Give Your Writing a Creative Eclipse

 

16528000654_8a8db3eb34

 

“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.

Advertisements

Can Pigs Fly?

 

30799328490_7a5353645dHave you ever met with friends you haven’t seen in a long time and as you talked, you felt out of step—out of sync?

Like so much time has passed since your paths crossed that you feel like your reality and theirs doesn’t quite coincide?

Maybe your perspectives are different…your interests have changed…

It might be a little unnerving at first, but later, as you contemplate your conversation, you find their ideas are thought-provoking—even refreshing.

Could a change of perspective be good for a writer?

Could it be just the shot-in-the-arm that sparks creativity?

Try this: write a paragraph in your genre. (Say, mystery).

Then, write it again, in fantasy.

Write it as romance or romantic suspense.

It’s the same paragraph. But it’s oh-so-different from teach of these different perspectives, isn’t it?

Now, go back to the genre you usually write in. Use the creative differences from the writing exercises you just completed to re-write your original paragraph.

I have found that when I feel stuck for a fresh way of expression doing this gets those creative juices flowing again.

Want to share what’s worked for you?

 

In Defense of Doodling

 

My husband is a doodler.        32010585111_840dc8b024

I guess it simply gives his hands something to do while he watches a football game on television or waits for his order at a restaurant.

But, I asked myself, “Could doodling actually have some kind of value?”

I recall teaching my elementary students to map and use webs to organize information. Could using simple visual language help people think and solve problems, focus, and retain information?

Turns out that good old doodling activates one’s mind’s eye to access creativity with the subconscious mind.

I put it to the test.

I recently made use of doodling to solve a difficult plot problem in the book I am writing.

So, don’t get stuck on plot, character description, or action scenes. If you need to “see” what you are writing for descriptive purposes or keeping track of details, why not try doodling?

You just might find it to be more than mindless scribbling.

Looking At It From A Different Angle

Have you ever thought that your hair looked pretty good until you viewed it in a three-way mirror and realized it didn’t look so great when you looked at it from a different angle?

Well, that’s kind of what it was like for me when, this morning, I received my manuscript for Runaways: The Long Journey Home in book format. Errors just popped out at me. It was like seeing my book from an entirely different angle—that of the potential reader.

If you are not yet a published author, or at least not to the point of seeing your book formatted, I’d like to share with you, over the course of my next few posts, some of the things that I noticed. Hopefully, they will help you avoid these mishaps.

As I scrolled through the pages, just for a visual reaction, I noticed right away that several of my chapters started almost identically. Sure, I had been careful to drop the reader into the middle of the action and I had identified the POV right away (good things I observed) but what stood out to me was the fact that the beginning sentence of quite a few chapters started with “Jake stared”, “Jake pounced”, “Jake stretched”… you get the picture.

This may not be wrong, but it is certainly bothersome to me—it lacks creativity and is lazy writing, in my opinion.

So, what will I do?  Rewrite, of course!

Although I often talk to myself about the curse of rewriting, in this case rewriting is my friend. It will save me from a huge embarrassment, even if I am the only one to notice it.

I cannot tell you the number of times that I have rewritten paragraphs, scenes, even entire chapters. Each time, things improve. This will be no different. I will look at it as a positive.

Will I ever be truly satisfied?  Probably not.

Will I ever click the “publish” button and give it the okay? I hope so.

There comes a point to where a writer just has to say that he or she has done all they can do.

A bad hair day doesn’t need to define us. We recomb, restyle, and respray. Then we have to be content and say, “That’s as good as it’s gonna get.”

Ten Things To Know Before You Become A Writer

A new acquaintance of mine was intrigued by why I wouldn’t just lay back and enjoy my retirement. “Shouldn’t you be going on a cruise, taking in Broadway plays, or some such leisurely activities?” I must admit that sometimes, when I’m up early to write before anyone else in my house is awake, vacations or just hanging out with some of the Red Hat Ladies does sound like a good idea. But my characters depend on me to give them life and a purpose. So, I grab a second cup of coffee and get on with it. Her followup question, however, is the real reason for my post today. What she asked was this: “What do you have to know to be a writer?” Where do I begin? Figuring she was not so much interested in specifics as she is in just making conversation at a barbecue, this is how I answered:

  1. First of all, you need a desire to write—to tell a story that’s been on your heart and mind for way too long. You need an overwhelming desire to get it down on paper.
  2. You need the desire to communicate. It is more than just writing, per se. It is thinking about the reader. Needing to connect with him/her on some deeper level. It’s that emotional connection that we both crave.
  3. You need to be fairly good in your use of spelling and grammar. (I say “fairly” because of there are so many online helps, such as Spell Check, that make that part of writing easy).
  4. But even those online helps are no substitute for a thorough knowledge of sentence structure and a myriad of other writing skills that go along with that. However, writing skills can be learned. I’m learning every day.
  5. You must be a self-starter, disciplined and persevering. Someone who truly does believe that the only way out of the tangled writing jungle is through writing, writing, and more writing.
  6. When your story calls, you must answer. Whether it is 3 a.m. or midnight, when an idea surfaces, you need to be there to develop it 24/7. This may require you to function, occasionally, on a minimal amount of sleep.
  7. You need to be able to delay immediate gratification for months—even years, sometimes. Writing and publishing take a long, long time. It may take you so long to get that book to market and receive those cherished letters from excited readers that you’ve even forgotten the names of some of your characters!
  8. My back and shoulders are aching today, so I must also remind you that you must be able to sit for long periods of time in front of a computer. Get up every hour and move around for a few minutes to avoid the chiropractic office becoming your home away from home.
  9. This contradicts #6 (above) but you do need sleep. You need to be sharp when you write or you’ll make mistakes. These will eat up precious time in editing and rewriting.
  10. The biggest thing you need to be a writer, though, I saved for the end. You need to be CREATIVE. You can know how to write perfect sentences, free from spelling and grammatical errors, but if you lack creativity, your book won’t be a satisfying read for anyone.

I was going to continue by talking about characters, plot, and setting. However, as I looked into her glazed eyes I could see that I had lost her at about #2. Her sights were now set on the dessert table… Brenda