Simple Changes To Give You That Spark

I write in my home office. But there are many places to write that are relaxing, inspirational, and energizing. Sometimes a simple change of scenery might be just what a writer needs to kick-start their writing day.

There are endless possibilities: on a lounge chair in the backyard under a leafy tree; in the comfy reading chair in the bedroom; at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee; floating on a raft in the swimming pool; on a park bench; in a gazebo; by a fish pond; in a coffee house; on a porch swing; in a flower garden; near a waterfall; in the corner of a bookstore.

Do you love to travel? Compile a writing bucket list: sitting near Niagara Falls; overlooking the ocean; in a warm cabin with snow falling outside; on a deserted island; on a sailboat; in the rainforest; at the top of Mount Everest; at the base of the Statue of Liberty; in an art museum; on an airplane; in a hot air balloon; on the porch of the Grand Hotel on Macinaw Island.

You can also change when to write: at sunset; at dawn; during a blizzard; in the middle of the night; after a good meal; on a spring morning.

When’s the best time for you to write, emotionally? Choose an intensely emotional time: when extremely happy; sad; feeling ‘blue’; lonely; angry; frustrated…. 

Changes in the where and when can be used to give authors that spark—that edge.

Use a Checklist

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You may want to consider utilizing a checklist to guide your comments to others in your critique group. Below is one we developed. I am sharing the first five this time and will post the rest next week. 

 

 

1) HOOKS:  

* Does the opening line or paragraph immediately hook the reader?

* Did you want to keep reading?

2)  STYLE:

* Is the writer’s voice distinct and unique?

* Does the author utilize showing and telling skillfully?

* Indicate passages needing more “show”.

3)  PROFESSIONAL IMPACT:

* Does the author have a grasp of the elements of grammar, spelling, and punctuation?

* Is the writing fresh and original, avoiding cliches?

* Is the writer overusing/overdoing actions? Themes? Words? Character traits?

* Is the manuscript appropriate for the general market?

4)  SETTING:

* Was the place, time of day, season, time period set?

* Does the setting support the story?

* Do sensory details (sight, sound, touch, smell) enhance each scene?

5)  CHARACTERS:

* Is the main character identifiable? Unique?

* Do you get a sense of the character’s journey and what the story is about?

* Do secondary characters contribute to the story? Are they defined and likable?

* Do characters’ emotions seem believable and/or provide understandable motives?