Want to become a better writer? Perhaps you want to write novels, or maybe you just want to get better grades in your essay writing assignments, or maybe you’d like to start a popular blog.
If you want to write better, you need practice. But what does a writing practice actually look like? In this post, I’m going to give you everything you need to kick off your writing practice and become a better writer faster.
Sometimes the best stories come to us when we are challenged to leave our comfort zone and write something we wouldn’t usually try. In that spirit, to give our writing a boost, let’s make a game out of using a writing prompt.
Do you want to write but just need a great story idea? Or perhaps you have too many ideas and can’t choose the best one? Well, good news. We’ve got you covered. Below are one hundred short story ideas for all your favorite genres. You can use them as writing prompts for writing contests, for stories to publish in literary magazines, or just for fun!
Get started writing with one of these short story ideas today.
Do you borrow phrases and concepts from other works in your own? If yes, then you’re using intertextuality, perhaps even without knowing it. Though it sounds intimidating at first, it’s quite a simple concept really:
Intertextuality denotes the way in which texts (any text, not just literature) gain meaning through their referencing or evocation of other texts.
Hey there. It’s me, Joe Bunting. Maybe you’ve seen my name around here. Maybe you haven’t (which is fine). I thought I’d take a second to re-introduce myself and share something I’ve been thinking a lot about in my writing lately.
One way to tell a story is to introduce the reader to the environment of the story. Descriptions of foliage and dirt roads, or of skyscrapers and clanging subway gears, can get the reader acclimated to the setting and can be a way to introduce the protagonist as a product of their surroundings.
But sometimes you just don’t have the patience for that. You want to hit the ground with the plot running at full speed, and once you’ve gotten the reader’s attention and piqued their curiosity, then maybe you explain what’s going on and how things got here.
Welcome to the world of in medias res.
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.
I often hear the same questions from writers, questions like, “How do I make a living as a writer?” or, “How do I write a bestselling book?”
These are the wrong questions, and that’s a huge problem because I believe the questions you ask yourself can change your mindset and how you approach your writing.
What are the right questions? In this article, I’m going to share the five essential questions every writer should ask themselves.
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.
Our job as writers is to transport our readers into our stories. A high-octane plot and three-dimensional characters are obviously necessary to accomplish this goal, but so is an immersive setting.
Setting is often overlooked when describing a scene. We all want to move on to the next plot twist and wasting important space on what trees look like will just bore the readers, right?
To draw readers fully into a scene, we need setting. We want them to forget they’re reading and make them experience everything our characters are experiencing.
Sometimes, you can get away with building your setting straight from your imagination. Sometimes, you can’t.
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!
In many parts of the world, people are forced to do something that is completely absurd: They give up an hour of their lives.
It’s called “Daylight Savings Time,” but it’s more like “Good Night Sleep’s Losing Time.” It’s as if Thanos came to Earth, snapped his fingers, and 1/24th of everyone’s day turned to dust.
Yet as painful as it was to wake up an hour “later” Sunday morning, Daylight Savings Time can be the inspiration to write a story in any genre, from comedic to tragic.
Can you steal ideas from other stories? What if someone steals your ideas? In fact, are your ideas even good enough at all? If you’ve ever asked questions like these, I have good news for you.
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.