Give Your Writing a Creative Eclipse

 

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“What is it that sets you on fire? What gets your creative juices going?”

I asked this question to a group of young writers at an elementary school last fall. Answers were all over the place, as you’d expect. Some said that watching an exciting video was inspiring. Others said reading a good book made them want to write, too. Still others mentioned vacations, friends, pets, and even an interesting lesson at school “pumped them up.”

I’m guessing that some of these very same things are invigorating for you, too.

Right now, the eclipse is on my mind. Due to television and the internet, many writers could write a decent non-fiction piece by tomorrow night.

What about a fictional story about what might happen to a family during the time leading up to and including the eclipse? How about a child who gets lost, cars traveling on freeways, people waiting in line at a bank or grocery store?

Will you be traveling on an airplane during the eclipse? Perhaps having a surgical procedure done? Climbing a mountain? Getting married?

Actually, the possibilities are endless, aren’t they?

With a good old-fashioned shot of creativity, you could have a best seller.

In fact, a new and different “take” on any event can spark the interest of an avid reader.

To be successful, make it exciting. Write it in a fresh new way. See it from a different perspective. Give it a unique twist.

Let the eclipse shed a little light on your creative writing skills.

The Power of the Pen

 

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Jenny raised her head when I entered the room. Tears were streaming down her cheeks. “I didn’t know I was such a bad mother until I started reading this book,” she sobbed.

Even if what you write is considered “fiction,” words on paper can change the thinking, the hopes and dreams of your readers.

That pen in your hand, that keyboard your fingers rest on this very moment, are instruments that can be used to build up or tear down.

Your stories can bring laughter, they can encourage, and they can spark someone’s creativity.

Conversely, words can destroy, tear down, belittle, and instill fear.

We have an awesome responsibility when we write. We need to keep a fresh vision of our readers in front of us.

So, lately, instead of just continuing my story where I left of the day before, I’ve been conscious to say, “Reader, this one’s for you. Today, I am going to build you up. I am going to speak to your heart through my words.”

Just as an actor faces his audience when on stage, taking a moment before writing to acknowledge those who will read our words can give us an added measure of purpose, keep our writing more focused and serve to remind us just how important—just how very powerful—our words can be.

A Lasting Impression

 

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As promised, this week we will hash out the last of the information I’ve come across regarding the use of epilogues.

The consensus seems to be that an epilogue only be written if one’s story isn’t complete without it—if it adds value to the book that exists outside of the main story.

Remember what we said last week: an epilogue is like bumping into an old friend years later and catching up. It answers the question of just what they have been up to and can even “suggest” what things might be like in the future.

The decision of whether to write an epilogue—or not—comes down to deciding what lasting impression you want to leave on your reader.

It should give positive emotional impact. For instance, if the ending was less-than-happy, a positive epilogue could be used to reassure the reader that the character(s) do, indeed, end up all right…that the decisions they made were the correct ones, after all.

If you have a valid reason for keeping the information out of your last chapter, then by all means, go ahead and write it.

But, if the information in the epilogue is CRUCIAL to your story, you need to include it in the final chapter, instead.

 

The Epilogue Delimma

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Lately, it seems every book I read has an epilogue.

What’s up with that?

For a writer, what’s the reasoning behind writing an epilogue?

And, for the reader, what purpose does one serve?

And, finally, are they a hinderance, a help, or does it even matter?

I decided to do a little research.

I began with a working definition:

An epilogue is a section at the end of a book that serves as a comment on, or a conclusion to, what has happened after the end of the book— a wrap up of the story.

It seems there are five reasons to use an epilogue. They are: 

1) To Give Closure: Epilogues provide information about what happens later. Writers use them when they feel that writing these details in the story itself would weaken the climax of their book.

2) To provide information about how the story turns out especially if it is years later.

3) To summarize: If the character has been championing a certain point of view, the author can use the epilogue to drive the key points home.

4) To give resolution to ambitious endings.

5) To pique the reader’s interest in reading the next book in a series.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Have you used them yourself?

Next week, I will tackle other aspects of the EPILOGUE DELIMMA.

Letting Characters Write Their Own Endings

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You’re writing along. Things are going pretty well. And then the unthinkable happens.

Your character doesn’t want to cooperate. He doesn’t want to die or lose the battle or watch as someone else “gets the girl.”

And, you say to yourself, “Just who does he think he is? I created him. I gave him thoughts, ideas, friends, goals, depth. Who is he to tell me here, in Chapter Nineteen—at the climax of the story—that he doesn’t agree with the way I’ve written it?”

I feel your pain. No, really I DO because it just happened to me.

My main character and I are having a meeting of the minds…a war of the words. 

He’s going to win.

I know it. I just know it.

Because he’s REAL. 

He’s lived and breathed life into this story for nine months. 

Who better to tell me how things should end?

In order to change the outcome, it will be necessary for me to go back to Chapter Fifteen and start rewriting.

So, I yell out to him, “Why did you wait until now to tell me this? Couldn’t you have clued me in a little sooner?”

He just laughs and tells me to get back to work.

GETTING PRIORITIES STRAIGHT

 

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Life is full of twists and turns, events, obligations, friends and family…

This requires us to make priorities and, the choices are often complicated.

If you are a writer, you know that the path to spending time at our craft is often blocked—sometimes by people and events over which we have little or no control.

Recently, I have had to make choices between what I might like to do—even feel called to do—and family obligations.

Because of my parent’s failing health, blocks of time have needed to be reallocated from my writing time to family time.

Because I choose to focus on what they need, writing has had to take a backseat.

As life circumstances change, our priorities change.

Although family was always a priority in my heart, I lost sight of this when I “found” writing, often pushing aside those things in life that were really more important.

Knowing that changes are inevitable and impact one’s deepest values, we must be willing to reevaluate, give up “the dream” for a season, and move in a new direction.

Do I still write during these last stages in my mother’s Alzheimer’s journey?

Of course. But, it has just taken on a different focus.

I Remember the Seasons is a work of the heart.

I will never forget the look on my mother’s face when she thumbed through the book and realized it was dedicated to her and Dad.

That one beautiful memory of her smile will last a lifetime.

These Have Helped Me

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