Thursday, September 24, 2009

Star Trek & Agatha Christie?

"The best time to plan a book is while you’re doing the dishes." - Agatha Christie

Don't you just love Agatha Christie? She's one of my all-time favourite authors. I also love this quote of hers. I have such a hard time imagining dear Dame Agatha doing dishes!

It got me to thinking about where I plot my books. I've never had an easy time falling asleep. Even as a kid, there were too many things running through my head for sleep to come easily.

And then I encountered Star Trek (the original series) in one of its rerun seasons. I started plotting out new stories as I waited for sleep to arrive. The series struck a deep chord within me - all of those thinly-veiled morality tales filled with excitement, new species and adventure. For years I plotted out new stories before bed. Never wrote one of them down, but lived through them night after night instead.

Now, I plot out my novels before I sleep. I watch the characters play out a variety of scenes, test out the emotional impact of their words and actions, watch them to see which scenes need to get written down and which need to stay in almost-dreamland.

Where do you plot out your writing? Do you have a set time or place that sends you directly into that creative mode?

19 comments:

  1. Actually, now that you bring it up, I think I might start using the new Star Trek movie way of writing. I thought that movie was amazing, and I'm not even a Star Trek fan (Star Wars for me!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Jessica. I'm a fan of both :) The new ST movie was fun - would be fun to write some episodes for where the characters are heading in their "new" lives. Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't outline, so the plotting is a continual process for me. I like your method, though!

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

    ReplyDelete
  4. I plot, then I sleep. Makes for interesting dreams sometimes!

    Elspeth

    ReplyDelete
  5. Elizabeth - I don't write out outlines, but I do like to see the action in my head :)

    Elspeth - Yes! The dreams can be so much fun. Or terror, depending on the scene I've worked on :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Writing ideas are totally random for me. I can't tell you have many times I jot concepts down on the back of receipts and into my notes on iPhone. I'm so scatterbrained...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jenny - that's why I only write when I'm on the computer. Anything I put down on paper hasn't got a hope of making it! I'm much better off to play out the scene a few times in my head if I think I want it to stick. I've got too many ideas chasing around right now - I need to settle on one :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. All the time! It could be while doing the dishes. Riding alone in the car is a favorite. At night before I go to bed and sometimes in my dreams.

    My mother adored Agatha Christie, didn't she write in the bathtub? I'm sure I heard that.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Elizabeth - I believe I've heard that too. :)

    I generally walk home from work, so that's another fave time for me to plot. It's funny, isn't it, how our stories stay with us, even when we are doing other things!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Great blog, Jemi! And yes, plotting while doing dishes is common for me. And while driving, and while standing in line, and while ... well, you get the picture.
    Best in writing!
    Donna
    www.donnacarrick.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks, Donna! I think we all do entirely too many dishes! But you're right, our stories are always with us, aren't they :) Thanks for stopping by.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Thanks for the fun post. With me it is definitely during showers. I've actually written things on the fogged up shower doors and had to steam the room later to copy my scribbles down.

    ReplyDelete
  13. jwacker - That's awesome! Reminds me of a few scenes from scary movies that kept me up at night :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. In the hot tub at my health club. Thats where I do a lot of my plotting. Don't ask me why...or how it gets my creative juices flowing...but it does. :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. DL - several people mention thinking and plotting best in water (shower, bath, hot tub...) I wonder why... ?? :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love that Agatha Christie quote! I keep telling myself I can still "work" on my stories during menial chores, but I never get focused enough. I get my best ideas usually while walking, or sometimes, if I'm lucky, during lucid dreams.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Margo - Agatha Christie amazes me - so many stories with such convoluted plots!

    Walking works for me a lot of the time too. I dream a lot, but no lucid dreams, so that's no help.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Loved Star Trek too. I have a notebook on my passenger seat, because driving in my car gives me my best material (it's also where I cry). I'm a new fan of yours.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Heidi - so nice to meet you!

    Star Trek is amazing - Roddenberry (sp?) launched so many imaginations with that series!

    The car is a wonderful place for thinking - and for crying - good thoughts! :)

    ReplyDelete