iUniverse Blog has recently had the great pleasure in letting Rising Star author Rebecca Linam tell us the secrets of her writing inspiration and her specific inspiration for her latest children’s book, Alex the Great. Now she takes us through her writing process and provides some excellent tips along the way.
iUniverse author Rebecca Linam writes from experience
Write about things that have left an impact on you. Write about things you would like to read yourself. If you think something’s hilarious, get it down on paper. If something’s so sad that you can’t stop thinking about it, it’s probably good plot material. Aside from these, there are three other things that I use to help set the scene when developing a novel: a soundtrack, pictures from magazines, and a notebook.
iUniverse author Rebecca Linam and music
Music has a profound impact on movies. When I write, I see the events happening in my head just as if it were a movie, and since movies always have soundtracks to help invoke the proper mood, I always make a soundtrack for my books. Often, I’ll be driving down the road, and a song will come on the radio, and I’ll think, “Hey, that sounds kind of like it could be about my character!” Then whenever I hear the song again, I imagine what scene would be taking place right about then in the novel. Depending on how many characters are in the novel, I might have specific songs for specific characters. Sometimes I have just a few general songs that relate to the whole story line. Finally, I burn them all to a CD and listen to it every now and then to keep the mood of my story line burning bright. I know it will never get released to the public, but it’s still nice to add to my website a list of songs and then a page number describing when the song would probably get played if it were a movie.
iUniverse author Rebecca Linam and pictures
Next, I keep an eye out for pictures that remind me of my novel’s setting. I know magazines are going the way of the scroll and slide rule, but they have a nostalgic feel about them that reminds me of the printed word. If I see a picture in a magazine (or the newspaper or the internet) that is similar to a scene or a person in my novel, I cut it out or print it out and keep them all together. If I hit a snag and can’t write any further, I look at them and maybe listen to the soundtrack to get inspired. I keep them all in my notebook.
iUniverse author Rebecca Linam takes notes
Speaking of which, I write all my novels in a physical notebook. It helps with the editing process. I write, and then I type when I’m finished with a chapter. Usually I end up making changes as I type. I know it probably sounds pointless, but depending on the type of the book I’m writing, I tend to gravitate towards certain types of notebooks. For Alex the Great, I used regular spiral school notebooks with wide-ruled paper and wrote with a pencil. It seemed more school-like and helped me to think of the school-related story line. For The Journey of the Nightisans, I used journals with Chinese-style cloth binding because it reminded me more of a fantasy type setting. I wrote each chapter in a different color ink, alternating in the order of green, red, blue, and black. Novels can get written just on the computer, but each of the peculiarities above helps each novel to have its own set of characteristics, almost as if it were a real, live person.