Daddy's Christmas Angel

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Do You Have a Writing Vision?

Do you have a vision? For your project? For your career? For your life?

To get my young art students to focus, when they enter my classroom I ask them to close their eyes and see in their minds some object. Usually what I ask them to focus on will be part of the project for that day. Last week, I had them see a sky filled with stars. We were talking about Vincent Van Gogh and his paintings, especially "Starry Night".

I like to tell children about Van Gogh's work because during his troubled lifetime, he produced an amazing number of masterpieces that have grown more important and more valuable over the years. I don't believe that Van Gogh had a vision. It is fortunate that his sister-in-law did not throw away his work following the death of Van Gogh's brother, Theo, which occurred about six months after the artist's death. Instead it appears she developed a plan to make his work known.

Just like when the artist stands in front of a blank canvas and starts to visualize what he/she will place there, so each one of us must develop a vision for our writing. What kinds of books will we write? Will they be fiction or non-fiction? What will be the settings? Will this be a series?

More and more authors appear to be creating a character who will be part of a continuing series. That seems a good way to carry forth a vision as a writer.

Some writers don't have a plan. They are "seat of the pants" writers who let characters and situations take over as they create their books.

October starts next week; fall is already here. This is a good time for writers to sit down with a notebook and outline writing plans for 2011. Sketch out a brief synopsis for each story you'd like to write. Think about and list the markets for which they are directed. Schedule the days you will write and create a time table for completion of each project.

To be successful, you must have a vision. Create one now.

Vincent Van Gogh did not have a vision. He sold only one painting during his lifetime.

Do you want to be well-known for your work now, or, if you become famous, do you want it to be postmortem like Van Gogh?

Like my little artists, you need a vision and a plan.

(I'll post about career visions another time.)

Mary Montague Sikes


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I have a vision!

Holli said...

I always had a vision of Gumbo Justice being a series, and am working on the second, Jambalaya Justice, now. I had synopses for at least the first five in the series in my head before I ever started writing the first one. For each I have the main mystery or crime the book centers around, as well as the various subplots, and how they'll eventually join together by the end of the novel.

Of course, when I actually write, a lot of the ideas change, subplots shift and even the main thread may evolve, but each novel is already set out in my head before I write the scene outline and begin the actual writing.


Mike Orenduff said...

Interesting discussion, Monti. I invested my planning in the creation of my characters and setting. But when it comes to individual books, I start with a germ of an idea and then let the characters take the story wherever they want to take it.

Monti said...

Good. All three of you have a vision. Holli plans and outlines; Mike creates characters and settings then lets the characters take over...

Interesting...visions but with different approaches! I love learning more about how everyone works.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

I have two series going at one time. I have a vision for both. My Rocky Bluff series focuses on a different main character in each book--so have to find a reason for them to be the primary character.

In my Deputy Tempe Crabtree mysteries I like to use some Native American legend or mystic to wrap a plot around.

Though I do have a vision of where I'm going, things change as the characters do their own thing.


Diana Cosby said...

Hi Monti,
Fabulous blog topic. I think it's so imperative that each of us have direction, understand exactly what we perceive as goals to be able to achieve them. How can you understand what you truly want until you define it? How can you achieve what you have not defined?
I have complete clarity of my vision. My personal goal in life is to help make a positive difference in others. My writing goal is to become a NYTimes Best-Selling author. I've made a marriage of my personal and writing goals by combining them in that I give 10% of my royalties to a charity of my choice. So, the better my books do, the more I can help others via financial means. In addition, I enjoy hands on help with one of my favorite charities being Habitat For Humanity.
This past year I saw the fruition of one of my goals dear to my heart - starting a scholarship at a local high school. Other goals with the 10% of my royalties is to buy a working dog for a local police force, buy a fire truck for a local fire station, and my personal favorite, sponsor an entire home for Habitat For Humanity.

Diana Cosby
2009 Booksellers Best Finalist

Monti said...

Wow, Diana, you are making a difference in this world! And you have for as long as I've known you--a difference in the positive approach you have with your writer friends and much more...

Marilyn, you always amaze me with your steadfast journey with your writer's life.

Thank you for your visions!

DazyDayWriter said...

Great point, Monti!

To be successful, you must have a vision. Create one now.

And I do agree. Vision provides focus and without that it's so difficult to sort through priorities. Even when a vision is flexible, better to have something than nothing! Thanks for the post!