Friday, July 3, 2020

An Author Self-Interrogation by Alice Orr @aliceorrbooks #MFRWauthor #AmWriting

An Author Self-Interrogation by Alice Orr @aliceorrbooks #MFRWauthor #AmWriting
I've written several articles about generating ideas for your writing. Sorry, I'm not finished yet. Because, YOU are your most natural subject matter for your fiction, your nonfiction too, and not only memoir writing.

Get Out Your Writer's Journal.

You say you don't have a Writer's Journal? Then, the first step of today's exercise, and this article is almost all exercise, is to get a Writer's Journal. One that's special for you personally. I once favored black-and-white mottled-cover quad-ruled notebooks. Next, I turned fancy with leather-bound Paperblanks brand. Now, its faux-whatever from the 99-Cent store. All are special to me. Find the journal version that "speaks" to you. Listen. You will hear its song for sure. Bring it home where it belongs.

Answer the Following Questions in your Writer's Journal.

Longhand is important. The words flowing from your head and heart together, down your arm, through your fingertips to the pen and the page. Write your answers in detail. The more candid and complete you are, the more resource material you will create for writing ideas. Tell your truth.

Be liberal, not conservative, about what you include.

Tell all of it. Everything. And, leave room for more, further additions later, then others also. This is a LIFELONG exercise. There is no such thing as an insignificant experience. Secrets and holding back are inappropriate. Dramatize (write out) specific anecdotes wherever possible. Play at it. Have writerly fun.

Here we go. The Questions:

1.     What is your ethnic background, especially your cultural experience of that ethnicity, its language, customs, foods, rituals, challenges?

2.     What places have you lived long enough to know the feel of them? (Describe that feeling.)

3.     What have been your occupations, past and present, and what happened there?

4.     What are your special abilities, your areas of expertise, your particular knowledge?

5.     If you had to describe your physical appearance, what would you mention first and why?

6.     How would you describe your temperament? (Tell Everything. Warts and all.)

7.     Which relationships in your life have involved conflict, in your family, your romantic life, your friendships, your work life? (Conflict is story dynamite. Blast big time.)

8.     Who have you loved intensely in your life? (This is gold mine territory. Dig deep.)

9.     Who have you disliked intensely in your life? (More gold mine material. Excavate deeper.)

10. What have been your most powerful – as in intense, significant, formative – non-sexual experiences (during childhood, adolescence, maturity)?

11. What have been your most powerful sexual experiences? (This is private. Lust is a Must.)

12. What have been your personal triumphs, past and present? (No modesty. Brag Brag Brag)

13. What have been your biggest frustrations and disappointments, past and present?

14. What are your complexes, inhibitions and superstitions, past and present?

15. What do you long for?

16. What do you pray will never happen to you?

17. What sort of person do you feel the most sympathy for and why?

18. What sort of person do you feel the least sympathy for and why?

19. What crime have you most seriously considered committing?

20. What act of courage or heroism would you be most likely to perform and why?

21. What do you like most about yourself?

22. What do you dislike most about yourself?

23. In what specific experience of your life did you feel most angry?

24. In what specific experience did you feel most terrified?

25. In what specific experience did you feel most humiliated?

26. In what specific experience did you feel most heartbroken?

27. In what specific experience did you feel most ecstatic?

28. Feel free to add further questions with emotional idea potential for you in your life.

Your Writer's Journal is a Sacred Space.

These are Sacred Truths. Feel free to cry and laugh, to hurt and celebrate. In fact, you should. Meanwhile, you have compiled a pile of Your Most Precious Life Stuff, a treasure mountain of story ideas and details. Don't forget the details. God and the devil are there together, waiting to do battle while you write it all down.

Your Personal Everything is Right Here.

All that's happened or been said. Each and every fantasy. Plus, a running commentary of thoughts and insights about YOU and your experiences. A sacred space to reverence. Visit often. Find your personal storyteller's nirvana here in your own words You will be amazed at what you uncover/discover/recover. I guarantee it.


For more insights into writing and publishing – Visit my blog at

About Alice Orr

Alice Orr is author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. Hero in the Mirror: How to Write Your Best Story of You is in progress. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now writes full-time. Her latest novel is A Time of Fear and Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Series Book 5. Find all of Alice Orr's books on Amazon. Alice has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and lives with her beloved husband Jonathan in New York City.
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