I often hear practicing writers ask, “What if I can’t think of anything to write about?” Sometimes they even have notebooks full of observations, but they feel like none of them are good enough for a story.
I’ve felt the same way, but there are more opportunities or seeds for ideas in our notebooks than we think. It might be an image, a snippet of a conversation we overheard at lunch, or a social issue that grates against us. Once we have the seeds, how do we take those seeds and develop them into stories?
Characterization is a huge part of writing, no matter how long the story. You need to know the ins and outs of your character’s personality. What makes them tick? What do they want? Where to do they come from?
Sometimes it’s a little difficult to come up with new character traits and idiosyncrasies that aren’t cliché or contrived.
Today, we’re going to have a little fun with character development. We’re going to think outside the box of character questionnaires and try a writing prompt to help us discover our characters through a different route: What’s in their junk drawer?
While many novels and stories are set in a vacation location, you can take your character on vacation just to see what they are made of. Vacation can be frightfully stressful and reveals much about us as people. It can do the same for your character. Try it out with this writing prompt.
If you’re reading this, then you want to be a better writer. However, becoming a better writer is elusive, isn’t it? It’s more art than science. There are hundreds of writing rules, thousands of words to know, and millions of possible ways you could write even a simple message.
How do you become a better writer when writing itself is so complicated?
Before we talk about the concept of constrained writing and tell you how it works, let me ask you this: Have you ever opened a new blank document to write, stared at it for far too long, and then realized you have no ideas, that your mind is as blank as the page you’re trying to write on? What if you could double or triple the number of ideas you have, not by doing something extra but by taking something away?
That’s what constrained writing is about: taking away options so that you can actually be more creative.
I’m sure this never happens to you, but there are times when I don’t feel very creative. We just had a new baby, our second, bought a house, our first, and are now busy managing a thousand new details. All the busywork and bill paying leaves me feeling pretty dry.
But no matter how un-creative I’m feeling, there’s one creative writing exercise that never fails to fire up my writing.
We only get one chance to hook our readers, to pull them in, to guarantee they must read on. That’s probably why so many writers panic over how to start writing those first few pages of a novel.
So how do you start a novel? Where is the best place to begin? Take heart, dear reader: in today’s post, I’ll give you three ways to start a novel, a bonus nugget about antagonists, and a key question to ask yourself before you get to work.
I recently finished a novel where a character hiding in a secret panel in an old house had lost consciousness and died. The only person who had an inkling of the hiding space was a child who grew up harboring the terrible secret. Secrets are a great way to add depth to a character, especially if the secret is on theme. Try this writing prompt and see what you uncover!
The best way to become a better writer is to write and then to publish your writing, whether you publish it on a blog, in a book, or with a close friend. It’s only by practicing writing, and getting feedback on it, that you can improve. That being said, it never...
Who doesn’t love to laugh? A good, healthy chuckle goes a long way toward making a character more likeable, and a reader more willing to stick with that character through difficult situations. Most stories, whatever the genre, benefit from moments of humor. Yes, humor writing is hard—but these strategies will give your writing the perfect blend of levity.
Sometimes it feels like I can’t learn things fast enough. I’ve been working to improve my ability to evoke emotion in my writing. It’s been harder than I think it should be, and I often lament that I don’t have enough time to learn all I need to learn to make my fiction work.
But as I wring my hands thinking I don’t have time, I’m missing a great opportunity right in front of me every day. Being present, paying attention, and thinking about the world I see are all excellent ways to learn. When I look at the world through a writer’s eye, I see writing lessons all around me.
It’s that time of year again. The newness and hope of a fresh start has worn off and if you’re like me, old habits beckon like a warm blanket. Whether you are still holding firm on your resolutions, didn’t make any, or have already abandoned your “new year, new you,” the challenge of resolutions provide a host of ideas for writing.
The New Year is upon us, and if you’re like me, you have all kinds of ideas about what you want to conquer in 2019. Now that you’ve had some time to mull over the goals you’ve set for yourself, it’s time to consider how you’re going to accomplish them in the best way possible. I have a few tips for creativity to help you start the year off well.
To my knowledge, no one has ever claimed that the life of a writer is easy. Not without a heavy dose of sarcasm. Any process that involves the production of creativity on demand will mess with your head.
As writers, we deal with Resistance on a regular basis. And just when you think you’ve got it beat and you settle down for a long winter’s nap, the devious imp sneaks in and twirls a feather under your nose. He whispers nasty things in your kerchief-covered ears until you fly to the window and throw up the sash (too much sash is notoriously bad for the digestion).