When we think about writing ideas, what usually comes to mind are characters, plots, scenes, language, and images.
Ideas almost always have to do with concepts and matters of the mind, but what about the physical act of writing?
Most of us write at our computers, and many of us still use good old-fashioned pen and paper. Read more
Some of the best poems and stories ask the age old question, “What if…?”
The phrase “what if?” is a writing prompt in its own right. Pause to contemplate it for a few minutes, and pretty soon, your mind will produce a host of scenarios that engage your imagination and spark plenty of writing ideas.
Today’s writing prompts use the what-if premise to ignite a writing session. Read more
It always seem like there are too many writing ideas or not enough.
When you don’t have time to write, ideas come hurtling out of nowhere. Sometimes they come so fast, you can’t even write them all down. But when you sit down, stretch your fingers, and lean over your keyboard to start typing, nothing happens. Where did all those ideas go?
Chances are, you’re not really out of ideas; you’re just not in the mood to write. Sometimes, that’s okay. Take a break and do something else. Give yourself a day off. But other times, you need to dig your heels in, make those ideas flow, and get busy writing. Read more
Wikipedia defines narrative as “any report of connected events, actual or imaginary, presented in a sequence of written or spoken words, or still or moving images.”
Put simply, narrative is story — a sequence of events with a beginning, a middle, and an ending. Narrative can be true or fictional. It can be relayed in writing, through photographs, in film, and even in song.
Narrative comprises a huge segment of creative writing, so let’s take a look at narrative in action and examine some key traits of narrative writing. Read more
Most people go through life using language haphazardly. That’s how we get words like irregardless, which has the exact same meaning as regardless.
But writers, and especially poets, don’t have the luxury of throwing words around. Clear and compelling prose and verse demand that we pay due diligence to the words we choose. We look for the most precise and accurate words available to express any given idea.
Words have two basic meanings: denotation and connotation. Let’s find out the difference between the two and look at how we, as writers, can use denotation and connotation to strengthen our prose and verse.
Charles Dickens invented the word boredom. Sylvia Path coined the term dreamscape. William Shakespeare gave us bandit, swagger, and gossip, along with over 1700 other words that previously didn’t exist in the English lexicon.
Writers have a long history of inventing new words, which shouldn’t come as a surprise. When we encounter an idea or concept and no clear way to express it, creating new language is a practical solution.
Plus, making up new words is fun. Read more
In grammar, there are rules and then there are guidelines. Rules may sometimes be broken, but usually breaking the rules of grammar leads to prose that sounds awkward and is indisputably incorrect.
But breaching the guidelines may actually lead to prose that sounds more natural.
A hard and fast grammar rule would be the use of singular and plural nouns. We do not say I have ten cat or I have one cats. Both sentences are absolutely incorrect. Would this rule ever be broken? Maybe if you’re writing dialogue for a two-year-old. Read more
Writing fast is the latest rage, especially among indie authors. Whether I’m reading blog posts or listening to podcasts, there’s an overwhelming emphasis on how to write faster.
Nobody’s talking about writing well.
But there are a lot of benefits to writing fast, if you can do it. The faster you write, the more works you can produce. Theoretically, that means more money in less time. Many people write slowly or write only when they feel the urge, so jumping on the write-fast bandwagon can help a lot of writers get more motivated and focused.
But there are some drawbacks to writing fast, especially if writing fast means you’re skipping steps in the writing process (such as multiple revisions) or skimping on important elements of publishing (like getting a professional edit). Deliberate writing and professional-level publishing leads to higher quality work, and if you’re speeding through the process, you may miss some important details and end up with a shoddy book full of typos and plot holes.
Sometimes you have to choose between writing fast and writing well, but most of the time, I think the best practice is to find a balance. Read more
Journal writing is something I’ve done on and off since I was a kid. I’ve always wanted to keep a reading journal, but usually I inhale books, leaving little time between chapters to jot down my thoughts and reactions.
And by the time I finish reading, it’s often the wee hours of the night and time to fall asleep, which means I’m far too exhausted to post entries in a reading journal.
Next thing I know, I’m on to the next book without a minute to spare.
But lately I’ve been trying to capture my reading experiences by writing down notes about what I’ve read, and I find it incredibly helpful. Read more
There are a million ways to approach writing a novel. You can outline your plot. You can create a series of scenes and use note cards to organize them. You can use a tried and proven formula from any number of plotting resources. Or you can create a couple of interesting characters and just start writing.
In 1999 Chris Baty rounded up twenty-one friends and together they set sail on a journey like no other. With no map and no compass, they each set out to write a novel in just one month.
Some of the crew got lost at sea. Others survived the voyage and reached dry land with scrappy but completed novels in hand.
The result? One of the most celebrated writing events in the world: NaNoWriMo. Read more