Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Guest Blogger: Yvonne Eve Walus

Please give a warm welcome to my guest blogger, Yvonne Eve Walus, author of erotic romance "A Slave of My Own Desire" published by Red Rose Publishing. We'd both love questions and comments about her article and her book. We'll both check in several times during the day. I might not get here till after I get home from the day job but I will check in as soon as I can. Ashley

Stimulate your Imagination in 3 Easy Steps

by Yvonne Eve Walus

Forget writer's block. It doesn't exists. Really. What we experience so frequently when we stare at the infinite sea of whiteness (be it paper or screen), is simply a sudden stay-away of our creative subconscious. In this article, I hope to show you how to stimulate and develop your imagination, how to awaken your creative self, how to play with words and images until a complete story emerges.

1.

Creating an inner "writer's study" is one of the techniques. As soon as you find yourself stressing over an approaching deadline - pause, close your eyes and relax. Imagine whatever ambience will help you feel calm and happy. A beach, a swimming pool, the inside of a casino.

When your mind is relaxed and ready for action, get up and start walking, metaphorically speaking of course. You enter a forest. Is it dense and damp, or interlaced with sunny clearings? Look at the shades of green: on the leaves, on the mint shrubs, on the juniper. What is it that you're smelling - the dark essence of mushrooms, the fragrance of wild strawberries, the hot scent of resin? Imagine it's so strong you can almost taste it. Look down: are you walking on sand or moss? Can you hear song birds? Or perhaps only the rustle of reddening oak leaves? You feel something on your hand: a raindrop? the velvety nose of a deer? the surface of a pine cone?

Now pause. Write down what you've just experienced, then read it. Your description will be rich in sensory detail, so essential for bringing fiction to life. In your stories, of course, remember not to overdo it: don't give us all five senses every time there is a change of scenery. Balance is the key.

Go back to your imagined land. You spot a dwelling. This is your writing place. It can be a logwood cabin or a sprawling Mediterranean mansion, whatever makes you feel at home. You open the door and enter your study. Let me show you mine as an example. The carpet is creamy white. Two walls are made of glass and overlooking the sea. I can smell the salty breeze through the open window. Bookcases stretch from floor to ceiling. The latest model computer, all sleek and shiny, is awaiting my command.

This is the place where magic happens. You have all the tools at your disposal: the time machine, the mirror from Wonderland, psychic sunglasses, a door that opens onto any place in the universe you choose. With such equipment, who can possibly have time for writer's block?

2.

The second technique to employ when you can't feel the writing juices race through your fingers, is the creative search. As writers, we are well aware of the fact that there are no new ideas, only new angles on the same story. Some people go even further to claim that there are only - how many was it? - twenty-odd original plots (deception, revenge, love, etc.).

So how does one come up with something that seems fresh and different? Something that stands out from the slush pile and gets published?

Let's try lateral thinking. Say you had to write a story about obsession. Ordinary thinking processes would lead you along the lines of: "all right, who's obsessed with whom, well, let's create a woman protagonist, she loves someone who's married and she won't let go, so she stalks him every evening". Nothing wrong with it, but it's been done before. Many, many times.

But consider a more lateral approach. Instead of thinking straight, think to the right, and then a little backwards. You can start by writing the key word in the middle of a clean sheet of paper. OBSESSION. What do people obsess about? Having clean hands. Walking precisely in the centre of each tile. Clothes. Colours. Being on time. Being thin. Oh, here's something. Diets. Food. But let's not fall into the cliché of slimming, that's not the aim of our creative search. Instead, imagine a heroine who would only eat white food: ricotta cheese, natural yoghurt, skinned fish. Why? Why indeed. Take a second sheet of paper and write WHITE FOOD on it. Oh, and incidentally, you've just made a lateral leap.

WHITE. That's purity. Babies. Virginity. Is your heroine running away from childhood memories? Is she a religious fanatic? WHITE is for weddings: perhaps a woman obsessed with the idea of getting married? Cherry blossoms of Japan are WHITE. A geisha longing for ordinary life? WHITE equals snow. Arctica. Is your heroine an Eskimo hunting for fish under the ice?

See how far we've moved away from the love-obsession plot? We've just performed a creative (lateral) search. And what's the opposite of white? Don't neglect to turn your topic upside down in order to come up with original ideas.

