Wild Imaginings ~ ROW80 Check-in

According to the blurb on his site, Chuck Wendig is “a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. This is his blog. He talks a lot about writing. And food. And the madness of toddlers. He uses lots of naughty language.” But I always manage to find awesome posts on his Blog Terrible Minds. Just recently I was directed to a post he did on 25 Virtues Writes Should Possess. It’s a good read so head on over and give it a look. Over the next series of posts I’m going to take a look at each of those virtues. Today it isΒ A Wild & Unfettered Imagination.

I’ve always had what I termed an “active imagination”. It’s why I don’t watch horror movies. Even though I know it’s just a movie, my imagination takes it to places I don’t ever want to go, and then I find I can’t sleep. Best just not to give the imagination that much fodder. I can think up plenty of things all on my own, thank you.

Back in that neolithic age — you know, when I was a kid — imagination is what we relied on. We didn’t have video games, computers, stacks of videos. We had books. We had the great outdoors. We had the stories in our heads that we could play out with our friends. Okay, so sometimes we had to explain to them how the story in our head worked — lay out the cast of characters, explain their motivation, get the world building down pat — or was that just me? Seems it was never just a simple game of hide ‘n seek or cowboys ‘n Indians with me. I always needed to expand on it.

As adults, many of us lose that totally uninhibited child. We lose our imagination. Why should we be bothered to create something in our minds, when visual stimulation surrounds us? That’s sad, really. But it’s what sets writers apart, I think. There’s a part of our brain (with some of us a larger part than others) that never loses touch with the child, the play, the conjured worlds. Characters, scenes, stories — they’re constantly playing up in the gray matter like a 24/7 movie theater. The smallest thing can trigger it: a person we see, a sign, the fleeting bit of an idea that suddenly blossoms into something altogether different. And then we run with it. We keep adding to it and we let it take us on a marvelous adventure that hopefully we get to share with readers.

And, speaking of sharing with readers (nice segue, don’t you think?) I did notice my ROW80 goals were a little sketchy so I tried to firm them up a bit as promised:

  1. My word count for Emergence at this precise moment, according to Scrivener, stands at 66,687 / 110k. That leaves me 44k or thereabouts left to complete the First Draft. Doable by the end of this ROW80 burst. I need to forget the plot holes, the self-indulgent scenes, the unconnected points, force my way through and finish. I do have several scene already written that aren’t in that tally. The ending has been done for months. Now I just have to get there.
  2. Crossing Paths has two chapters and some assorted scenes done. When not working on #1, I will be working on this.
  3. Write every day regardless. I have a third piece that’s come to me. I will not officially call it a WIP. It’s just fun to work on. I have no expectations for it. So, if I’m stuck on either of the first two goals, I pull that one out and play. Writing it writing. It’s exercise. Keeps the brain juices sloshing around up there.

Okay, that’s it. So far, I have added more words to both #1 and #2 and have been accomplishing #3. So, at the moment, I’m right on target. *cue confetti and noisemakers* If you want to visit some of the other ROWers, go Here. If you want to know more about ROW80 click the image on the sidebar . . . as soon as I get it there.




  1. I love the fact that like you I grew up in a time gone by (the 80s) when imagination was such a big part of being a kid, oh and there were films like ET and The Goonies on at the cinema. Congrats on doing well with ROW80 goals 1, 2 and 3!

    • Alas, by the 80s I was in high school and that was a whole different sort of entertainment. *shudder* But I wonder how often kids today get outside with their neighborhood buddies and play a game? Or are they all in the virtual world, connected by head sets?

  2. Here’s some more confetti and noisemakers for you! Just keep writing, just keep writing… (insert cute Dori picture here)

  3. So if you want to write another 44K in the next 80 days, do you set daily or weekly word count goals? Do you say: I have to write x number of words this week on Emergence?

    Also, how did you decide that the first draft of Emergence needed to be 110K?

    I have to laugh when I see you say that you have two WIPs and are officially not calling the third one a WIP. I too have multiple works in progress and was just talking to another ROW80-er who is in your exact situation–already two WIPs and a third not-WIP that comes out when she isn’t inspired to work on the first two. The things we tell ourselves to keep us sane(ish). =*)

    • The decision to aim for 110k is based on average lenght of fantasy novels. It’s not carved in stone, and I’m sure will get pared down. But Emergence is much more involved than First of Her Kind, more characters, more twists, so it will need more words.
      I don’t have daily goals. Not formerly. Because I tend to beat myself up if I don’t hit them. I like to try and get 1k a day. But if I only scrounge a couple hundred one day, and 5k on a day the stars are all aligned, I’m okay with that. So long as I reach that finish line. With my schedule, daily & even weekly word counts are sure ways to send me spiraling into depression when I fall short.
      As if two WIPs and an unWIP aren’t bad enough, I had the most awesome climactic scene dream for something I’m not even writing. No!! Stay away!!

  4. I always think writing is like playing- the imagination part, anyway, and often the writing itself. It’s supposed to be fun, it’s supposed to be open and wild. Sometimes I forget that when I get down to revisions, and I need to be reminded.

    And there are kids who still get out and play with the neighborhood kids– mine do. It’s funny, though. Their games often revolve around existing characters, like the Mario Bros, Angry Birds, etc. So it seems that playing is sort of like fanfiction. My son makes up his own characters in those worlds, too, which is interesting to see. Then again, my friends and I played Nancy Drew when I was a kid. So not that different after all. πŸ™‚

    • Yea for you and your kids!! πŸ™‚ Glad they get out there and play and imagine. I do believe it’s a rare thing these days.

      I agree about writing being like playing — well, most days anyhow!

  5. I miss seeing kids use their imaginations. They do well enough up until about the age of 7 and then the video games take over and it’s downhill from there. My sister and I used to play Charlie’s Angels because we were huge fans of that show. Chasing make-believe bad guys with our twigs, I mean, guns, was the highlight of our afternoons after school. πŸ™‚

    • We did a lot of Bonanza, Ponderosa — my dad was a Western’s freak so we were entrenched in it. Then there was always Starsky & Hutch.

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