Welcome to a Different Kind of Fiction Friday

Welcome to Fiction Friday.

This week I am going to do something a little different.

What does your work area include?  Is it organized chaos?  Is it as sterile as an Operating Room?  Maybe it is somewhere in between.

My work area is often referred to as my Big Bird Nest.  I gather things around me like a hen attracts her chicks.  Right now, I have a painting project, a crochet bag and two laptops.  That is just the stuff on the surface.  About once every ten days it reaches a state that no longer inspires any kind of creation.  That is when I clean it up.


What is your favorite writing tool? Do you like a nice pen and paper?  Do you have a favorite writing program?  Maybe your favorite tool is a cup of coffee or a stiff drink.


I am currently using yWriter, a free writing system for novelers.  It lets me keep track of items like guns, tire irons, first aid kits, or even a large batch of garlic.  I am really awful at naming and finding files.  yWriter does that for me.


One last question…

Where do you get your best ideas?  Dreams? News Events? Books with prompts?


I like to pretend I am psychic and invent back stories for people I see in store parking lots.  An over filled shopping cart filled with paper towels and toilet paper is food for fiction.  I also like news stories.  The big Montana stories at the moment include a 4 year old child killed by his father and an Otter Attack on one of our rivers.  Extreme isn’t it?


Your job, should you choose to spend a little time here, is to leave a comment that answers at least one of these questions. If you don’t reply, well, now, I’m going to look pretty much like a looser.

Don’t touch anything sharp.

By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.


  1. My work area (a.k.a. The Computer Cave) is sloppy, like my habits. Papers (guidelines, notes) everywhere, though the guidelines do end up in a file cabinet once a story is sent and the notes in a folder along with a (sloppily) printed MS copy with where it’s submitted written on p. 1. Lots of books too, with dictionaries, Atlas, etc. on a daybed (can double as a couch when the stuff’s taken off it) where they’re handy. The desk computer itself is old and off-line and I compose fiction (occasional essays too) in WordStar, converting to .rtf or .doc on a 3 1/2″ floppy as necessary for submission — submission (and email) is done on the on-line computer in the dining room (dial-up, near phone jack, with monitor stuffed on a bookcase, keyboard and mouse on the sideboard). Or else at the Computer Annex, a.k.a. the Public Library (faster computers for large downloads, dealing with silly file types like .docx, etc.). (This, e.g., is being written on Computer #59 in the Computer Annex.)

    Ideas come hard and and from wherever I can get them, though ideas for poetry these days are largely coming via prompts on the “Poetic Asides” blog via WRITERS DIGEST’s website (their poetry editor does a weekly prompt that becomes daily in April and November. If anyone here’s a poet, I recommend trying it). Poems are also an exception to my normal work habits in that I usually draft them in longhand, often on backs of shopping lists, etc., when I’m out taking a walk. Story ideas sometimes come from prompts too, or guidelines for themed anthologies, or serendipitous research (I write dark fantasy/horror so if I come across a new book about monsters. . . 😉 ), or even from poems I’ve previously written, but often aren’t just from a single idea but a juxtaposition of two or more.

  2. I love, and am inspired by, the mundane. However, mundane to me is not necessarily so for someone else. I just like to ask “what if?” Today, I went to the mall…what if on the way to the mall I ran over someone’s cat. And what if I carried the cat all over the neighborhood looking for the owner. And what if while carrying the cat around the strange neighborhood I witnessed a murder? Or, saw my husband leave a strange house? Or, what if I got run over carrying the run over cat? You see where I’m going…

  3. My desk is usually a disaster because I usually work on a few projects at the same time. Don’t ask me why. My ideas come from everywhere –what I read on the web, what people talk about, often with an additional “what if?” I’ve added. I do dream about what I’m writing. Given the fact I’m working on a inter-specie love affair (a human and an alien), it makes for interesting dreams. My book coming out form Eternal Press (Egypt Rising) came from reading about the turmoil over there as well as from a lifetime of reading about Egypt and Atlantis.