Performing a creative search can put you in touch with the forgotten images of your life. Whenever you go blank, let your mind run wild and lateral. Have you observed how much mileage we got out of searching a colour? Imagine exploring RED. Or think of your favourite smell. VANILLA. Cookies. Grandmother. Christmas. Can you write a story yet? VANILLA. Exotic spices. India. Taj Mahal. Opulence. Poverty. The contrast. You're on your way.

Notice how satisfying it is to appeal directly to the senses, to start your creative search at the root and see where it leads you.

3.

Try both techniques to see which one works for you. Come on, even if they sound a bit silly, surely wondering through an imaginary forest is better than staring at that empty screen?

Reference: "The Novelist's Guide", Margaret Geraghty, Piatkus 1995.

A Slave of My Own Desire
by Eve Summers
He will force you to do EVERYTHING you've ever wanted to do....
Erotic Romance
MC/IR Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 978-1-60435-110-1
Word Count: 10,000
Price: $1.99
Excerpt:

His five-o’clock stubble makes my skin come alive every time we kiss. The desire burning inside me is unbearable. I want to be totally his. I want him to own me. I want him to have his way with me.

He’s standing over me with an air of total control and authority. I look into his face and suddenly I understand why I’m so attracted to him. He reminds me of my English teacher, the one I was in love with when I was thirteen. All the girls had a crush on him, of course: he was sexy as hell and his teaching style was straight out of Dead Poet Society.

For my project that year, I chose Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress:Had we but world enough and time…” I got an A for it and my first erotic dream.

Naturally the English teacher is ten years older now, but this guy could almost pass for his younger brother.

I look at his horns and wonder what this one does for a living: collects souls in exchange for his sexual favors? It wouldn’t surprise me. On this All Hallows’ Eve, I would almost agree to sell mine in exchange for one night with him.

“You are gorgeous,” he says.

I can feel myself blush. The makeshift rope feels tight against my skin. I'm naked and totally helpless, except for the safe word, and I find that fact immensely arousing. I love my body so exposed and vulnerable.

My cheeks burn with humiliation. I am a slave of my own desire.

Thanks Yvonne! You've been a great guest.

You'll also want to see what Amarinda Jones, Anika Hamilton, Anny Cook, Barbara Huffert, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Dakota Rebel, Kelly Kirch, Molly Daniels, Sandra Cox, Regina Carlysle, and Cindy Spencer Pape are up to, so make sure to visit them also. :)

6 comments:

Regina Carlysle said...

Just what I needed today. I'm sooo blocked. LOL. Maybe this will help.

Molly Daniels said...

Great advice! Thanks!

I've also discovered simply moving to another location away from the house and everyone helps with the blockage sometimes:)

Lea said...

Great tip. Thanks for sharing and here's to tons of success with your book.

Ashley Ladd said...

Yvonne, thanks again for being my guest and all the great tips.

Jane Beckenham said...

Yvonne
loved this, particular step 2 which i think would really help
me in my 'I hate to plot' days. Do you think there is a knack to
learning to think laterally - admitting here i find it really
difficult. Jane

Yvonne Eve Walus said...

dear jane

hi and thanks for your comment! i must say i find plotting hard too.

i have books on "the 24 basic plots" and all that, but at the end of the day, it's hard hard work for me to know what on earth happens next.

what really works for me is:

- the good old "let the characters lead you": if one is a smoker and the other one's mother died of lung cancer... if one wants marriage and the other wants a year's OE...

- Think what your heroine wants. Think how what the hero wants is in direct conflict to that.

- "let the theme lead you". what do you want to write about? a loving family with a domestic violence problem? ok, then make sure that most of the conflict points, turning points, etc. have to do with family love or violence. let the subplot counterpoint that with perhaps a family who has not much love but is very polite to one another, never an argument, no passion. then look around you and see all the potential conflict points from life: relatives coming for xmas, father of the family has to go abroad for a month while the wife is going through high stress at work (she is close to achieving her life's ambition but she needs to concentrate on her job and not on problems at home with her daughter who is failing maths at school and is involved with a no-good boy. on the eve of the father leaving for europe, the mother finds a used pregnancy test / used condom in the daughter's dustbin.....)

ooo, now i have to go and write this one!

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