Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 20 - Writer's Block and Mining for Ideas Through Generators

For me, writing is much like riding a bike along mountainous terrain with bouts of terrible struggle to get up the hill followed by the exhilaration of gliding swiftly down the other side.

I thought that detailed outlining and planning would be helpful, and it has been - but not this week. This week has been a struggle. While I have been diligent about sitting down to write every day, the story has eluded me.

This week has been a test of my fortitude as a writer. When the writing is going well, it is easy to say, "I love writing." When the writing is going badly, it is easy to ask, "What was thinking when I decided to write a novel?" For me, the thoughts of being a failure actually work as an impetus pushing me forward. It keeps me working even though I may only write 100 words, and that scant offering is like trying to take a bone away from a hungry dog.

I keep at it because I realize this is just a part of the journey. Eventually, I will reach the crest of that hill and fly down the other side.

What Do I Do When I'm Struggling with Writing?

I use the times when I am slogging along up the mountain to engage in my 3 R's. I read. I revisit. And I research.

READ - This week's reading has been provided courtesy of Richard Matheson's Nightmare at 20,000 Feet: Horror Stories. Matheson's writing inspires me. His stories epitomize the fact that sometimes the worst monsters come from within us.

REVISIT - Sometimes it's old stories, sometimes it's whatever I am currently working on. This week, it's been old writer's journals. Revisiting things I have previously written sometimes will jump start ideas for current projects or remind me of ideas for new projects. This week's offerings have inspired a couple of new short story ideas.

RESEARCH - This takes many forms depending on where my head is at when I begin. Sometimes it is research for a current project. Often it is craft research on some aspect of writing that I am working on. This week it was research for ideas. This week's research led me to the discovery of a ton of random writing generators, and these are what I am going to share with you today.

Random Writing Generators from Around the Web

  1. Plot Suggestions Generator from RanGen - choose a genre and get plot ideas.
  2. Random Title Generator - Gives 6 results at a time to help spark ideas. Also an excellent tool for free writing.
  3. Character Appearance Generator from RanGen - choose gender, type, and detail level. Get a brief physical character sketch.
  4. Bulk Identity Generator from Fake Name Generator- Need a crowd of identities? Look no further. Choose name sets, countries, genders, ages, fields to include (given name, surname, middle initial, address, and much more), and quantity (up to 50,000). The whole list will be delivered to your email as soon as it is complete.
  5. Identity Generator, also from Fake Name Generator - get a single detailed identity generated based on gender, name set, and country.
  6. Character Quirk Generator - Random ideas to make your character more unique.
  7. Character Motive Generator - Another offering from RanGen. Looking for what drives your characters? Find ideas here.
  8. Cause of Death Generator from This generator offers cause of death for characters, but the site has many other interesting generators to choose from.
  9. Fantasy Name Generator - Choose from a long list of types of names to generate, from serious to fun to specialized and generate away.
  10. Worlds Terrain Generator from RanGen - Where are your characters going next? Choose forest, ocean, desert, mountain, jungle, or river and receive a description of the area.
  11. Worlds City Generator from RanGen - Offers a collection of statistics to lay the foundation for your fictional city or town.
  12. City Map Generator - Downloadable program that allows users to create a physical map of their town or city.
  13. The Forge - For help with all things fantasy. The linked portal takes users to fantasy name generator; creature name generator; spell, effect, and arcane name generator; and setting and location name generator.
  14. Serendipity - another site with a collection of generators, including city and country name generators and a variety of character name generators.
  15. chaotic shiny - Tons of fantasy-themed generators. People to culture, accessories to evil, plot to color. This site has a lot to offer.
  16. RanGen - While I've included specific links to several generators on this site, there is so much more available. Many more generators and monthly writing challenges, A visit to the site is worth your time.

I hope you can find something helpful or worthwhile among these sites. If nothing else, they are great resources for free writing, challenge writing, or sprint writing activities. 

Until next time. . .

Good Day and Good Writing to you all!

Novel Stats - pages: 72; word count: 19986 

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