Friday, October 23, 2009

Gearing Up for NaNo: Shiny

Once again, I am shamelessly stealing ideas from another blogger. Liana Brooks posted about the concept of SHINY, and I think it is downright genius, and not just because it reminds me of one of my favorite television shows. (Anyone know what I'm talking about? Yeah, you do.)

Shiny in this context refers to an idea, memory, or image that is powerful to you, and therefore has the potential to kickstart your writing when you're starting to falter. These things don't need to be remotely important to anyone else, as long as they evoke something in you. If you write a list of shiny things in October, you have a touchstone of support when you're writing like a fiend in November. A place to go when your dull ideas need a little, well, shine.

I once listened to the voice-over director's commentary to an episode of Sex and The City* where he explains that this one scene between Carrie and Miranda just wasn't working, and they didn't know why, because the script itself seemed good; it just wasn't filming right. And then they realized... Twizzlers. The characters had to be doing something during the dialogue, and the perfect thing was going to be giving the characters those long red whips of candy to futz with while talking. Maybe eating Twizzlers and playing with them while talking with a best friend was on the subconscious "shiny" list for someone on set that day...

I've already linked to Lianna's list, and there's more shiny over at Inkfever. What shines for you?

* Season 3, Episode 9: "Easy Come, Easy Go"


  1. Nathan Fillion! I LOVE his new show Castle. Great characters, such wit, such charm! I could watch it...

    Oh wait. There was more to this post than Mr. Fillion, wasn't there? ;)

  2. Love the concept of a 'shiny'.
    Lots of things shine for me. I post about many of them. It is often the little things... candle wax, glass bottles, swings... you know, stuff that doesn't mean anything to anyone else.
    I usually have to start writing about a shiny before it really SHINES, but it is enough to kick start the process.

  3. Oooh, shiny! I love that!

    It's definitely different with every book and each scene. I think I remembered to use it in some but probably need to go back through and find add more in other areas. Thanks for pointing me in that direction!

  4. So many things shine for me and, like Tabitha, they are things that most would overlook or take no notice of. Fallen leaves, the smell of rain, snow flakes. The scent of an old book, the words that start Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time". Beeswax, cinnamon, dried lavender and wool. The list goes on and ever on!

    Thank you for this bite of inspiration. Happy weekend!

  5. Beautiful word- shiny. That gives me a lot to think about. The words that glimmer for me, come from the mundane things.

    I will start compliling a list, it sounds like it may help.

    Thanks for the insight.

  6. Okay, I took the bait. Checking out the links to the various sites and looking at the comments, I did see what I would perceive to be a lot of female type thinking here. Not a criticism! And trust me I'm no overly macho guy and I am sensitive and sentimental in many ways. I could identify with a lot of the "shiny" on some lists: dreams-- definitely a big inspiration, especially if they are scary and weird. And I did like some of the suggestions like spriral staircases, maps, and water -- and dirigibles was pretty cool.
    Here's my memory stirring inspirations:

    Roads and traffic sounds
    Bookshelves filled with books
    Menudo and how it tastes kind of good but smells like a barnyard.
    Psychotropic substances
    God and the Bible

    Did I get anywhere near the concept or did I miss the point entirely?


  7. Lee, I'm glad you commented, because I was thinking that I'd have to come back in another post and mention that "shiny" does not have to be a GOOD thing! It can be weird and scary, angry or sad, as long as it's something that gets to you in a primal way.

    Here's something that shines for me: arguments about keeping house. Seriously. Such arguments aren't fun or sweet or anything good, but they're BRIGHT in a certain way, and if I'm looking to add conflict to a story, or even looking to do a little character development, I can always just put everyone in a dirty kitchen and see who freaks out, who doesn't care, who wants to avoid fighting...

  8. When I'm full of joy the whole world feels shiny. I love days with that much promise

  9. Nathan is definitely shiny! LOL. Hi, Carrie! I saw your avatar and wanted to say hello. I'm into reading and writing Asian & Asian-inspired lit. :D

  10. Hmmmm...I don't have a shiny list. I should make one!

  11. I love this idea! I'll have to make up a list.

  12. Nicely put, SHINY is a good concept...

    and of course any extra Nathan Fillion gets you bonus points in my book.

    Off the top of my head:

    Fighting, especially cage fighting
    Deep shadows
    ftfhtfttt66 (the new kitten's contribution to my list)
    The clean air you get up high
    Driving too fast

  13. Tunes. Specifically, songs I'd all-but-forgotten, but once they're playing, most of the words come back as though it were last week!