Turning Off That Pesky Editor – An Interview with Marian Allen

Marian Allen headshot
Marian Allen

Today we’re taking tips from Marian Allen, author, publisher and repeat-StoryADay-participant.

StADa: When did you first participate in StoryADay May?

MA: I heard about StoryADayMay in 2013. I did 2013 and 2014 and I’m looking forward to 2015. ~cracks knuckles~

StADa: Tell us a little about your successes in the past few years.

MA: The first year, I posted this:

People sometimes ask where writers get their ideas. Listen: Getting the ideas is the easy part. Ideas fall like the gentle rain from heav’n upon the place beneath. It’s hooking an idea up with plot, theme, characters, setting, dialog, point of view, language, length, tone, and all the other things that turn an idea into a story that writing is all about.

So I have a big fat folder filled with false starts, snippets remembered from dreams, overheard conversations, random thoughts, and all sorts of “bits”. I plan to reach into that folder and grab a handful of “seeds” and make stories out of them.

That worked. The next year, I went around the house and took pictures of random things, like a globe, a box with a scene on the top, a bowl of rocks, a statue of two giraffes – really random. Those were my prompts.

I always do posts about cats on Caturday – I mean Saturday, or my cats post for me, so my Saturday stories always featured cats. On Sample Sunday, my stories were always about Holly Jahangiri because. Just because. Holly is a real person [A Matter of Perspective ], but twice she won contests I ran to have her name in a story, so now I write stories about her all the time.

StADa: How have you used StoryADay to help fuel your writing?

MA: I tend to write slllllllowwwwwwwwlllllyyyyyyyy, hammering out each word and sentence of a scene. StoryADay is even better than NaNoWriMo at making me turn off that pesky editor. I have to grab an idea and run with it. Knowing that I can do that keeps me from getting too bogged down in polishing when I ought to be knocking together a rough framework. Besides, it’s invigorating to just haul off and write a little story. Telling stories is fun!

StADa: What advice do you have for someone thinking about embarking on the challenge or longing to boost their creativity?

MA: Don’t pre-write. Don’t overthink. Don’t feel bad if it doesn’t work for you. Nothing is for everyone. Give it a try, though; turn off the editor and just let those inventive juices flow. Have fun with it. Think of the StoryADay stories as word doodles.

StADa: What’s next for you?

MA: I have a couple of novels I need to revise for reissue and many novels roughed out or unfinished. I’m putting together a couple more short story collections (including some from past Mays). I’m one of three partners in Per Bastet Publications, so there’s that to keep up with. Book signings. Family. Cats. Much to do!

But first – fun with StoryADay May!

Marian Allen writes science fiction, fantasy, mystery, humor, horror, mainstream, and anything else she can wrestle into fixed form. Her latest books are the SAGE fantasy trilogy, her science fiction comedy of bad manners SIDESHOW IN THE CENTER RING, and her YA/NA paranormal suspense A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE, all from Per Bastet Publications. She blogs daily at Marian Allen, Author Lady. Every. Single. Day.

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