  4. My work area is a bit hectic, as it’s full of crafts with a little space for my Chromebook. I had an office, once upon a time, but then we took in two kittens and now they reign supreme in my office. It’s fine though, once they get bigger they can run around the house. My table is right in front of my TV so I can watch silly shows, or Netflix, or Hulu, and I have my iphone next to me for music.

    My favorite writing tool is my Chromebook 🙂 It’s tiny and convenient, which is perfect, especially if I’m at a convention and there’s downtime.

    I get the best ideas in the strangest places, like… the shower. I swear, my shower is magical, I’ll be taking a shower and be like, “Oh snap! I should write about this!” The only downside is remembering everything so I can write it down afterwards ^^;;; I also get ideas from just looking at people, like a really cool looking girl, or something like that. Or chatting with my partner while we drive around the city, we’ve actually driven around and pointed out good spots for scenes in our book, or where characters would live, things like that 🙂

  5. My writing work area is pretty dusty, since my housecleaning skills are under-developed. Husband says I’m missing a gene most females have…but then I don’t insist he redecorate ever, so he enjoys that part of the lack of house-pride. I have two separate calendars hanging there, so I can keep track of blogs/guest visits, etc. that I commit to, so I don’t inadvertently irritate someone by not being done on a timely basis.

    My desk has my laptop, which is where I do all of my writing. I tried long-hand, but honestly my writing is so bad that not only do I get hellacious cramps in my hand from clutching the writing implement so tightly, I usually can’t read what I’ve written after the first few pages, when my hand started to get tired. I type by feel, so I have a separate wireless keyboard because the keys are hard to feel on the flatter laptop keyboard. I also have a wireless mouse since I dislike the touch-pad.

    As for my ideas, many come from dreams. But when I have a book I’m proud of, like my most recent one, “For The Love Of His Life”, somehow I’m loathe to totally “give up” those characters. So I’ve already written and gotten the contract for a sequel, and I’m planning on writing another sequel while I’m up north, basking in the glorious peace and quiet of the BWCA in northern Minnesota. I’ll be bringing my laptop with me, but having to fight my kids for the 2 electrical plugs in the charger we bring, and hoping we don’t drain my truck’s battery while recharging the batteries on our various laptops and other devices.

  6. Well, my writing area is really just more warm and low-lighted. I prefer writing in the wee hours of the morning when it’s still dark or in the evening after the sun has gone down. Upstairs in the office I have an Aurora R4 desktop which is not always conducive to writing as it’s a flashy beast, to say the least. Downstairs is my laptop that fairs better, usually.

    For programs I stick to the basic Outlook Pro. It does a nice job of running my text nice and neat and the extra buttons for italics, spacing and justifying font are all right there.

    My best idea’s can come in many forms, but I have this horrible knack of jamming a character into a seemingly impossible scenario then having to spend a few days thinking of a plausible way to get them out…and realistically. I may write fiction, but to me that means it doesn’t have to be real, but it should always be realistic.

    My two cents:)


    1. I agree about realism.

      Back in the stone ages, I used to sneak read in High School. Why I had to sneak is another story too long to go here. I was not tracked for college, I was significantly disabled before the ReHab Act of ’74 so no one cared what I was learning.

      When I took my SATs, in the stone ages when we didn’t study for them, I discovered I had a wealth of knowledge that came, not from classes, but from the Library.

      I remember taking the test, thinking to myself, this was in a book I read….I sure hope the book was accurate.

      I got into College and I owe it to fiction and non-fiction writers who included realism.

  7. Dreams. My most powerful characters arrive uninvited in the night, push me inside their brains to deal with their panic and purpose, usually in the middle of some kind of angst-ridden event. Then I wake with the impress of personality and struggle and do some detective work. Where did that person come from? How did he or she get into so much trouble? What’s the back-story and what’s the future?

    1. My abandoned book that comes out once in a blue moon, began as a dream of a child’s body found in a wall. Not original by any means but it did get me writing.

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