I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Guest Michelle Lim: Idea Sparking


Lisa here...I'm thrilled to host my craft partner, Michelle Lim, as our guest today! Her new writing resource, Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel, is available now at the My Book Therapy store: Idea Sparking. I started reading Idea Sparking on the plane home from ACFW. This is a fantastic resource for writers, especially if they're struggling with plot and conflict like I am. 
 ~*~
As a young girl I dreamed of being a gymnast like Mary Lou Retton, a skater like Tara Lipinski, and a singer like Amy Grant. Never in all of my dreaming did I ever imagine I would become a writer.

I did join gymnastics and learn to do walk overs on the beam. I even learned to ice skate backwards on a pond near my house. As for singing, I joined a group in college called Refiner’s Fire.

But all of those things were hobbies, they didn’t bring alive that passion in me to spend hours becoming the best.

Little did I know, the thing that I spent the most time on would become and important part of my second career after deciding to be an at home mom instead of an elementary teacher.

What did I spend hours of my childhood doing? Reading. Everything I could get my hands on. I journaled, wrote songs, wrote poems, devised better endings for a book in my mind.

God knew that love of print and story would become an important part of the passion I have for writing. All the ideas flowed in and began to pour out on the page.

Believe it or not, I’m a fiction writer. I write Romantic Suspense, but I learned in working with other writers that many are challenged by the fear of the blank page or the sag in the middle of their story.

Buy Idea Sparking
That’s when the idea for my book, Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, began to take shape in my mind. I hadn’t realized brainstorming was a gift. I thought everyone naturally brainstormed well.

Not so. In fact, some writers struggle so much that they take more time coming up with and plotting story ideas than they do to write the manuscript.

Idea Sparking is designed to help you learn to brainstorm in your own way. It provides strategies and a diagnostic tool to identify the problem and solve it. Anyone can be a brilliant brainstormer—you just have to learn some strategies to help with trouble spots.

From one writer who gave up the balance beam and ice skates to another, find what you love. Where do you spend your time? Pull ideas from your favorite things. Nothing is impossible if you take off the ice skates that don’t fit your purpose.

Yes, I still go skating from time to time, but I spend much of my time with my nose in a book or a manuscript, because that is how God created me.

Your Turn: What did you dream of becoming when you grew up? Are you living that dream, or has it changed into a new one? How are you living your dream now?

Michelle Lim is the author of the new book Idea Sparking: How to Brainstorm Conflict in Your Novel. Also a romantic suspense author whose manuscripts have earned recognition in The Rattler Contest 2012, the Genesis Contest 2011, and the Frasier Contest in 2010. Michelle is the Brainstorm/Huddle Coach at My Book Therapy and serves as Vice President of MN N.I.C.E., a local chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers. Learn more about her at www.thoughtsonplot.wordpress.com. 

24 comments:

  1. I dreamed of ... wait for it ... becoming a writer.
    And I love the fact that I am living my dream. I thank God that he's allowed me to live my dream.
    One of the best things about it is connecting with other writers who are also pursuing and living their dream too. We "spark" off one another.

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    1. That's fantastic, Beth! And your dream is leaving an impression on many reader's hearts.

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  2. Oh Beth, you took my line.

    I dreamed of being a writer. But I married young and needed to be practical. So I went to college and got a degree, but in the back of my mind I thought if I flunked out I'd head to the nearest book store and apply for a job. Well, I didn't flunk out, and I've enjoyed my career, but the dream never left me.

    So I continue my paying job and write when I get home. My youngest is in college now, and I have a great husband who supports my dream.

    Last year I started meeting with other writers. There is an energy being with them that excites me.

    Michelle, it's always good to hear what's on your mind.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks, Jackie. It's wonderful to have a supportive spouse. I am blessed with one of those too. Can't wait to hear what happens on your journey.

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  3. I used to act all the time. I'd make up these wild stories then play them out. They always had twists, secrets and even murder. For a long time, I thought that's what I wanted to do. Act.

    Then I realized, it wasn't the acting I loved. It was the stories. While my sister dressed Barbies and put clothes on them then set them aside, I engaged them and created my own little soap operas.

    But it wasn't until adulthood, that God pointed this out to me!

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    1. I loved hearing your story, Jessica. God has those little things He reveals to us about ourselves. It is so fun to discover what He has known all along!

