Welcome to another edition of writing tips, prompts and folderol. (Look it up.) Today we’ll look at writing dialogue that isn’t clunky, baffling or boring. But first we warm up…
5-minute prompt: TRAVEL
Planes, trains, automobiles, boats, bicycles, or feet. Five minutes, stream of consciousness, write whatever comes to mind on the topic… GO!
For some reason most of my thoughts on the topic tend to the befores and afters and not to the actual travelling: airports and train platforms, figuring out schedules, waiting in line, delays, waiting for luggage, missing luggage, etc.
What’s the strangest mode of transport you’ve ever used?
Greetings! The winter months drag on but there is a glimmer of hope as the days grow long. Spring, o spring will you please hurry??
5-minute prompt: SCHOOL
Five minutes, stream of consciousness, write whatever comes to mind on the topic… GO!
Your own schools, schools from fiction, schools from film. Hogwarts maybe? Terrible schools or brilliant schools. Terrible teachers or brilliant teachers. Sights, sounds and smells. And think about how different elementary schools are from high schools…
Today we’re going to look at the basic structure of stories, which should really help you organize the events of your plot. But first a warmup…
5-minute prompt: WINTER
What do you think of when you think ‘winter’? Think of as many words for different kinds of snow and ice as you can. (Skiers and snowboarders should be good at this.) Can you think of any specific smells, sounds or tastes you associate with winter? Continue reading
What, more character work? We’ve created our characters, now it’s time to figure out where they’re going.
5-minute prompt: CAR
(5-minute, stream-of-consciousness exercise, write whatever pops into your brain on the topic. Don’t bother with sentences, paragraphs, or punctuation. Just write.)
Think of all the kinds of motor vehicles, makes and models of cars you know. There are an awful lot of specific terms for all the different parts of a car, and how each can break down as well! (My 20-year-old auto is always teaching me this lesson.)
How about all the sounds a car can make?
Cars can also be a tool to revealing character: what assumptions do you make about people based on what they drive? Continue reading
So my progress on the Eldritch sequel has been halted for the moment as I put together an outline proposal on another project. More on that to come, but it’s a novel and after much gnashing of teeth I finally came up with my Act III! Nothing like breaking through a mental barrier and solving plot problems all at once!
The secret to my breakthrough was both taking a break and indulging in a research-related movie. The story is to have a historical setting and watching newsreel footage from the time suddenly filled in the gaps for me. There is nothing more useful than being able to picture the setting, the people, the events…
A fresh blanket of snow outside, peace and quiet, and a roaring fire did their bit to contribute as well.
(Moments of satisfaction for writers are solitary and rather fleeting, therefore they must be enjoyed. I shall celebrate with egg nog and then take the garbage out.)
Welcome back to Writing Club. In this post we will talk about Creating Complex and Intriguing Characters, but first a little warmup…
5-minute prompt: HAIR
(5-minute, stream-of-consciousness exercise, write whatever pops into your brain on the topic. Don’t bother with sentences, paragraphs, or punctuation. Just write.) Continue reading
Some topics just keep expanding the more you explore them! I’ve already written Killer Openings Part 1 and Killer Openings Part 2. Here’s the 3rd and final look at them. Previously we talked about these different kinds of first sentences:
3. INTRODUCE THE HERO
4. INTRODUCE THE VILLAIN
5. THE DIRECT APPROACH
Now let’s carry on with…
6. PARADOX, or SURPRISE TWIST
It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. (1984, George Orwell)
As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect. (The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka)
The end of the world started when a pegasus landed on the hood of my car. (The Last Olympian, Rick Riordan)
These are opening sentences that include some kind of odd twist, surprise, or joke. Depending on the kind of story you are writing, you can use this kind of opening to unsettle the reader, creep the reader out, or make the reader laugh. These openers are extremely effective, but the more time and care you take in writing them, the better they will be. Choose and place each word carefully for maximum effect. Continue reading
I came across an article online yesterday entitled Four Ways to Make Sure You Always Have Something to Say Online. Cue the forehead smack.
Why would someone even begin a blog if they weren’t revved up with enthusiasm for their topic of choice, and bursting at the seams with thoughts and questions about it?
Why would someone even begin a blog if they weren’t fascinated by that topic – and were either an expert with loads to say about it, or a devoted amateur eager to learn more?
The problem here is twofold: that people with Nothing To Say are spewing out endless blog posts, and that other people with Nothing To Say, in order to churn out their own blog posts, are linking to those original Nothing To Say posts… (Ditto for Tweets.)
This is what happens when the Business Model is applied to Providing Content. The actual dissemination and transmission of information has become so brilliantly innovative and technologically stunning that less and less time and energy is spent on the actual quality of that information/content.
I say this to anyone wanting to write stories and it applies equally to anyone who wants to start a blog:
You must have something to say about the world!
Or at least be on a passionate quest to find something to say about the world.
And if the day comes where you can’t think of anything to say in a post, then for God’s sake don’t say anything! Have a cup of tea and read a good book instead.
Thus endeth my rant for today. You may return to your regular programming…
In my last Writing Club post I wrote about two kinds of opening sentences, 1. Description, and 2. Action. Let’s continue …
3. INTRODUCE THE MAIN CHARACTER
This is an extremely popular and effective way to open a book. It can be in first person-
Call me Ishmael. (Moby Dick, Herman Melville)
Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood. (The Lightning Thief, Rick Riordan)