Kick-starting the Imagination

Sourdough

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know where I’ve gone wrong – the starter wasn’t active enough (I know just how it feels). Bear with me, though; this does have a correlation of sorts with the writing process. I’m attempting to make sourdough bread and this mini disaster has got me thinking about the similarities between baking and writing. I’m not an experienced or intuitive bread maker and I’ve never made sourdough before.The first thing I need is some ‘starter’. And this is where the comparison with writing comes in. As with sourdough, writing can also benefit from the addition of a starter that we’ve already got on the shelf – in the form of ready-made plot ideas. As I kneaded the dough I mentally listed a selection of plot devices and strategies to kick-start my imagination and help my creative writing. Some are quite specific, others more general, but all these scenarios can be played out in various ways – how you do it is up to you. Continue reading

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10 Time Management Tips for Writers

Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re all under time constraints these days – work, partners, kids, parents, exercise, social media; the list goes on – so it pays to be flexible in our approach to how we allocate the precious minutes we do have and grab writing opportunities whenever and wherever they arise. Here’s a short list of time consuming activities that I’ve had a rethink about and turned to my advantage. Continue reading

My Writing Day

Everyone has their own way of doing things and the more I read about other writers’ daily routines, the more surprised I am that we ever get any writing done at all. There are just so many claims on our time. Ideally, now that I’m well into the final editing phase of my second novel, my daily activities should fit around my writing. Pity it doesn’t quite work like that. Here’s how I make everything fit: Continue reading

Double Dilemma

Two dilemmas present themselves as I get close to finishing my new novel. The first one was prompted by a song on the radio that gave me an idea for a lovely little connection between an event and a character. The second one was a great plot twist that came to me in a dream. Really. Continue reading

Emotional Roller Coaster

We did a very good exercise at the writing group recently – write a short scene where a character expresses an extreme emotion, such as anger, joy, grief, passion, impatience. Sounds easy enough, doesn’t it? But we’d been instructed to show the emotion, rather than tell it. So “she was frightened” was never going to cut it. We had to create a feeling with words. Continue reading

So many books….so little time

Are you a carry-on-to-the-bitter-end reader, or a mid-chapter abandoner? I used to read every book I started from cover to cover, regardless of whether or not I was enjoying it, because I reckoned that I owed it to the author to finish what they’d written before I rushed to judgement. Not anymore. Continue reading

But I thought you just said….?

Like most things in life, the more you write, the better you get. You discover your personal writing style, your voice. As you progress you hit some tricky issues. Should you always consign adverbs to the recycle bin or can you use them sparingly? What about clichés? You want to improve, so you check it out, see what the current thinking is. Then you find there’s actually a bigger problem. As if writing wasn’t difficult enough for the novice, the huge amount of conflicting information available doesn’t always make things any easier. Like the bible, writing advice reveals lots of contradictions. Take these examples: Continue reading

Plain English

On the news this week I heard a reporter refer to someone ‘traversing’ a road. Traversing? Whatever happened to ‘crossing’? Traversing implies a journey, possibly hazardous, negotiating the Yukon or the Andes, not a suburban road. Maybe he was taking the lunchtime traffic into account.

Still, it got me thinking about our use of language in creative writing and how selecting that inelegant synonym to avoid repetition, doesn’t always work.

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The language of love

One thing I know about writing sex scenes – I find it tricky to strike the right tone and, as a consequence, I tend to stop at the bedroom door, so to speak.

These scenes are notoriously difficult to write well. The Literary Review even created the annual Bad Sex Award to celebrate ‘the worst, most redundant or embarrassing description of physical joining, in a novel.’  http://www.literaryreview.co.uk/badsexpassages.html

Published writers admit that writing sex scenes turns them on – and the best way to make sure a scene is sexy, is to make sure you find it sexy.

Writing my sex scenes physically excites me, as it should.’ John Updike.

Continue reading