Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Into Something New

February 29th, the day that happens once every four calendar years. I've always wondered where the idea to use a leap year to balance time with the patterns of the sun came from. So I did what most writers do. I researched.

Good'ole Julius Ceasar came up with the idea over 2,000 years ago. But his idea was flawed. Applying a leap year to each year divisible by four lead to too many leap years. Duh. It was finally corrected approximately 1,500 years later, when the Georgian Calendar was introduced.

But JC was onto something. An idea, a way to take what was in existence and heighten it, make it more productive, appealing. Hmm... Isn't that what writers do?

How can storytellers make the leap from current ideas and ideals to new avenues and arenas?

  • Setting: spice up an average setting with the unexpected. Maybe put a polar bear on the beach in Hawaii or set an igloo on the equator with no signs of melting. 
  • Surprises: have a character do the unexpected - the exact opposite of what he/she is made of. What could the results be? Where could that take the story? What dimension could be added to make it unique. Combinations.
  • Mix familiar histories from totally opposite cultures. I think this could give any Sci-Fi story flare.
  • Personal experiences: Yes, we have similar experiences during those YA years. They are not all the same, though. The differences are in the guts, the threads that patched your life together differently from mine. Maybe take those and add a reaction you wished you'd had back then--even if that was just yesterday.
  • Be brave. Be bold. Don't be afraid of any idea. Brainstorm with a friend.
How will you spend your EXTRA day of writing, this Leap Year? Any thoughts on leaping from stagnant ideas to fresh ones?


  1. I haven't thought about it as being an extra writing day. Hmmm, the possibilities...

    It's my cousin's birthday tomorrow, March first. Poor guy has to wait an extra day to celebrate.

  2. Hopefully trying to get back on track and catch up to my slipping deadlines :-D

  3. Trying to get edits done so I can query--soon.

  4. Great suggestions to spice up that ms. I sometimes add a new character, a new voice, and new perspective in the work. He then becomes the sidekick, um, the dead sidekick. LOL. But he's fun to write. =)

  5. I'm roughing up a blurb from which the rest of the story will grow. There's so much to this story! Dark and stabby, slightly romancey, sci-fi, and a format I haven't played with yet. I feel all bouncey-puppy like!

  6. great tips! And like Theresa's bro, my almost 6 year old DD is having to wait an extra day for her birthday tomorrow. I think the suspense is killing her!

    I wish I had something productive planned for my "extra" writing day, but I suspect tonight will be spent packing for my business trip and finishing preparations for DD's Star Wars party. :/

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