What Do Writers Do When They Aren’t Writing?

October 8, 2010

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It’s Friday, a day which usually brings a new Fiction Friday story from Kosmo.  However, I’ve decreed that I will not write any stories this month (although I am accepting guest submissions at kosmo@ObservingCasually.com).  I was having to dip the bucket a bit lower into the well of creativity each week and had run into some symptoms of temporary burnout.  Time for a break to recharge the batteries.  Better to go a month without new stories than to lose the desire forever.

So, then, what do I (and other writers) do when I’m not writing?

Break the Rules

Two days into the month, I was technically in violation of my self-imposed exile when I wrote a satire about a shocking new smartphone app.  However, I’ll rationalize this by saying that I don’t consider satires and parodies to be true fiction stories, since they tend to be “based on a true story.”


One thing that makes a writer better – and gives the writer new ideas – is reading the work of good writers.  I love reading, and am a fast reader, but a shortage of time meant that I was really having trouble finishing  books lately.  When Jeffery Deaver’s new Lincoln Rhyme book, The Burning Wire, landed in my mailbox, I knew that I had to do something!  You may know Rhyme as Denzel Washington’s character in the movie The Bone Collector.  I love mysteries and forensics, and was happy to see that Rhyme is a recurring character!


A big reason for taking the break from short fiction is that I am in the early stages of adapting The Cell Window into a novel.  In the short story, I winged it a bit, making up some things out of whole cloth (how many of them did you catch?).  However, I’m going to make a more concerted effort toward accuracy of details in the novel.  I personally hate it when I read a book and can pick up glaring errors that point to a lack of research.  I’m definitely going to engage consultants in the areas of technology and law enforcement, and may learn a few things about the psychological makeup of voyeurs.  I’ve become quite attached to this story and have a lot of pride in the work.

Steal Use Other People’s Ideas

While The Cell Window didn’t rise to the level of national bestseller, it did receive a very positive response at the local level.  I’m going back to some people who gave me very positive feedback to see what they would like to see in the novel version.  I won’t guarantee that I’ll use any of their ideas, but I’m happy to listen.

If you want to look at this in a different way, I’m engaging unpaid consultants to help me with the creative process.


While many of the plot elements of The Cell Window are going to carry forward from the short story to the novel, transforming a work from a 10,000 word story to a 100,000 word novel necessitates a lot of new content – both in terms of the plot and new characters that need to be developed.  I’m going to let these develop within a lengthy brainstorm (likely a couple of weeks in duration), but will eventually hammer out a high level outline to aid the actual writing process.

Watch Baseball

Hey, it’s the playoffs!  My favorite thing to watch on TV is a Rockies game … but my second favorite thing to watch is ANY baseball game.  I’m trying to actually be in front of the TV for some game action, but when I’m not, I’m making and effort to listen to the games.  All work and no play makes Kosmo a dull boy.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kosmo
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 08:55:23

    One thing I need some help with … if someone is familiar with how law enforcement wiretaps of cell phones works, I’d like to pick your brain. I’m interested in the general technologies and procedures – nothing that would likely be considering confidential.


  2. Martin Kelly
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 10:38:14

    I certainly hope this is just research and not some nepharious plot. Well maybe it will be a nepharious plot, but just in a story.


  3. Squeaky
    Oct 08, 2010 @ 16:06:01

    I’m anxious to see where you take this Kos. It could be highly entertaining. I’m also happy to see you’re taking a little time to “sharpen the saw” so to say. We all need a little time to ourselves to do what we like.

    I enjoyed watching some of the Husker game last night and will enjoy the remainder of the slaughtering tonight. I haven’t had any beer for a few days though—that is bad and I need to try and fix that tomorrow afternoon/evening. Wish me luck!


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