. My favourite time is when I start to write, loose track of time and the world falls away. In that time it's just my characters flowing through my fingers.

Lisa_Gibson said...

I generally have these great ideas as I'm waking from sleep. I have to quickly grasp them before they vanish. Thankfully I keep a notebook on the nightstand. Now I just need to work on legibility. ;)

Theresa Milstein said...

Sometimes, I'm at a point in the book and realize, I've got something here! And when I get to the end of a WIP, there's a real feeling of creation, even thought it's a hot mess.

Elana Johnson said...

Oh, this is a great experience. For me, one of my best aha moments came when I learned about pacing. And it only happened about 8 months ago. I was like, "Yes! That makes total sense!!"

Cuz you know how you get people saying, "The pacing isn't fast enough," and you're like, "What the heck does that mean? Stuff happens, like, all the time."

Well, read Stein on Writing and you too can have this pacing moment of a lifetime.

Ha ha!

Mary Aalgaard said...

As soon as I set up my office space in a local coffee shop. I'm there, in the scene, my girls (charactes) are interacting. The other folks (IRL) in the shop are part of the story and part of the audience. Ahh, feels like that first sip of a morning mocha.

DL Hammons said...

Most of my moments come in the depths of night...when I'm all alone except for the music in my headphones...and I'm able to channel my imagination away from things that go bump in the night to my story instead. :)

Myrna Foster said...

I had one of those moments last month. I'd been struggling with the ending for months, and I realized something I'd changed last summer was messing up my story. So, I killed a character that I didn't want to, and I had the ending figured out as soon as I could type it.

Cheree said...

I love those moments. Apart from when I actually get to the end of the story, mine would have to be when I finally think of a way to make the plot work (this usually happens when I'm obsessing over it in the car or at work and I can't write it down straight away).

Terri Tiffany said...

I just started revisions this week. It's nice to remember those moments when something hit you--it was when I thought up this book but by the end of it you want it back!

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

How I love those moments. I had one yesterday and I am still glowing from it ;o)


Visit My Kingdom Anytime

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I had one of those moments the other day, and it didn't come during first draft gush. Instead I found it when revising and the scene took off and really hit it's stride. That was the first time I understood the concept that revising can by an opportunity for magic.

Susan Fields said...

Hooray for "aha!" moments! Mine usually come when I'm walking the dog and have time to hear my own thoughts.

There's something for you at my blog. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Love those moments! Once my daughter came into the room, stopped and asked why I was crying. I was writing a sad scene and hadn't realized I was in tears. I was definitely in the zone. :)

Christi Goddard said...

My greatest 'aha' moment ever was when I'd not written for years, then read an unfinished WIP online that the author had abandoned. I realized I could write the end myself, so I started the story over again my way, and I've been writing ever since. It got me back to doing what I forgot I loved so much, and now you can't tear me away.

Jen said...

Shannon what a wonderful idea!!!

My aha moments are when I let my character do what she wants and she makes it worth my while, no money can buy that. I also love when I look back and see what kind of world I created, sometimes I can't believe how creative I am... (sounds bad doesn't it!!)

I also will never forget that feeling of when I finished my first novel, it was amazing!

Jennie Englund said...

Sometimes (okay, a few times a week) when I go on a long walk, I get an idea for a chapter.

But I have nothing to write with/on.

So I flush it out as fully as I can in my head, it's like something I actually saw or remember.

Ann Marie Wraight said...

My special moments come at the 'witching hour'...I teach kids til around 10pm and am home by 11pm. Most of my writing takes place after midnight so I have utter peace in the house...sometimes I actually like what I've written at these moments!

Christina Lee said...

You mean like when a whole chapter writes itself and I look at it and think, "huh, how did that happen?" It's awesome, no?

Christina Farley said...

When I run I get the very best ideas. It's like my own personal muse.

Kittie Howard said...

Hi, Shannon, thanks for stopping by my blog. As a former high school/junior college English teacher, I must say that the work you do with young kids is too vital for words. And can't thank you enough for your patience and time. For a state certification program, we had to switch with the primary teachers and teach a unit that appealed. OMG! Just sitting in those tiny chairs was a challenge. Our knees! And we talked too fast, didn't ask the right questions...Has anyone flown in an airplane? -- and so on...hats off to you, Girl, for super work!!!

CMOM Productions said...

I love those moments! I'm hoping to have many more in the future. lol

Jackee said...

Brilliant!

I love the moments when I can just regurgitate the story out of my head, whether in outline or draft form. Worries about all else seems to dissolve.

Thanks for the great, inspirational post, Shannon!

Tory said...

I'm so glad you have reminded me of why I stay awake after all my kiddos have gone to sleep! Thank you! Tory

Cleverly Inked said...

This can definitely cross over to many meanings, Visualizing excellence

Niki said...

It's Elvis night on American Idol as I'm reading your post!! :o) Right at this moment Blue Suede Shoes hehe

Susan Quinn said...

You and your quotes are always so inspiring! :)

My not for sale moments come when I am rough drafting, on fire with a new idea. The real world literally disappears...

notesfromnadir said...

So many wonderful comments to read here and an excellent question to trigger them!

Some of my best ideas come when washing dishes. I've learned to have a pen and paper nearby. And a towel to dry my hands! :)

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

I <3 this picture!

Simon C. Larter said...

I love those nights. Last time I was at a bar (I know... try to stifle your surprise), and writing longhand. The story just gripped me, and I couldn't write fast enough to get the words on the paper. I think I frightened the waitress a bit with all my intense scribbling and wild-eyed staring into the distance. Huh. Perhaps I should stick to writing at home....

Terresa said...

Fab Lenhart quote. And the Elvis one, too. Fab!

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