If you’re following along and writing a book with me, you’re probably into the actual drafting process. Woohoo!
While exciting, I’ll be the first to admit that this can be a uniquely intimidating time. It’s one thing to have an outline; it’s another thing to stare down the barrel of 300-odd blank pages.
So today, I’m letting you in on what I think is the easiest way to populate the various scenes in your book (it’s also the method I use for short stories!).
Called the popcorn method, it’s actually quite simple. You start with a “kernel” — an observation, quote, line — something that starts as a jumping-off point. From there, you just let that kernel “pop,” and follow where it goes!
For instance, here was the kernel for The Boudicea Story from episode 10:
“Like a mad scientist, but with history (modern Boudicea describing her dad)”
There aren’t many people who’d name their child Boudicea today. What kind of life would this girl have? What kind of nicknames would she get at school? How does she feel about history?
That little kernel created a 7-odd page story, and if you listened to episode 10 of the Vocabbett podcast, you know that it could go on!
Another kernel I’ve been hanging on to?
I can’t remember where I heard this, but I wrote it down in my handy “kernels” doc, and these two words have exploded into a huge part of the sequel for Ahead of Her Time.
It isn’t describing a food in the traditional sense. Rather, it was the way someone described something that I might naively call “green.”
What type of person describes something as “coastal avocado” instead of green? What type of industry might they work in? How might they treat their assistants? And what might happen if a certain person (*cough*) goes to work for them?
Little kernels like that are all over the place, and if you want to be a writer, it’s time you start writing them down! Whether it’s in a physical notebook or (my preferred method) my phone and then a Google Doc, what matters is that you capture these kernels for a rainy day.
Starting with a kernel will make your final scene or story so much easier to create! Learn more about this technique in episode 56 of the Vocabbett podcast: