Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bringing Life to Your Writing

Today, let's talk about writing. For without writing, there would be no books, publishers, editors or book stores…to name a few.

Whatever may motivate one to write is as different and varied as the end result. Anything goes. Yes, there are courses and classes, seminars and webinars, magazines and online gurus to consider and consult. But in the end, if you cannot get into the right mode or mind set, writing can be a tedious task. (Just think back to high school when your book report or composition was due).

So, what works? How do you do it? Where do you turn?

As a graduate of the Institute of Children’s Literature, I was offered all kinds of help. I can even suggest you look up ‘writer’s first aid’, a blog by Kristi Holl, that is chock full of wonderful material.

In the end, it all comes down to YOU and your WRITING.

I found that what worked best for me was ‘getting into’ my story. (At this point I am referring to a set idea or work in progress. We’ll cover story ideas another time). First, I would read the last few pages of my story. Second, I would observe as the yet unwritten story played out in front of me…I kid you not. Third, I would write it down WITHOUT trying to control or censor the train of events.

If I try to censure or control the material as I am writing it, I end up hindering the creative flow and it shows. Once the sequence has been written down, I will be free to edit and revise it, making sure key elements haven’t been left out. Usually, they make their own way in.

If you are not able to ‘get into’ your story, maybe something is missing. Are you characters alive? Can you feel what they are going through? Can a friend describe your setting, or does it lack in detail? Have you used all your senses…? How would you feel in the imagined situation, have you conveyed these emotions?

A good way to develop writing skills is to narrate life around you, either on paper or in you head. Go to a park, a mall or library and observe…(now be careful not to come across as some kind of stalker ;o). Describe setting one time, human interaction another. Focus on emotions one day, movement and mannerisms the next. Pick up on dialogue, speech patterns, expressions and accents, all which come in endless variations.

Most of all, remember to have fun. Enjoy every step of the process. Bringing a character to life and creating a world is an amazing experience.

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