Anyone who wasn’t there for Lyn Stone and Peggy Webb’s wonderful, funny and informative speeches on Saturday missed a real treat! These two ladies are two of the best romance has to offer and I learn something new from them every time I meet them.
This time I found Peggy’s talk about “triggers” to be somewhat intriguing. While I know we would all love to be able to fall asleep and dream half a novel (I really want to hate her for that, but she is just so darned cute and funny!) not many of us have that ability. BUT, I have a sneaky suspicion we all have the ability to find what our writing “triggers” are and make good use of them. Perhaps some of you already have!
I have discovered, for instance, that if I am driving along in my car and let my mind wander to any one of the stories percolating in my head, invariably I hear this great conversation or see this great scene in my head. Fabulous, right? Not so fabulous! Ever try to write down dialogue on a McDonald’s bag with an eyebrow pencil? That poor sheriff is probably STILL scratching his head! I did buy a little mini recorder for just that reason. And as soon as I figure out how to operate it I’ll be in business. So, one of my triggers is driving in my car. Got it.
I also find that if I am busier than the devil in a high wind at work my characters INSIST on piping up with some vital bit of information that they think I just have to write down at once. Fortunately I always have a pocketful of index cards handy. The girls in the bakery are used to seeing me stop in mid-sentence, hold up a hand and scribble something down before I continue whatever it was I was doing. Trigger? Who knows! Bread baking. Kids screaming. Really BAD fashion statements. Something amid the hustle and bustle of Walmart sends me to Regency England.
Now, where it becomes more difficult is when I have no trigger at all. Nothing. Zippo. Not just no trigger – no gun, no bullets. I might as well be at an anti-NRA rally! As if I’ve been strip-searched at the Frankfurt airport by a big security guard named Helga and had everything that even LOOKS like it might have a trigger thrown in the trash and been sent merrily on my way with a nice Wiedersehn from my current WIP.
That’s where Peggy Webb’s mention of writing triggers comes in. If none of my automatic triggers works then I just have to come up with some triggers on my own. Sounds easy, right? Well let me see. I do have to have tea to write. Milo’s iced tea (sweetened, of course, are you nuts?) in warm weather and Earl Gray when the weather is colder. No tea, no write. Sometimes I need music – particularly for love scenes or scenes of great emotional conflict. Instrumental music – no words. I haven’t tried lighting candles or anything of that nature, but maybe I should.
So, what are your writing triggers? What helps you to sit in the chair and pour your heart out onto the page? What helps you to get jump started when nothing else seems to work. Let’s talk about triggers, y’all. Being Southern Belles we know all about guns and ammo. What sorts of things will help us all to bag that book contract, that agent, that contest win or the prize buck of them all – that NYT Bestseller? Ready. Aim. Fire Away!