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  4. Good post. I'm looking forward to getting your book. (They were running out in the ACFW bookstore & I knew I'd see you back in Minnesota.)

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    1. Thanks, Delores. All of the MN Niceys were considerate in that way. I look forward to you getting a chance to look at it too.

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  5. You won't believe this, but I dreamed of....being a cowboy growing up. I love horses and riding and figured if I were a cowboy, I'd get to do all that. Although I always thought I could be a writer, I never actually wrote anything except school papers until I was 35. That's when these people came to live in my head and wouldn't go away until I told their story.

    Great post, Michelle. Love your book...used it this morning to jumpstart a scene.

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    1. OH, a cowboy...that's awesome! I know all about pesky characters speaking in the middle of the night even. LOL.

      So glad to hear my book is helping you, Pat!

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  6. Loved this post, Michelle. I can totally see you as a singer--especially after the Pizza Party! :)

    I have always dreamed, secretly, of being a writer. As I began to think through all that goes into a great story, I convinced myself I could never do it. But I always studied and picked up on writing tips from teachers--like use active voice not passive, and I applied them in my personal journaling. I thought about trying my hand at non-fiction, but couldn't think of anything as a SAHM that would interest the busy world I live in. :)

    Then, God gave me a heroine's name and a vehicle to move a story, and the dream sparked again in my heart. I am learning I can do this, with God's help and lots of writers who encourage and guide me. :) You're one of them. I just ordered your book--I can hardly wait to read it!

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    1. Aww, that is a kind compliment. Grinning over here.

      Truth is, any writer in this industry can tell you that they have been blessed with mentors. I think it is part of the journey.

      Live your dreams, Jeanne!

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  7. Yay for your post AND your book, Michelle! I'm forcing myself not to read it just yet because I have to finish my current book. But as soon as I'm ready to brainstorm my next one, your book is going to help me. Hehehe...

    Also, I agree with Jeanne--I can totally see you as a singer!

    My dream has always been to be an author. And thanks to God, I'm living it. :)

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    1. God is amazing in how he gives us an opportunity to live our dreams. So excited about your book coming out!

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  8. Michelle,
    I've read your book and its great. It's got little pink postit's sticking out the side :)

    Life happened and while I wanted to write, well it didn't happen. But Gog! Now I'm ready and God has been prepping the way with the awesome friends who are helping along the authors journey.

    I'm so very excited!
    Alena T.

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    1. Glad my book is a well used resource!

      When I had my four kids, life slowed down in the dream department for me too for a while. But those dreams never died.

      Hang on tight, Alena. Your moment is coming.

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  9. I dreamed of being a writer, but I'm not as gifted in brain storming as you. So I'm really enjoying your book.

    (I had your voice, I'd probably have dreamed of being a singer!)

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    1. Thanks, Roxanne. I do love to sing and I'm glad you are enjoying my book.

      Keep writing, Roxanne. Your stories resonate with me.

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  10. I was in 5th grade when we learned to write Limericks. The teacher read it out loud:

    I went to the jubilee
    I saw things that you can see
    but now it is fall
    and that is all
    I think I'll go catch a bee

    That did it! I was hooked.
    Then when I graduated from high school I asked God, "What do you want me to do with my life?"
    He said very clearly, "You are a writer."

    It would take me 10 years to pick up the calling seriously. That was my journey into CWG and ACFW and of course, the life changing My Book Therapy MBT.

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    1. What a gift to hear so clearly what you are called to do. So many of us take our own sweet time until God knocks us off of our donkey (Kinda like Saul).

      ACFW and MBT have changed my life enormously!

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  11. Michelle, thank you for being our guest today. I'm learning so much from you! You are such an important part of my writing tribe. I'd be lost without you.

    When I was younger, I didn't know I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to be a nurse, then a teacher, then a Mommy. I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was sixteen. Then I felt such a yearning to do it. Now I'm excited I'm living my dream. Next step is to become a full-time writer.

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    1. Lisa, I feel the same way about you. You have introduced me to the resources I needed to be a better writer and talked me off of one too many cliffs. LOL.

      Your stories are full of beautiful imagery. I can't wait to see your next book in print.

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  12. Oh, I wanted to be a hockey player, then a doctor, then a mom. I'm living my dream on that front now!

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    1. Amy, I can so see you playing hockey! Dreams have seasons also. We live different dreams or different parts of our dreams at different times. You are the best of moms!

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