Open your mind to new experiences, particularly to the study of other people. Nothing that happens to a writer – however happy, however tragic – is ever wasted.
What the book offers
Some writing prompts I’ve seen around the internet can just be way too wacky, but these prompts get you to think outside the box, and take your skills to a new level of creativity. The best thing with these exercises is that you can try them again and again and have a completely different outcome each time. This book will last you a life time, and show how you grow over the years as a writer!
Before it each exercise, it offers a short introduction that explains the exercise in context to writing; its significance and how to tackle it best.
It’s evident to say writer’s write. But the difference between writing and being a writer is that writer’s produce. They produce finished stories, finished articles, finished poems and so on. They produce and they deliver.
Sometimes it’s hard to get to grips and just focus on a project. So follow these few simple guidelines and see how far you get:
A great source for picture prompts is using news sites and their 24 Hours in Pictures feature. These pictures are chosen especially because of the story or emotion they portray. Have a look at the few I found:
It can be very hard to see something in one way, love it and nurture, and then to have to tear bits away and fit in new pieces, but when it comes to writing, it really is crucial.
Writing is a largely based around experimentation. There are simply infinite paths to choose and that’s why no two books are the same. There may come a time whilst you write that you’re finding it hard to see where your story goes, or when you read it, you just aren’t getting the flow. There may have been a time that when you started your story, you based it on a blind girl and you imagined her hair, her family life, her friends. But maybe to make the story work, you need to change the protagonist to a male.
Other things you may change to make the story work:
This will give your story a new direction, and perhaps even a better one. Remember that the aim isn’t always to scrap and start all over again, sometimes simply re-writing and changing only elements is what will perfect your scene.
I choose to write because it’s perfect for me.
It’s an escape, a place I can go to hide.
It’s a friend, when I feel out casted from everyone else.
It’s a journal, when the only story I can tell is my own.
It’s a book, when I need to be somewhere else.
It’s control, when I feel so out of control.
It’s healing, when everything seems pretty messed up.
And it’s fun, when life is just flat-out boring.
Introductory Note: Sometimes I just have a scene in my head, no more. Just a situation that goes beyond thought and reason. There is a lot of ambiguity about what has happened and what will happen between these two people, which is what I like. I hope it makes the reader interpret into a context that fits them. There are hundreds of possibilites. It could be any one of them. Who knows?
I turned my head to look at the person who sat next to me.
I had to get up. Now.
He looked back at me. Maybe it was because of this sudden frenzy that I couldn’t distinguish his eyes between imploring and threatening. I didn’t dwell on the thought for long because a thousand other questions were grabbing my attention.
“So you’re just going to walk away,” he said. I brushed past him, knowing I should be running, but my legs weren’t responding to reason.
“Why?” his voice echoed in the half empty carriage. His voice.
All the memories and moments bound to his voice rushed through my mind … and through my heart. Avoiding his gaze along with the other staring faces, I continued to walk away. “Just tell me why you did it.”
I whirled around, astounded. “You think I wanted this?”
The whistle blew outside and I managed to make my way to the doors before they shut. I watched the train leave the platform with an unwelcome knowledge that I had seen him nod a yes.
James Scott Bell, author of The Art of War for Writers outlines 10 things you need to be a writer.
Okay now, be honest, how many of these do you possess? I firmly believe that identifying your strengths and weaknesses is one step closer to improving a skill, because you now know what to concentrate on.
Number 2 and 4 are things I’m working on, my biggest weaknesses, but keeping a track of the number of word I’ve done, and keeping realistic targets help.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Harvey,” she said to me.
She never did.
* * *
How to get going
Share your work
A wonderful definition and valid point that all short story writers and aspirers should be aware of from Schaum’s Quick Guide to Writing Short Stories
We will concentrate on the traditional story—the kind that derives its power from characters, actions, and plot; that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Not all short stories are like this. An advantage of the short story form is that its brevity allows variations and experiments that would be difficult to sustain throughout the much longer course of a novel.
A short story writer can focus on sketching a character, presenting a slice of life, playing with language, or evoking a mood. Many excellent stories written and published today achieve their impact from the way the author assembles a mosaic of images or jagged fragments of experience, instead of telling an old-fashioned tale. But the traditional story provides the best vantage point for examining the craft of short story writing.
I approached Kim Lee less than a fortnight ago to ask if she could write a guest post for WriteNow. I had only been following her for a few days, but her passion for writing seeped through every word and her maturity and confidence to writing was amazing. Visit her blog here. And without further ado, I present to you Kim Lee’s journey as a writer through her own words:
As a kid in elementary school, I had all kinds of dreams. I wrote, often, but I didn’t think of it as a career. I wanted to be a pilot, a chef, an architect. For a while, I even dreamed of being a basketball player. By the time I entered high school, I had other thoughts. I still wanted to be an architect, and I had definitely developed skills with computers and the Internet. But I wanted to be a counselor, or a psychiatrist. At that point, what I wanted to be was no longer clear to me. I silently wondered if that was normal. It seemed nearly everyone I knew was sure that they wanted to be this and would be studying that. But I couldn’t decide. Puzzled and perplexed, I picked up an empty notebook …and began to write.