I’m in between projects right now, waiting to revise my MS under contract and not yet ready to revise my recently finished WIP. How I should spend my time now is a concern.
I typically jump into any writing with the notion that the piece is going somewhere, either into a flash work or a short story or a novel. I don’t often afford myself the luxury to just grip the keyboard and go, to see what comes. This has resulted in more unsuccessful works than worthwhile ones, but that’s fine by me. It’s all a process.
However, the other morning I went Googling for some inspiration and I came across a Wikipedia entry on archetype plot lines in YA novels. The article was mostly an excerpt from a larger work by Sarah K. Herz and Donald Gallo. The authors deduced archetypes into one line topics and then provided summaries and titles of both YA and Adult fiction that fulfilled the concept. Example: The Journey: The Crazy Horse Electric Game by Chris Crutcher and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.
I know this isn’t earth-shattering by any means, but it has been a fun springboard for me. I’ve written in response to four of the categories, and now have three solid story beginnings and one fully fleshed short story. I’m keeping the file for future reference, because the classic themes never die. It is our job, as writers, to keep them fresh and connected to the here and now. Of course we all get this, but it’s fun to purposefully set out and see if we can.