I have a one-hundred-and-five-page book. It weighs four ounces. The Boston Globe thinks that “No book in shorter space, with fewer words, will help any writer more than this persistent little volume.” The Elements of Style by Shrunk White and E.B. White is as elemental to a writer as practicing scales is to a pianist.
There are many ways to approach writing a story: you can interview your characters first, plot the story before you start writing, or use Stephen King’s approach, which is to start with the situation.
Do you plan your stories before you write them? Do you start with a character or a situation? Do you know where your story will end before you begin writing?
These are all valid ways to write stories. But today, perhaps you might try beginning with a situation and following a character who will lead you to the end.
The word “gift” has several meanings. Your writing is a gift. A natural ability, and something to give away without payment.
You can give gifts; socks, pencils, toys. Socks will get holes in them, pencils will wear down, and toys will break. Words can create images and bring back memories that will never wear down or break.
Write with intent. Give someone you love a story about how much they mean to you.
Memoir is about something that happened in the past. You can write the story in the past tense. Or you can write the story in the present tense, as though it is happening now.
There is power in the present tense. Have you considered using it as you write about the past?
Do you listen to and trust your imagination? Become an improviser with your writing and learn to do so. Say yes to your story idea and don’t block your creativity.
To improvise means to create and perform (music, drama, or verse) spontaneously or without preparation; and to produce or make (something) from whatever is available.
Patricia Ryan Madson’s book Improv Wisdom shows us how to apply the concepts of improvisational theater to deal with real-life challenges. Today, I will look at how the concepts of improv can also apply to how we approach our writing.