Dialogue is important in a story. It can reveal a character’s personality, provide critical information to the reader and evoke an emotional response. But how do you make it believable and interesting to the reader? Continue reading “Monday Minute: How Do You Create Realistic Dialogue?”
NaNoWriMo is fast approaching and I’ve got my mind on finishing some of my works in progress as I prepare for it. Lately I’ve been seeking out some writing advice on various blogs: to prepare for NaNo, to develop well-rounded characters and to create a good writing habit. Here are some of my favourite pieces of advice from writing websites… Continue reading “Friday Favourites in the Writing World”
Monday Minute is a weekly post in which I’ll share short writing pieces, writing prompts, a thought or question for discussion, or quick writing tips. I’d like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and talk about the cliché topic of New Year resolutions. Continue reading “Monday Minute: New Year, New Approach To Writing”
I have an ‘it’s complicated’ relationship with word count. Some days I’m cool with it, on others I’m not feeling it so much. I’ve always thought that word counts are very arbitrary measures of a writer’s progress… Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Week 3: Breaking Up With Word Count”
The second week of NaNoWriMo is often the most difficult hurdle in November. It’s certainly been that way for me this year. My first week started off amazingly well but ended on a low note. In my personal life, there were a few setbacks at the end of that first week that really threw me off. Continue reading “NaNoWriMo Week 2: Mid-Month Slump”
“The sky was as blue and delicate as a porcelain teacup, and the hills rolled gently in all directions, intersected occasionally with the silver ribbon of a river.” -Alyxandra Harvey, Haunting Violet
Descriptive detail in stories is an important but tricky element of writing.
How do you know if you’re using too much? Or too little?
I believe knowing when and how to use the right amount of description is an intuitive skill that’s learned over time and is mostly based on personal preference. Establishing the perfect balance between description and action in a story is like trying to achieve the perfect balance between dressing acceptably but still maintaining individuality. Continue reading “The Magic is in the Details”
This may seem really unusual but whenever my family and I look at paint colours in a hardware store, I always take a paint swatch or two with me.
I’ve gotten into the habit of collecting them (sometimes for possible new paint colours for my room) but mostly because of the creative names associated with them, like Blue Midnight or Summer Rain (I’m totally making these up). Whenever I read the names, a certain image or feeling pops into my head and I think later on that I might be able to use it for inspiration. One of the colour swatches even reminded me to get back to my high adventure story about pirates.
When I explain this to my family, they’re really surprised that I use these swatches as writing prompts or that I collect them.
It makes me wonder: Am I the only one who experiences this?
Perhaps it’s the combination of visual inspiration and the written word that gets you writing. This is the case with paint swatch booklets that feature artfully-decorated and beautifully-painted rooms as examples. I know some people who search up images as a form of a prompt, using that picture to tell a story or to brainstorm.
While looking at some paint swatches the other day, I discovered something really fun. The format of the paint swatches was fairly uniform: there would be three colours, of varying shades, each with a unique but related name. Sometimes it would be various lilacs or roses, other times it would be similar concepts like “ghost ship” and “evening eclipse.” These two could easily be paired together and prompt one idea to the next, creating a snowball effect.
I ended up finding some more paint swatches, stored away in a box while cleaning. I decided that instead of hiding them away I had to place them somewhere else as visual reminders instead of just letting them sit in a dust-covered shoebox. I finally added them to my writing notebook, leaving them there as visual prompts in case I ever needed them.
I’ll share my most recent writing prompts, based on the paint swatch names:
September fog, frappé, carriage house
Ghost ship, shark loop, evening eclipse
I put these writing prompts to the test and found they really stretched my creative muscles, challenging me to successfully work them into existing stories or connect all three together cohesively into a new story.
Do you have any quirky techniques you use for writing prompts?
Do these work as writing prompts for you? Let me know in the comment section below 🙂
What makes a great and memorable character? Is it their actions, their bravery or their background stories?
I believe it’s a combination of many elements that all come together like a mosaic to form a colorful character that comes to life off the page.
- Read. By reading other people’s work you expose yourself to different styles and ways of writing. You also learn what works and what doesn’t work for you as an audience member. I always ask myself a few questions when reading other people’s work: What techniques grab my attention? How does the author describe a scene?
- Write. The second step to becoming a better writer is to write more. The more you write, the more you hone your craft. I feel that when I write more, I start to get a feel for what sounds right on the page and what I can improve on.
- Ask for constructive criticism. Ask someone you trust to read your work and offer you constructive criticism, not destructive criticism. If you can get a second opinion, it will help you see your strengths and weaknesses in writing.
- Daydream. Allow yourself to daydream and just think things over. You could think about anything, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you’re opening yourself up to new ideas and revelations.
- Carry a notebook and pen with you. I find carrying a notebook and pen convenient, especially if I’m on a train or bus ride. If I have any sudden inspiration I jot notes down. Also, if I have to organize my thoughts I just write them down, which helps me get a clearer picture of my story and how it is progressing.
I also recommend checking out the book How to Write by Richard Rhodes. I think it offers some great advice on writing and how to get started.