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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Jayne

Updated: Aug 1, 2020

I went on an authors retreat this weekend. Three of my buddies and I gathered in a cozy space in downtown Austin where we wrote, did 20-minute sprints, and brainstormed about our respective stories.

One of the best outcomes for me was choosing a punishment for my dark fantasy characters whose actions had resulted in the deaths of others. I knew the punishment would have to be delivered in a dramatic way (read: public and gruesome) that would inflict maximum physical and emotional pain for my character. It had to be consistent with the parameters of my story, support the protagonist's arc, and be symbolic of the society in which she lives—all this while escalating the stakes.

That sounds like a lot, but that's the nature of story development, and my fellow writers delivered when we sat down for a brainstorming session. On explaining what I was struggling with and the rules of the world in which my characters live, one of the writers mentioned giving her a scar. I liked this idea, because of the potential. A scar would stay with the character emotionally, as well as physically, and symbolize the extent of the crime she had allegedly committed.

But what kind of scar? More discussion, and one of the others suggested a brand. I loved this idea—again, because of the potential emotional struggles and story conflicts.

But I had one more obstacle. If I were to brand my character, a supernatural healer, not just any old brand would work. It had to match the severity of her crime and be particularly unforgiving. So we talked it out, and my third writer friend offered the winning method of agony… Bingo! My friends are far more evil than they think!

In the end, what final punishment did I choose? Well, you'll have to read the book when it comes out.

I'm fortunate to have a close circle of writers who will brainstorm with me. The minute I resolved the stumbling block in my head, the chapter cascaded out of me in 2,000-words. We are the masters of our writerly kingdoms, but when you get road-blocked about what comes next, the ability to brainstorm with people who are invested in your story and your writing success is one of the most valuable things you can have. Do you brainstorm?

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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Jayne

Updated: Aug 1, 2020

I'm over at Stiletto Gang this week with a post called "An Hour in the Life of a Writer," a humorous look at how I've spent many a writing hour doing everything except writing. In fact, by the progress I sometimes make, or lack of it, you'd think I was an amateur. My creative wheels can spin relentlessly, powered by real desire to tell a story, yet I can stay stuck deep in the Sands of Dearth. It's easier to go do the laundry or play with the cat or nuke my coffee for the tenth time.

I write and edit all day long at the Day J.O.B. and in the evening and weekends on my novels. I know well the discipline and effort required to complete projects fast and on time. My paycheck depends on it. To write business articles, it's often just deciding on a topic and diving in. It's equivalent to readying on the start line, staring into the screen, and hearing the gunshot to GO! It's coaxing your brain to work through your fingers to craft a salient, succint article within 30 minutes so you can get on to the next one. You just do it.

But know-how doesn't, on its own, fill the creative tank from which fiction is fueled. When your logical left brain and your creative right brain are exhausted from tag-teaming eight hours of a data onslaught, the creative brain suffers a bit of a breakdown. You're walking around doing mundane or routine tasks in your off-time, while your creative brain has called in sick. She's been running the 100-mile marathon in Whitecollarville, and that bitch is not getting out of bed until she's good and recovered.

Yeah, information overload is a real thing, and sometimes your brain just needs a break from everything technology related. It's why they tell you to get off your keister and go walk, get fresh air, connect up with people, do fun things--exercise, for god's sake (I know, I didn't mean to bring that up). But the brain needs a vacation, too, despite all the "results by deadlines" that you demand of it.

So, what do you do to regenerate and refresh your brain so that it runs in peak condition when you need it to? I could use some ideas, because I'm fresh out, and laundry is looking more exciting by the minute.

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  • Writer's pictureKimberly Jayne

Updated: Aug 1, 2020

Hey, guess what! I'm in a new anthology that just came out called Feisty After 45. Edited by Elaine Ambrose, this collection features essays from 45 accomplished women thriving in midlife. It's doing really well on Amazon already, and I'm excited to see my writing nestled among so many other talented bloggers.

I wanted to contribute a piece to the anthology that epitomized the real me, so naturally I submitted "I Wanna Be Sedated."

Here's the short synopsis:

These humorous and inspirational blog posts from 45 of the best midlife bloggers offer proof that tumbling over the far side of 45 is worth the journey. These feisty females will encourage you to keep your chins up and your reading glasses handy!

And sedation, while middle-aged, wearing a thong. They forgot to mention that part. Wanna check it out? Go here.

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