When you’re a writer, a full-time writer, going to work isn’t like having a regular job where you go to work and do the same thing every day. At least it isn’t like that for me anyway. My day is a hodge podge of different experiences, events, conversations, activities, etc… Why is it like this? Because I’m constantly creating. Yes, even when I’m not writing, I’m writing. I seek fiction in the nonfiction world of reality.
When I hit a brick wall in my story, I go for a walk to relax my mind and think of possible solutions. Talking to people is a great way to find great dialogue for any story. Although, most of the time you might end up changing parts of it to suit your story. A boat ride or a day at the beach is fun and. Write your experience down in your writing journal.
So, in a nutshell, the circle of a writer’s life is different each day.
Comparisons, we all make them whether we are aware of it or not. We do this for emphasis in making clear a point we’re trying to make. In writing we use comparisons for the same reason, but add to that, visuals. If we want our readers to know just how big something is, we need to go beyond using the word big or huge or even gargantuan. Readers want to SEE the hugeness. Two forms of comparison writers use to accomplish this is:
Simile–Comparing using the words like or as.
His mouth was thick like paste.
The cat’s eyes glowed in the dark like twin moons.
When I was in high school, I went to the Rueben Daniels Center of the Arts and Sciences. In my dance class we learned about theme and variation. What we had to do was choreograph a dance routine that was about one minute in length. Once we had our routine down, we had to choreograph two more dance routines based on the first one. More precisely, they had to be variations of the first by modifying it somehow without changing it completely. With writing this can also be done. Create a scene. Then, create two more scenes by varying the first scene. But, don’t vary things too drastically. It needs to be clear that your varied scenes are essentially the first scene but with slight differences.
What does this do? It works at developing creativity. It’s like a brain workout except its “bench pressing” words instead. So…have fun with it and think outside the box.
Personification–Giving inanimate objects human qualities.
The flowers danced in the wind.
The wind reached its fingers inland, grabbing those it could at high rates of speed.
The sun smiled down as it lit up the day.
As you can see, giving human qualities to inanimate objects goes a long way when it comes to putting emphasis on various aspects of what you’re writing. Doing so also makes your writing stand out in way of creating better visuals for your reader.
Tip: Give yourself an arsenal of ideas to pull from by brainstorming examples of personification (and other literary/poetic devices) and writing them in your writing journal.
You’re in the middle of writing a story. You are at a point in your creation where you need to add some friction or a tense moment. You know what needs to go into the scene. You can see it in front of you (so to speak). But, what can you do to intensify the suspense? Yes, you know what will cause it, but how can you bring it more to life and jump off the page? Word choice. Not just any choice of words either. You need words with certain sounds that, when put together, bring about a certain feeling or whatever feeling you’re trying to convey.
What sounds in the following sentences add to the intended feeling?
Tension–The stranger’s body thunked to the ground, when the knife pierced his chest.
Eerie–The air’s cold finger touched the back of my neck in spite of the warm breeze coming in off the lake. The shadow wafted over the sand, paused, then glided onward.
Joy–The shiny bells glistened in the candlelight, as the children opened their presents.
Sadness–Tears formed in the corner of her eyes then trickled down her cheeks as she gazed into the casket that contained the mother she never got to know.
Whichever sounds you use in your writing is up to you, but using various literary devices can certainly help with this. Some of them are listed below.
In future posts I will cover each of these more in depth. In this post I just wanted to bring them to the surface. I know though that we use these devices regularly in our writing without thinking about them. But, when you are writing a particular scene and need to create a certain feeling and nothing is coming to you, then the above devices are a great arsenal to draw from.
As a child, did you ever play pretend? It’s the ultimate use of the imagination. At some point along the way many people stop playing pretend and enter into the world of reality. Their focus turns to something else. That’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with that. For authors though, the pretending doesn’t stop. We like to play pretend. It’s how our books get written.
When I was a child, I loved to play make believe. I daydreamed a lot (to my teachers’ angst). As I grew older, the thought of writing stories and poems became my focus. I had much to learn about the writing process, but I didn’t let it stand in my way. You shouldn’t let that stand in your way either. Learn it, use it, keep it. Never lose that hunger/passion within you that wants to write. Write for your pleasure and to make others happy. AND, above all else, KEEP PRETENDING.
At first your story is what you want it to be. At first. Then, you leave it for a determined amount of time, after which you go back to it. You read through it again, and other ideas begin to churn in your mind. You end up deleting much of the original, adding to it, and/or changing it. This period I like to call the cocoon because it’s not yet ready to see the light of day. How do you know when it will be ready? Well….you’ll know.
My novel The Triunix of Timestarted out as a romance under a different title. Talk about change. The beginnings of it and my notes and jottings in my journal were nothing that ended up in the final draft (I still saved it all. See my post entitled Old Writings.). How did this change come about? I talked to a college professor of mine who gave me some suggestions having to do with magic. This turned me on to the fantasy genre. I started thinking of all the possibilities that could come from writing in that genre, and the ideas were endless. I could still put some romance in it, but that ultimately took a back seat.
Over all, our minds are the main focus of that change. We collect information from the outside, bring it inside, work with it by molding it and let it take shape. Then our creation appears for everyone to see and take part in.